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Discussion Starter #41
We have a lot in common. Let me explain.<br><br>
I training and race by feel. Everybody who knows me knows this. I always have. But there is one exception, and that is winter base period on the Trainer.<br><br>
I feel that by going by perceived effort is nearly as good as it gets, and as long as you have a large comfort zone as an individual, something that is key, and the mental capacity to keep pushing even though the only feedback you have is that in your head, you can train to get yourself to perform to near your ability.<br><br>
And I don't think you should change that approach, with perceived effort being the guiding light, for anything as long as you're getting strong and faster and feel as if you are at or near your peak given the rest. Layer on top of that a eye at a power meter, and you will push yourself harder and faster in training when you need to. I think it can be an amazing compliment to perceived effort. I would not encourage the athlete who goes by PE to race with a PM unless he/she trains more with it as the guiding factor. The idea is that the PM will make you strong in training. It will help you squeeze out that extra 5% out of you, because you can see the numbers right in front of you -- direct numbers of your output -- and you being a competitive athlete amongst others AND yourself, you will race yourself, and push to hold 400W over that 2 min fast stretch, or 350W going up and over that hill.<br><br>
That, to me, is the bonus of power meter... to get you to the next level. Even I, someone who swears by perceived effort, someone who rarely looks at his splits while running a marathon even though the goal is sub-3 hours, sees the total benefit of power meter.<br><br>
On top of that there are many other benefits if you're willing to put the time in, but I'll save those for Part II of Training with Power <img alt="smile.gif" src="http://files.kickrunners.com/smilies/smile.gif">
 

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Discussion Starter #42
As an FYI, here is some pretty good reading material...<br><br>
Saris<br><a href="http://www.saris.com/t-sciencePower.aspx?skinid=2" target="_blank">http://www.saris.com/t-sciencePower.aspx?skinid=2</a> (tons of good articles, specifically "Power Basics" at bottom far right (LRR, see here for direct answer to some of your questions).<br>
*Disclaimer: Saris is maker of Power Meter. Still, very good stuff.<br><br>
Friel<br><a href="http://www2.trainingbible.com/pdf/Train_with_Power.pdf" target="_blank">http://www2.trainingbible.com/pdf/Train_with_Power.pdf</a><br><br>
EN<br><a href="http://www.endurancenation.us/blog/2008/training-with-power-series-what-is-training-with-power/" target="_blank"><span style="color:#810081;">http://www.endurancenation.us/blog/2008/training-with-power-series-what-is-training-with-power/</span></a><br>
*Power described in understandable terms. Follow links at end for other parts in the power series.
 

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Thor<br>
Thanks for providing a forum for this interesting discussion.<br>
I have been more interested in power training this winter after your reply to my indoor cycling questions. I have now been training more by wattage and time at certain % FTP - and suffering more. I hope this will translate to better real-life performances.<br><br>
However, I think there is one aspect about power training not touched upon here. That is, while power is easy to measure in a "lab" setting, how does this translate to performance ? It is not as simple as watts=mph. One must take into account physiology. For example, a cyclist with more type 1 muscle fibers will be able to generate more power, but maybe not for as long as a cyclist with more type 2 fibers. Also states of glycogen stores will effect power output. A hilly course will recruit more type 1 fibers, fatiguing them sooner and causing more need to draw on type 2 fibers.<br>
So, it is a bit more complex than the more power you generate the faster you go. Real life conditions also play into the equation in that a cyclist who is not "on" that day and trying to push an predetermined power level will use up glycogen and fatigue sooner.<br>
I do agree that HR training is secondary in importance to power training, especially when considering heart rate "drift" that occurs with time. I think that RPE may be a much more valid way to gage effort.<br>
Just some randon thoughts here. Hope some made a bit of sense.<br>
Keep up the good work, and keep us thinking.
 

