Training with a power meter
I recently fitted a Stages single side power meter to my road bike. Now I know the first questions has be whether or not the Stages has this revolutionised my training? No.
But it has made it difficult to fudge the numbers.
Often we cyclists use a perceived effort scale to base how hard to train – at least that was the way I was doing it. Perceived effort is very subjective and can vary from day to day.
When you train to power, there is no hiding. If you are having an off day, the numbers clearly reflect it. I had been using Trainerroad’s virtual power on my fluid trainer as a guide on my FTP. I can tell you my real FTP was less than the virtual – a mild ego let down.
Out on the road I quickly observed that if you are training to heart rate it quite closely matches to power zones. When I was riding in the correct zone, usually my heart rate is pretty well matched to this.
Is power the panacea?
Nope! Power training is one tool in the box of training tools. No matter what there is always no substitute for hard work in cycling. But what it will do is allow you to train smart.
If you are doing your training right, be that with a coach, Sufferfest or trainer road you will no doubt be familiar with the concept of zones. Riding in the right zone, for the right amount of time etc is made much easier with the power meter.
Trainer vs on the road
Riding on the trainer it’s very easy to stay in the zone you need. But on the road, this can be a little more difficult. Hills even if you are trying hard can see your power rise significantly, and if you are trying to stay in a zone with a tail wind you might as well forget it.
But if you are doing hill training it can be awesome. Set your ftp on the cycle computer and set power to percent of ftp and then ride according to your training.
Would I go back to riding without?
Heck no, more data is fun and it adds to the Strava experience.