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Power vs Heart

jgsijgsi Posts: 5,026
edited August 2017 in Training, fitness and health
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  • reacherreacher Posts: 416
    All well and good if you have them fitted, but this doesn't mean you can't train without them or ride without them just as well. What it has changed is how the relationship between gearing and cadence works, the rest comes down to training, you know if your training hard. The same as you don't need a heart rate monitor to tell you where it's at.
  • kesakesa Posts: 24
    The problem with using power is that a persons functional threshold power (FTP) is constantly fluctuating. Everyday it will be different. I'm sorry but this means training with power isn't as exact as your chart suggests it is.
  • JoshgavJoshgav Posts: 158
    kesa wrote:
    The problem with using power is that a persons functional threshold power (FTP) is constantly fluctuating. Everyday it will be different. I'm sorry but this means training with power isn't as exact as your chart suggests it is.

    Which is why it is a training zone and not a training target. You will also know if you use one of the turbo trainer apps is that if you are finding a workout too easy or too hard you are encouraged to dial it up or down. The daily fluctuations are real but shouldn't be huge, unless you are overtraining or ill etc.
  • jgsijgsi Posts: 5,026
    Not my chart.
    Your discussion is with a Training Peaks coach.
  • No idea where it came from but it's overly simplistic and a somewhat misleading.
  • reacherreacher Posts: 416
    That's not to say I wouldn't like to have a go with a power meter just to see where I'm at, I would imagine its pretty interesting to see the numbers
  • StillGoingStillGoing Posts: 5,207
    reacher wrote:
    All well and good if you have them fitted, but this doesn't mean you can't train without them or ride without them just as well. What it has changed is how the relationship between gearing and cadence works, the rest comes down to training, you know if your training hard. The same as you don't need a heart rate monitor to tell you where it's at.

    HR is unreliable and affected by so many variables such as temperature, altitude, health, diet, hydration etc. You could ride the same stretch of road using the HR as a measurement and be affected by the difference in fatigue. The HR is also not an immediate reaction to the exertion but a delayed build up to it. Power is constant irrespective of what you've eaten or drank, how tired you are, the temperature, altitude, health etc. It is what it is.

    Yes you can train without either, but it will never be "just as well".
    I ride a bike. Doesn't make me green or a tree hugger. I drive a car too.
  • craigus89craigus89 Posts: 884
    philthy3 wrote:
    HR is unreliable and affected by so many variables such as temperature, altitude, health, diet, hydration etc. You could ride the same stretch of road using the HR as a measurement and be affected by the difference in fatigue.

    So you're saying those things won't affect what power you can put down? This is where it is misleading to people as that would simply not be true. Those things can absolutely affect your power output.
  • imposter2.0imposter2.0 Posts: 11,003
    craigus89 wrote:
    philthy3 wrote:
    HR is unreliable and affected by so many variables such as temperature, altitude, health, diet, hydration etc. You could ride the same stretch of road using the HR as a measurement and be affected by the difference in fatigue.

    So you're saying those things won't affect what power you can put down? This is where it is misleading to people as that would simply not be true. Those things can absolutely affect your power output.

    Lots of things affect power output. But as pointed out previously, in absolute terms, power is the only metric that matters. Otherwise, (in automotive terms) you are simply measuring RPM, rather than MPH.
  • craigus89craigus89 Posts: 884
    I appreciate that, but the way it is often described is that power isn't affected by the variables that affect heart rate, which is un-true. I realise it is a much better metric to train with though.
  • StillGoingStillGoing Posts: 5,207
    craigus89 wrote:
    I appreciate that, but the way it is often described is that power isn't affected by the variables that affect heart rate, which is un-true. I realise it is a much better metric to train with though.

    You're misunderstanding; if your power is 2.1 watts per kg, it will be 2.1 watts per kg no matter what the weather etc. The only way it will change is if you loose or gain weight, or improve or lose power. That won't be affected by whether you've caught a cold or not. You may not feel up to putting out your true watts per kilo, but it is still 2.1 watts per kilo. Conversely, if your Z3 HR is 150bpm, it can be affected by outside variables.
    I ride a bike. Doesn't make me green or a tree hugger. I drive a car too.
  • craigus89 wrote:
    I appreciate that, but the way it is often described is that power isn't affected by the variables that affect heart rate, which is un-true. I realise it is a much better metric to train with though.
    The issue isn't that your ability to sustain power isn't affected by such things but rather that a power meter will measure your actual mechanical work rate, whereas HR is simply measuring, well, heart rate.

    If your power is higher or lower, well you know for certain that the work you are doing is actually higher or lower.

    If HR is higher or lower, you don't actually know whether the work rate is higher or lower. You just know that your HR is higher or lower.

