I look at how cheap power meters are now from when I spent 2k back in 2009. Its so good for the consumer. They are becoming lighter, more accurate and cheaper with more head unit options.
I bought a powertap and got a heavy discount and it was still 2k. Today you can get the same unit for around 600$ online.
Training with power has let me cut down my miles drastically yet have more fitness than Ive ever experienced on the bike. It sounds gimmicky but what Ive learnt with wattages is how important early nights, hydration and sufficient carb intake are.
Training with NO power data is like going to the gym and lifting weights with no numbers on them. Are you strong or weak today? Are you improving or over training? Do you need more recovery? Did you get dropped today cos the pace was harder than normal or because you glycogen tanks are empty? Are you starting this climb too fast or slow?
Training by feel is so subjective. Training with power is objective. I love going riding with people that say 'Im not that fit! Im riding easy!' and they are banging out high watts per kg but they dont believe you until you show em.
Power meters let you determine EXACTLY what an easy day is and what a hard day is. They leave you fresh so you can go hard when its time to go hard. They teach you instantly what your optimum cadence should be and what is the best style of climbing for you.
I remember my first weeks having a power meter. I was riding up NS on the back of Rohan and Jack and just struggling to maintain contact. I said to myself 'bro! your really suffering today! maybe your getting sick or something! your HURTING!' and then I looked down at my power meter and it confirmed I was pushing out the most watts ever and thats why it felt so bad! That changed my state instantly and I lasted another 5 mins at that wattage before I totally popped. Without the data in my face I would have pulled the pin instantly and made up some self limiting excuse. But with the data I turned it into a game of how long I could last at this wattage.
I dont follow a militant training programme. Ive actually only cycled 15km this week lol! But when I put in some effort, I like to do it right so I get the right results. One reason I can train so little is that I know exactly what it takes me to get into solid form via using a power meter.
One thing I can guarantee people is that they will pb their local steep climbs. Just ride it once with a power meter as hard as you can. Then get the average watts for that clmb. Then next time you do it, hover around those watts and in the last km step it up a notch. Instant pb in the bag vs going out way to hard like most people do and going over lactate threshold and the legs totally blowing up and you lose mega time in the last half.
The book I rate is called 'training & racing with a power meter' by Hunter & Allen. Get the latest edition. Use grade 3 maths to enrich your cycling lifestyle. :)
I have used the older style Polar Power meter in the past, but unfortunately over time they loose their accuracy so it was a less then successful attempt at training with power.
Recently I have gone back to training with power after I purchased a Power2Max unit.
I agree with your recommendation in regards to ‘how to train and race with a power meter’. I can also recommend Joel Friels books on training and the Training Peaks software.
Garmin's Vector pedal sensor system due here in March. I believe they were on display at the TDU this year.
Garmin was not there, polar was but having seem them I am not conviced it will work.
First of all the polar system is lacking compared to what is offered by Garmin in terms of what the head unit provides, ie no GPS mapping, screen size and customisability. Contrary to what Polar says but it will not be easy to swap between bikes. To mount the units there are zip ties and special tools involved. Considering that they wanted close to $1500 just for the pedals and I only paid around $1600 for my Power2Max I can’t see it taking off.
The Garmin one might do better, but the pedals do not have a following out of the US and may suffer from a lack of user trust (based on some reports that I read in regards to axel breakages).
If Garmin had stuck to the initial intention of Metigear which was to use Speedplay I think they would have done a lot better. Speedplay is starting to develop a real following in Australia.
I still think that crank based systems will trump all of these pedal based systems as they already have an established and proven workability. Something that neither Polar or Garmin will start with.
I've read of concerns amongst some about the pedal pod breaking. Garmin counter by stating that even if the pedal hits the pavement the pod won't.
The Garmin team had the pedals installed on their bike at the TDU.
OK. yes I'd love a power meter, but I just wanted to point out one important point that Durian Rider made. Training smarter! Making the best use of one valuable training time.
Of course if you are a pro (put your hand up now so we can see who is here) you can ride every day and have recruited all the neuromuscular connections to make you the most efficient cyclist ever.
If your an 'average Jo/Jill' like me who has work, kids, wife and 2 other disciplines to train for (swim and run) you need to maximize your training bang for buck.
Can it be done without a power meter...Sure. Can you optimize it even further with a Power meter...My opinion is yes, but there are many forums out there that will argue that point as the power meter is not the be all end all.
So true, its another gadget and lets face it, we are mostly not pros.
Still like my toys though!
How do you fit it all in by the way? Good work
I've got myself a coach now to help me optimise things a little better. I train 2 to 3 times most days (around 12-14hrs a week).
Mon - lunch time Gym and afternoon wind trainer session
Tue - Swim before work run after work
Wed - Swim before work Ride lunch time (1hr hills loop) and run after work
Thur - Run (am or PM)
Fri - Ride and open water swim
Sat - Ride run combo (e.g. 70Km ride with 2 x 20km TT's + 13km run off bike)
Sun - Long run (maybe swim or day off if lucky)
The principle of train 3 times a week get good, train 4 get good faster! Only problem with triathlon is theres 3 sports!
When my wife was training for her sports female figure comps, she made friends with a guy called Matt White, also a Tri athelete. I watched him swim lap after lap after lap, than run and later ride.
What a machine, not seen him lately but he did tell my wife that his wife is having a baby. Less time for training than I guess.
Good work mate, inspire us!
He is a professional triathlete now. Dominates when he competes over any distance here in Adelaide. Has had success in half iron and full ironmans. Would be hard to work a normal job let alone a normal life when competing at that level.
Other than the week end stuff I try and not let training impact to much on my home life, mostly because Im scared of the grief I'd get. Hence my disdain for people you can go off riding for 8hrs on a sat and sun :)
Diddo, during xmas holidays I wrote 600k weeks but that is not normal really.
Family time with young kids is very important I feel as a child I never had any so will endevour to make most of it now.