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Zdoc: Exactly. (Although you said it better).<br>
What about wattage variance between indoors and out? 2 weeks ago, outside I was instructed to do the same set given indoors 7-days earlier. 8 x 3min at 310wattage. It was almost EASY, whereas it had killed me on the trainer.<br>
(I'm teasing, it wasn't 310 - it was much lower than that, I just wanted to see who's eyes would bug out to say, "Holy CRAP she is strong!" <img alt="smile.gif" src="http://files.kickrunners.com/smilies/smile.gif"> I'm not that strong. ha.)<br><br>
But, point being, it was notably easier outside. So how do you correlate.<br>
I totally agree with you that wattage doesn't equal speed, necessarily. I also reject the same notion of people using MPH as a goal. What if you're in a headwind or on a hill?<br><br>
I'll keep thinking.<br><br>
Thor: Really good point about the number and the goal. I hadn't thought about that and perhaps that is a useful thing for folks.<br><br>
Let me let some of this marinate a little longer....
 

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Discussion Starter #45
By no means is power the end-all training methodology. It is just another tool to help you achieve your goals. It is much less susceptible to variances than is HR in HR-Only (key word "Only"<img alt="wink.gif" src="http://files.kickrunners.com/smilies/wink.gif"> Monitoring training. And it is a more direct measure of the work you do, whereas HR is a measure of the response that is the work you do, which is why it always lags the effort put out. Both are great ways to train, and so is perceived effort. Where Power starts to shine is not with the athlete new to cycling by a few years but rather the athlete who's already established a solid base and is looking to take their training and performances to that next level. When used in conjunction with HR and cadence, you now have all the numbers available to us as a cycling community that you'll ever need -- until somebody in their basement rigs up an even more direct reading of work and body physiology and turns the crank into a training methodology.<br><br>
But Power is just another training tool. It will vary, like HR, but not nearly as much. And once you know your "numbers" and even "Zones," if you chose, and become comfortable with them just as you would be either perceived effort or HR or both, you will no doubt benefit with more quality in those workouts by training an eye on the power meter. But the meter is useless until you know your numbers. Just like HR.
 

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Thor ~<br>
I'm with you. Understood no one is saying it is the end-all, be-all. Well, actually some do. Bottom line, I'm just looking to see it's value, and what it does for someone's training. So far I haven't encountered value beyond what other methods could bring, but several people have also raised good points that I hadn't thought of. (You mentioned the number thing as a goal - hit this watt # at the top of the hill. I can see how that would be useful to some.)<br><br>
Interesting stuff.<br>
Good discussion, kids. <img alt="smile.gif" src="http://files.kickrunners.com/smilies/smile.gif">
 

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Hi Thor,<br><br>
If possible, can you talk about or provide a link for the classic power setups in your article. Pictures are great. Scott mentioned two brands--Powertap and CinQo. Since I'm a power-newbie, I'd like to know how one sets it up for trainers and also on-road measurements. Computer software and how to record data. Total blank for me right now.<br><br>
If you find those test subjects, please suggest a before and after bike on the same race course. I'd be interested in someone reporting "I did XX:XX in IMLP last year and I got XX:XX (under similar conditions) this year". Your articles could be a work in progress for years to come.<br><br>
QS
 