    That's not to say that there is no correlation, and for quasi steady state efforts at lower aerobic levels there is a reasonable correlation (with day to day variability in HR response) but the correlation breaks down as effort level increases towards and beyond threshold power level and as effort becomes more variable.
  • reacherreacher Posts: 416
    philthy3 wrote:
    reacher wrote:
    All well and good if you have them fitted, but this doesn't mean you can't train without them or ride without them just as well. What it has changed is how the relationship between gearing and cadence works, the rest comes down to training, you know if your training hard. The same as you don't need a heart rate monitor to tell you where it's at.

    HR is unreliable and affected by so many variables such as temperature, altitude, health, diet, hydration etc. You could ride the same stretch of road using the HR as a measurement and be affected by the difference in fatigue. The HR is also not an immediate reaction to the exertion but a delayed build up to it. Power is constant irrespective of what you've eaten or drank, how tired you are, the temperature, altitude, health etc. It is what it is.

    Yes you can train without either, but it will never be "just as well".

    Don't know because I don't measure either, I train by how I feel, I know when I'm working hard or not and it works very well for me, that's not saying a power meter is not better to measure and see numbers on a screen if that's your way of training, you don't need one to train hard though that's simply not true
  • kesakesa Posts: 24
    reacher wrote:

    Don't know because I don't measure either, I train by how I feel, I know when I'm working hard or not and it works very well for me, that's not saying a power meter is not better to measure and see numbers on a screen if that's your way of training, you don't need one to train hard though that's simply not true

    The way i see it is training at threshold level is unpleasant and i don't want to go through this misery based on guess work. If i'm going to train i'm going to get the most out of it as i can.
  • reacherreacher Posts: 416
    well i agree a power meter would be very nice, however for me personally i don't need to see a number to tell me that i'm going deep. Training hard is something you can either do or not do, you either have the ability to do this work or you don't and that applies in all sports not just cycling, seeing numbers on a screen does not make it easier to do that work.
  • jgsijgsi Posts: 5,026
    Ok, the expanded article is here
    https://www.trainingpeaks.com/blog/mast ... asy-steps/

    It has taken me nearly 50 years to realise that I can ride a bike pretty damn well , but sadly I cant race a bike for toffee.
    Still I like the tech.
  • StillGoingStillGoing Posts: 5,207
    reacher wrote:
    well i agree a power meter would be very nice, however for me personally i don't need to see a number to tell me that i'm going deep. Training hard is something you can either do or not do, you either have the ability to do this work or you don't and that applies in all sports not just cycling, seeing numbers on a screen does not make it easier to do that work.

    Perceived Rate of Exertion is always going to be guesswork. What about sweetspot, can you tell when you're in the upper power of Z3 or any other zone? Not all training is done at full bore after all.
    I ride a bike. Doesn't make me green or a tree hugger. I drive a car too.
  • mamba80mamba80 Posts: 5,086
    philthy3 wrote:
    reacher wrote:
    well i agree a power meter would be very nice, however for me personally i don't need to see a number to tell me that i'm going deep. Training hard is something you can either do or not do, you either have the ability to do this work or you don't and that applies in all sports not just cycling, seeing numbers on a screen does not make it easier to do that work.

    Perceived Rate of Exertion is always going to be guesswork. What about sweetspot, can you tell when you're in the upper power of Z3 or any other zone? Not all training is done at full bore after all.
    ,

    IF you know your body and combine with other matrix you can train very effectively without a PM especially if you have time to make mistakes in training.
    i ve trained extensively with a PM and for me, it took away the fun from cycling and you know what? ultimately it didnt improve my racing because i stopped enjoying my bike.

    its horses for courses and of yep, takes the guess work away but its not the be all and end all of training.
  • philthy3 wrote:
    reacher wrote:
    well i agree a power meter would be very nice, however for me personally i don't need to see a number to tell me that i'm going deep. Training hard is something you can either do or not do, you either have the ability to do this work or you don't and that applies in all sports not just cycling, seeing numbers on a screen does not make it easier to do that work.

    Perceived Rate of Exertion is always going to be guesswork. What about sweetspot, can you tell when you're in the upper power of Z3 or any other zone? Not all training is done at full bore after all.
    I can tell when at upper Z3/lower Z4. I did 2 hours of it on Saturday.

    However I have well over a decade of training with power to help tune my RPE meter.

    Pithy Power Proverb:
    "Power calibrates PE, PE modulates power." - Charles Howe

    A power meter does provide objectivity of actual work done which at times can be very useful but it is not critical to the basics of good training. It can help to quickly spot training errors though and correct them.

    The basic problem with these discussions of power, HR and RPE is they are generally restricted to a pretty narrow paradigm of monitoring intensity of effort while riding.

