Watts Happened

Price being the main hurdle, it has taken me years to commit to buying a power meter and like so many riders before me, I wish I’d done it earlier. Since the beginning of this year I’ve been training and racing with a power meter.

If you are ever looking to buy a pair of race wheels, buy a power meter instead. Instead of a new bike, buy a power meter. In fact, I would go so far as to say, if you are considering a Time Trial bike/frame buy a power meter for your road bike and convert it with clip on aero bars.

That is if you want to be a better cyclist.

A power meter will improve your riding more than a new bike could. You will go faster on your current bike with a power meter than you ever will on the latest Pinarello. A power meter won’t necessarily make you look good but it will make you look smart.

A power meter isn’t magic, you still have to do the training. But, training with power is like being on the inside, being more grown up, there is a certain ‘Ahhhhhhhhh…I get it now’ and that is a great feeling to have.

There’s some essential reading to get to grips with to ensure you understand what you are doing and to help you improve.

Cutting-Edge Cycling
Training and Racing with a Power Meter
The Power Meter Handbook

Reading the books and completing some of the simple tests will give you an understanding of the rider you are (strengths and weaknesses), how to become the rider you want to be, whether that’s a climber, sprinter, time trialist, etc. and they provide plenty of training sessions to improve specific areas of your fitness.

In less than a season I am already a better cyclist and triathlete. Over the coming months I’ll write more about training and racing with watts to convince you it’s the best investment you can make.

To whet your appetite though, how about…

– Why training with power is better than training with heart rate.
– Why power beats RPE (Rate of Perceived Exertion) as a scale.
– How a power meter helped me know that I HAD returned to fitness.
– Beating the weather using power.
– Using power in a triathlon.
– Testing with power.
– Better pacing, climbing.
– Better coaching.

Test: Running

Every month during my recovery week I test myself in each sport to set my training zones for power, heart rate and pace for the coming month.

This is an overview of this month’s running test.

Without an assistant, the test I often use is Joe Friel’s CP30 Test. Once I have my average heart rate for the last 20 minutes of the test I drop it in to Training Peaks (the web-based planning application I use with all my athletes), which calculates the zones for me. Then whenever I upload my data from a run the program logs and calculates the time I spent in each of my heart rate zones so that I can manage my training load over time.

It’s important to replicate the conditions for each test as closely as possible. Trying to get the same amount of sleep beforehand, eat the same foods prior, test at the same time of day, same weather conditions, wear the same kit, use the same course, etc. Of course some of this is in, and some of this is out, of your control. The closer you can replicate each test the more accurate and comparable the results.

The results (using my Garmin 310XT):

Garmin File: CP30 Test, Running

CP30 Test Data in Garmin Connect

CP30 Test Data in Garmin Connect