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Discussion Starter #48
Absolutely. I'll include that in Part III. It'll be a natural wrap up for what I have in mind in the larger scope of the series. Great advice!<br><br>
So here's the hard part, and here's why: Take this forum, for instance. We are mostly newbies with a few who have a few years experience, but honestly there are not many of us here who are at our peak fitness. We all keep improving year after year regardless of our training. And it's because we're new to the sport(s) and figuring out how to race particular distances. So we will improve by virtue of just going through the motions.<br><br>
Some of us might be bumping up against a performance plateau, but maybe not. And that's just it, we don't really know because we haven't been at this sport for all that long.<br><br>
The very best test subject would be a 10-year vet who might be stuck at several performances of, say, 10:30 in Ironman, or another consistantly at, say, 5:01 or :02 or :03 for the half Iron.<br><br>
These are the test cases you want. And those are very hard to find. Pro ranks is the area to look at, I believe. Because most are training their heads off, probably hitting a serious plateau where they can't really get much stroner, etc. But the problem there is that many of the pro's are already training with power.<br><br>
I know this is just words, but nearly every single person I speak with who has done HR training and then bought a power meter and started training that way, all of them are converts because they see how much more effective they are in their training in being able to squeeze out that "extra 5%." This is, of course, when also used with HR.<br><br>
Same with people who didn't come from HR training -- those who came from PE only, of which I am one.<br><br>
And I make this claim public because, poke around the 'net, you'll find exactly the same thing. Start with the links I provided. And poke further. I like to visit professional triathlete's and pro-cyclists blogs and websites, because they are at the very peak of their ability, and they have the coaching and sponsor dollars to train the most effective way. Most have power, especially the pro cyclists. The use the power in conjunction with HR and other factors to get a compete physical and physiological view of their athlete.<br><br>
Read any recent book on racing in the Tour de France (Lance has a good one) or other top cycling tour race, and you can't go a few pages without talk of power. And it's because it's important. These guys know going into a 40K TT around about what the winning time will be. That can be tracked even further to power per kg (body + bike weight). And coupled further to weather conditions. And these guys have a set watts they want to hold. If HR goes out of control, they then have to monitor why and weather giving into the HR even though watts are where they should be, which by now means they are working much too hard and will blow, all goes into deciding to either back down or, hold on... because the team needs the win.
 

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I haven't been in triathlon all that long, since 07 actually. I started Dec of 06. But I come from a background of mountain biking. I mountain biked somewhat competitively going back 10 years. I was as serious about it if not more serious than I am not about cycling now. I never could understand why people would want to ride on the road. I thought they were dorks <img alt="smile.gif" src="http://files.kickrunners.com/smilies/smile.gif"> Oh how things change.<br><br>
But in 2003 I started running, the mountain biking became more of a cross training thing at that point, as I switched sports. Plus I moved away from the trails, so it just wasn't as fun. It never occurred to me to do duathlons or xterra. I didn't know these things even existed. I did about 10 marathons before starting triathlon.<br><br>
I started with a coach in march of 07 as I was training for IMWI. I was doing things my own way prior to that. Basically on a trainer as it was winter. Most of what we did were cadence workouts, long rides, and some tempo. Which I still do cadence, but much less as my efficency has improved. My first HIM which was my second triathlon, I did the Racine bike in 21.2mph and ran a 1:48 half marathon. I had comparable results to some guys I knew that had been doing this for many years. So I wouldn't say I was starting as a beginner. The mountain biking and running had gotten me to a certain level.<br><br>
What I noticed is that the 21.2 really left me tired. I had some dead legs and the run felt bad. I did the race in 2008 and went 22.5 on the bike, and felt great afterwards. I did not run though because I was just coming off a calf injury and I still walked with a limp. But swimming and cycling was ok. The transistion was awkward. Two weeks later I did Steelhead, comparable to Racine, and went 23.9mph (I'm giving myself 23mph because the course was 1.5-2 miles short), 1:41 marathon. It was a strong run considering I just got back into running, plus I knew I would have broke 1:40 if not for the side stitch I got caused by gulping some ice cold water on mile 12. doh.<br><br>
I think not only the cycling, but my running improved from training with power. I can cycle faster with less effort, and feel better on the run. I started to train with power in dec 07 with a computrainer. I still do the cadence stuff, one leg drills, all that. I ride a lot so I get a mix of everything.<br><br>
I recently bought a pwm for the bike. And I struggled with this decision. Because in reality for racing I'm all about RPE. In the about 10-12 triathlons I've done, I only used a HR monitor once, everything else on feel. And this works great. However not for Ironman. I think the HIM distance bike is a completely different race than IM. I think this a control/ effort issue which I just can't seem to control. You can get a way with hammering in z4 in a HIM and still run relatively well, I did this in 07. You just can do this in IM as you know.<br><br>
Now using the computrainer and doing 3,4,5 hour rides on these courses, I noticed I ride them very well when I try to ride them at 70-75% of my FTP. Especially when I start at say 65% and move into the the 75% range, I'm always fresher in the second half. My goal of buying a power meter for the bike, is to replicate this same effort on those courses. As soon as the weather is better I'm driving to Wisconsin and trying this out. I also believe I'm not a mature rider. Being new to "road" cycling, I don't know how to race long efforts. I think a pwm in this case may actually be better for an immature rider like myself that can't help to hammer sometimes, especially up hills. Maybe this goes back to my mountain bike days, I hammered all the time. With just HR and RPE, sometimes I get overexcited and start hammering and don't realize what's going on until the watch starts beaping, or I start cursing.<br><br>
If the pwm on the bike doesn't work, I'll be selling my CinQo on this forum <img alt="smile.gif" src="http://files.kickrunners.com/smilies/smile.gif">. Anways that's my story.
 