    That's what I call a low-fi application of power meter data. There are medium and hi-fi applications of power meter data for performance improvement that are simply not possible with HR or RPE (e.g. aerodynamics optimisation, peak pedal velocity/force analysis, optimising pacing, tighter management of energy balance, understanding individual components of fitness and training dose and response to each, and so on).

    Whether or not these higher-fi applications are relevant very much depends on the individual.
  • reacherreacher Posts: 416
    philthy3 wrote:
    reacher wrote:
    well i agree a power meter would be very nice, however for me personally i don't need to see a number to tell me that i'm going deep. Training hard is something you can either do or not do, you either have the ability to do this work or you don't and that applies in all sports not just cycling, seeing numbers on a screen does not make it easier to do that work.

    Perceived Rate of Exertion is always going to be guesswork. What about sweetspot, can you tell when you're in the upper power of Z3 or any other zone? Not all training is done at full bore after all.

    I'm not disagreeing in principle, it's probably very nice to see an exact number on a screen if you are looking to be that precise, however theirs a danger you can end up on thrall to a set of numbers instead of riding how your body feels on a particular day, many years ago a lot of research was done on training on body rhythm, it made for quite a lot of advances for amateur athletes who had to work. If you don't work and have nothing to do but train and recover its a whole differant ball game. Also age is a factor, much easier to train hard the younger you are. But yes, I would say near enough for my purposes at my age I can get close to where I want to be training
  • StillGoingStillGoing Posts: 5,207
    reacher wrote:
    philthy3 wrote:
    reacher wrote:
    well i agree a power meter would be very nice, however for me personally i don't need to see a number to tell me that i'm going deep. Training hard is something you can either do or not do, you either have the ability to do this work or you don't and that applies in all sports not just cycling, seeing numbers on a screen does not make it easier to do that work.

    Perceived Rate of Exertion is always going to be guesswork. What about sweetspot, can you tell when you're in the upper power of Z3 or any other zone? Not all training is done at full bore after all.

    I'm not disagreeing in principle, it's probably very nice to see an exact number on a screen if you are looking to be that precise, however theirs a danger you can end up on thrall to a set of numbers instead of riding how your body feels on a particular day, many years ago a lot of research was done on training on body rhythm, it made for quite a lot of advances for amateur athletes who had to work. If you don't work and have nothing to do but train and recover its a whole differant ball game. Also age is a factor, much easier to train hard the younger you are. But yes, I would say near enough for my purposes at my age I can get close to where I want to be training

    Well I'm 56 with a couple of medical conditions and don't see age being a barrier to training with power. In fact in my case, it's a lot simpler to train with power.
    I ride a bike. Doesn't make me green or a tree hugger. I drive a car too.
  • reacherreacher Posts: 416
    Your not reading what i'm saying, i completely agree age is not a barrier and they are great to have, but you can train just as well without them. What i did find useful when i rode with someone who had them and he explained it to me was the relationship between power and gears, i was completely old school thinking bigger gears was better, it took a lot to convince me but when i did change the differance was staggering, that for me was where the strength lies with meters and i would love to try one just to see what happens in differant gears,
  • StillGoingStillGoing Posts: 5,207
    reacher wrote:
    Your not reading what i'm saying, i completely agree age is not a barrier and they are great to have, but you can train just as well without them. What i did find useful when i rode with someone who had them and he explained it to me was the relationship between power and gears, i was completely old school thinking bigger gears was better, it took a lot to convince me but when i did change the differance was staggering, that for me was where the strength lies with meters and i would love to try one just to see what happens in differant gears,
    reacher wrote:
    well i agree a power meter would be very nice, however for me personally i don't need to see a number to tell me that i'm going deep. Training hard is something you can either do or not do, you either have the ability to do this work or you don't and that applies in all sports not just cycling, seeing numbers on a screen does not make it easier to do that work.


    I'm not disagreeing in principle, it's probably very nice to see an exact number on a screen if you are looking to be that precise, however theirs a danger you can end up on thrall to a set of numbers instead of riding how your body feels on a particular day, many years ago a lot of research was done on training on body rhythm, it made for quite a lot of advances for amateur athletes who had to work. If you don't work and have nothing to do but train and recover its a whole differant ball game. Also age is a factor, much easier to train hard the younger you are. But yes, I would say near enough for my purposes at my age I can get close to where I want to be training

    As posted earlier, training by PRE cannot be as exact as training to power. Nobody has said training hard is easier with a power meter, just that you can be sure to hit the required numbers rather than guess work.

    You mention that power and speed are where you see the benefit. Surely that comes down to the individuals cadence preference? It will come down to individual efficiency and fatigue as the same watts can be achieved in the inner or big ring with the variance being the gear used on the cassette and the cadence.