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If I were going to pay someone to help me become a better cyclist, I'd buy a power meter for on the road and continue to use the computrainer in the winter. I'd expect the coach to have the knowledge base to look at my power files from training and races and help me design workouts based on what my body was doing.<br><br>
A coach who suggested I train with heartrate zones would not be a good investment. For me, the power on the bike stuff is what's complicated and tedious to understand, that's where I'd need some help from a professional.
 

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Hi Thor,<br><br>
Thanks for your response. I'm definitely looking forward to the next episode now. <img alt="smile.gif" src="http://files.kickrunners.com/smilies/smile.gif"><br><br>
QS
 

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Okay, I know crap all about proper training, but - I don't get it. Where does speed come into it? Because surely to win a race, you need to go faster than everyone else. So Power Pete has decided that to achieve that increase in speed to win the time trial, he needs to be able to average 250W. Presumably, Heart Rate Hank has decided that to win the time trial, he needs to be able to maintain x speed at a given heart rate. So maybe he currently maintains 22mph at 160bpm, he wants to be able to maintain 24mph at 160bpm. Seems to me they would be doing the same kinds of workouts, just measuring them differently. If it's windy on race day, Power Pete's 250W would net a slower speed than if it's calm. Likewise, Heart Rate Hank's speed at a given heart rate would be slower.<br><br>
What am I missing? How do you know what watts you need to be able to push? How is aiming for a certain number of watts better than aiming for a certain average speed at a particular HR? Surely, your ultimate goal is the same - to become fitter and stronger so you can go faster with less effort.
 

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I'm not sure if using the power meter on race day is so useful, the readout tends to bounce around a lot. Like a running race, someone doing a time trial or tri needs to just learn to race the course by feel and ignore all the gadgets.<br><br>
For training, a way to measure output and total training stress from cycling with a pretty fine grain scale is a plus. It's very much like running workouts on the track, a 72 second quarter and 75 second quarter are meaningfully different. You can become a better runner without using a track, but people who understand how to use it can add a real element of control to their training.<br><br>
I'm not a power disciple in any way, I have a lot of friends who love it, but I do find it has helped me in the winter a lot. Most of the arguments I have read in this thread against the use of power simply underscore a lack of understanding of the reasoning behind this type of training, how the underlying software and hardware support it and why most decent cyclists are using it in one way or another.
 

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So, then, why not do repeats over a measured course on the bike? Why is measuring power better than measuring speed over the same course? Other than being able to quote cool numbers, what's the real difference in measuring the increase in your power output versus increase in speed at a given heart rate. Both are telling you you're getting fitter and stronger.<br><br>
Umm, yeah, like I said, I don't know anything about proper training and I don't get it!!
 