    Not everyone can afford a power meter or has other priorities to spend their money on, or, simply can't justify to themselves the purchase of one. You can train without one, but it doesn't mean a power meter isn't a more accurate way of training.

    http://www.bikecalc.com/speed_at_cadence
    I ride a bike. Doesn't make me green or a tree hugger. I drive a car too.
  • reacherreacher Posts: 416
    I'm sure it is a more accurate way to train if you are able to go out and train via a set of numbers every day, I can't do that I have to train how I feel, some days the legs will be good some days not so good. The power watts issue I can't comment on because I have never used a power meter and I still don't fully understand it, I can only go on what the guy said to which was basically I could go just as fast and use less energy in a differant gear, like I said I would very much like to try one, but it has nothing to do with hitting a set of numbers in a training zone I would be purely interested in seeing how much power I was putting out
  • StillGoingStillGoing Posts: 5,207
    reacher wrote:
    I'm sure it is a more accurate way to train if you are able to go out and train via a set of numbers every day, I can't do that I have to train how I feel, some days the legs will be good some days not so good. The power watts issue I can't comment on because I have never used a power meter and I still don't fully understand it, I can only go on what the guy said to which was basically I could go just as fast and use less energy in a differant gear, like I said I would very much like to try one, but it has nothing to do with hitting a set of numbers in a training zone I would be purely interested in seeing how much power I was putting out

    He's exactly right for those of us that subscribe to the notion that a high cadence is a more efficient use of energy than grinding away in a high gear. A high cadence is aerobic, grinding the gears is anaerobic tiring the muscles out. I'm sure someone with a far greater physiological knowledge can explain that better.

    It can be quite disconcerting to find out what power you are actually putting out. :D
    I ride a bike. Doesn't make me green or a tree hugger. I drive a car too.
  • redvisionredvision Posts: 2,614
    reacher wrote:
    I'm sure it is a more accurate way to train if you are able to go out and train via a set of numbers every day, I can't do that I have to train how I feel, some days the legs will be good some days not so good. The power watts issue I can't comment on because I have never used a power meter and I still don't fully understand it, I can only go on what the guy said to which was basically I could go just as fast and use less energy in a differant gear, like I said I would very much like to try one, but it has nothing to do with hitting a set of numbers in a training zone I would be purely interested in seeing how much power I was putting out

    Not so sure you that you use less energy, you just use the cardiovascular system rather than your skeletal muscles (especially the quads).

    I have been training with power for a while now. I must admit that whilst I firmly believe power meters take some of the beauty out of pro races, the benefits are there for all. Since training with power I have reached new heights on the bike, despite having less time to train.

    It all depends on the individual of course and what you want to gain. If you just want to enjoy riding your bike then is there a need for any data? But if you plan on competing or training with specific goals in mind a pm can help you hit your targets.
  • imposter2.0imposter2.0 Posts: 11,003
    philthy3 wrote:
    A high cadence is aerobic, grinding the gears is anaerobic tiring the muscles out. I'm sure someone with a far greater physiological knowledge can explain that better.

    Not really sure what you're saying here. It's equally possible to be aerobic/anaerobic at either a high or low cadence.
  • philthy3 wrote:
    He's exactly right for those of us that subscribe to the notion that a high cadence is a more efficient use of energy than grinding away in a high gear.
    That would be unlikely. Highest efficiency is associated with lower pedalling rates, lower than most cyclists typically ride at.
    philthy3 wrote:
    A high cadence is aerobic, grinding the gears is anaerobic tiring the muscles out. I'm sure someone with a far greater physiological knowledge can explain that better.
    Um, no. What metabolic pathways are recruited to supply the energy demand is a function of the rate of energy demand and the duration of that demand. Cadence really doesn't come into it.
    philthy3 wrote:
    It can be quite disconcerting to find out what power you are actually putting out. :D
    Pithy Power Proverb: "The power meter keeps an accurate record of my decline." - Robert Chung
  • StillGoingStillGoing Posts: 5,207
    Imposter wrote:
    philthy3 wrote:
    A high cadence is aerobic, grinding the gears is anaerobic tiring the muscles out. I'm sure someone with a far greater physiological knowledge can explain that better.

    Not really sure what you're saying here. It's equally possible to be aerobic/anaerobic at either a high or low cadence.

    In my cackhanded way I was trying to say what was said above, that a high cadence is using he heart and lungs rather than tiring the leg muscles out with a low cadence.
    I ride a bike. Doesn't make me green or a tree hugger. I drive a car too.
  • reacherreacher Posts: 416
    Higher cadence and lower gears is highly efficient compared to grinding away for me when I'm going uphill anyway and to be honest didn't take that long to adapt to, maybe a year of hard work, on the flat it's virtually the same gearing at a much higher cadence as it was before where I was pushing a much lower cadence again that adapted within about a year. The problem with low cadence despite what they say about effiency is in my case it drains energy like a hole in a bucket , fine on short stuff go over a long climb and it's not very efficient
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