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Excellent questions. What is interesting about cycling when compared to running is the jumpy nature of the power output, even over a fairly level course. Using your example of say riding a benchmark time trial over 5 miles, you can look at your time over that distance or your average speed and that will tell you a lot about your fitness, really quite a lot. But, with a means to measure power, you can look atthe performance over the course of the 5 miles and get a sense for how your body is working over the whole 10 minutes and make changes in your training in a more focused way.<br><br>
Bike racers like power because they do long events that require very high power over say 15 seconds and pretty high power over a few minutes over a variety of terrain, which is different from the needs of a triathlete.<br><br>
I think that most triathletes would be well served to use a consistent out and back time trial on a level road a single uphill repeat to measure progress every 8 or so weeks. I don't think buying a power meter will just make a silk purse out of a sows ear, but for me it motivates me to do the work I need in the winter.<br><br>
All that said, I think using a power meter for a beginning cyclist is pretty pointless. It's useful for someone who is pretty well dialed in and has been riding enough to have reached a bit of a plateau.
 

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This will be my 3rd season of cycling/tris and I haven't use HR or Power to guide my training yet. This season I know I need to have a more focused approach to bike training now that I'm much more comfortable just riding my bike.<br><br>
Here's my question:<br>
Should I start by using HR to focus my training as a relative bike newbie and save the power method for the future?<br><br>
Also I would be interested in a future article about how to best use a trainer during winter months.<br><br>
This is all very interesting. I'm enjoying stretching my brain to try and figure all of this out.
 

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For you, position may give you the biggest bang, do the work to get really aero and still be able to ride hard. You cna use spped and time over distance as an ok proxy for power, given the same courses. Use out and backs or long climbs for repeats and tests rather than just going out for rides, e.g. work on getting fast over 2 mile course and riding tempo over say 20 mi
 

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Discussion Starter #59
I'm away for the weekend, and away from this thread for duration, so I'll get back then.<br><br>
In the meantime, I just want to say thanks to Jr for posting his thoughts and answer to questions. Another point I want to make is that I by no means am an expert on Training with Power. I have merely researched the subject, practiced only in my basement on the Trainer that has a very cheapy and crude but repeatable power reading (I can't afford a power meter). My words are not to convince that power is the end-all, rather they are to shine a light on what power can do for you. I do not believe power is for everybody, or any body. But I do believe power can take you to the next level if you've been hanging at the same peak for a few years. Again, my background in this is limited to research, personal gains in my basement and basement only (anyone want to hook me up with a power meter... I'll write another article! <img alt="smile.gif" src="http://files.kickrunners.com/smilies/smile.gif"> ), and speaking with and listening to some top coaches and triathletes and cyclists. Perhaps the biggest commonality is that those preaching the benefits of power are all at the top or near top of their game.<br><br>
Either way, this is a great conversation. Keep your thoughts coming! Please!
 

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I am right there with you. This is my first winter riding a trainer on a regular basis and I am using HR as a guide to bring the intensity to where it should be for different types of workout, i.e. tempo, interval. (I did the FTP test and established the HR zones.) There have been more than a few times I wished I had a powermeter. As discussed in this thread, HR can be affected by various factors. One day, I forgot to turn the fan on until the 3rd 10min interval of 4x10. HR dropped 4bpm. Was I slacking or simply breeze lowered my HR. I think the latter was the case but not 100% sure. The other day, my HR was wicked high though I felt my effort level was about the same as the same session a week ago. I was under lots of stress that week. Was I actually working harder or simply stress increased my HR. don't know. Powermeter would have told me clearly where my output was. The speed from a session to a session is useless to me, because a slight change in the bike setup on the trainer (I always pump up the tire before each workout and play around the tire/trainer contact point) changes the speed on the computer drastically. The speed does help, however, within one workout. For example, if I am doing 4x10, I can compare and make sure my speed is not going down from each interval. HR only may give you a false sense of you putting out the same effort, when in the reality, HR may be showing cardiac drift, not higher effort neccessarily. Same thing during let's say 60min tempo. I monitor my ave speed each 10min and corresponding HR, to make sure I am at least maintaining the same speed while HR may go up slightly.<br>
So this is a long way of saying I would like to have a power meter on my trainer. I have no interest at this point to have a powermeter for outside ride.
 
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