Is a heart rate needed for training w/ Power? - Page 2
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  1. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by Alex_Simmons/RST
    Such as?

    What could be more (physiologically) important than the power you can sustain over various durations?
    A power meter only reads power at a specific point in time. It does not predict the future nor is it aware of the physical, physiological and emotional factors that frequently skew performance predictions. The power you output last week is not necessarily the power you will be able to generate tomorrow. Power data is a good reference, but experience, heart rate info, and being well in touch with what your body is telling you are better predictors of what power an you can sustain over any given duration on any given day.

  2. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by StillRiding
    A power meter only reads power at a specific point in time. It does not predict the future nor is it aware of the physical, physiological and emotional factors that frequently skew performance predictions. The power you output last week is not necessarily the power you will be able to generate tomorrow. Power data is a good reference, but experience, heart rate info, and being well in touch with what your body is telling you are better predictors of what power an you can sustain over any given duration on any given day.
    Pretty much nails it. When looking at power, you are seeing mechanical/physical value, specifically, the rate at which energy is being applied to doing work. More important is how your physiology is responding to the work load. The only real physiological parameter you can measure while riding is your HR.
    If I could only measure one of the two values, it would be HR. And power measurement without HR is like reading half of a complex novel while ignoring the rest, and hoping your assumptions about the basic trends of the novel's narrative are indicative of the outcome.
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  3. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by bikerecker
    More important is how your physiology is responding to the work load. The only real physiological parameter you can measure while riding is your HR.
    If I could only measure one of the two values, it would be HR.
    I often wear my HRM however the problem with your argument is that your heart's response to a given work load varies greatly due to numerous factors that make it difficult to use as a basis for evaluating performance. Achieving your highest avg HR on a given course for example tells you very little about the quality of your performance in relation to previous efforts, the same could be said for a lower than normal avg.

  4. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by bikerecker
    The only real physiological parameter you can measure while riding is your HR.
    That's demonstrably not true. Respiration rate and core body temperature have been measured, and though I'm not sure of it, I believe perspiration rate has been too. So my question is now that you know about them, will you start measuring them as well?

  5. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by StillRiding
    A power meter only reads power at a specific point in time. It does not predict the future nor is it aware of the physical, physiological and emotional factors that frequently skew performance predictions. The power you output last week is not necessarily the power you will be able to generate tomorrow. Power data is a good reference, but experience, heart rate info, and being well in touch with what your body is telling you are better predictors of what power an you can sustain over any given duration on any given day.
    H/R is a red hering Power and P/E all the way baby

    You are right though my power is never the same from week to week or month to month it continually rises at some duration or another from 5sec to 4hrs

    In racing the goal is be the first across the line or have the fastest ITT time, not to have the highest or lowest H/R or to boast about the biggest power numbers after the race.
    All things being equal; equipment, position (cda), and tactics it is a matter of more power = more speed,
    it is that simple period.
    Training on flats with strong winds is near impossible to gauge with P/E, stopwatch or H/R, anyone who trains with a PM knows this for a fact! This is just one example.

  6. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by asgelle
    That's demonstrably not true. Respiration rate and core body temperature have been measured, and though I'm not sure of it, I believe perspiration rate has been too. So my question is now that you know about them, will you start measuring them as well?
    Hell, why stop there--on the fly O2 consumption can also be done with Douglas Bags. Only about 5 grand.

  7. #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by bikerecker
    Pretty much nails it. When looking at power, you are seeing mechanical/physical value, specifically, the rate at which energy is being applied to doing work. More important is how your physiology is responding to the work load.
    That's certainly true but HR is a relatively poor indicator of how your physiology is responding the work load, since it is also responding to a multitude of other factors. Just because it's easy to measure, doesn't mean it's all that important. It's just an indicator of cardiac strain, that's all.
    Quote Originally Posted by bikerecker
    If I could only measure one of the two values, it would be HR. And power measurement without HR is like reading half of a complex novel while ignoring the rest, and hoping your assumptions about the basic trends of the novel's narrative are indicative of the outcome.
    HR is an indicator of cardiac strain. It is not a measure of fitness.

    So it's use is very narrow and limited to being an indicator of intensity, albeit a sub-optimal one for a multitude of reasons.

    Since that is the only sensible use of HR, and if you have power, which is a far superior means of guaging intensity, then HR is essentially redundant.

  8. #33
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    I don't get that they are redundant at all. Someone outputting 400 watts at a HR of 110 is presumably far more fit than someone whose HR is 200 for the same wattage. Like the poster before, the two together would seem to provide complementary information re training trends. I must be missing something but I would love to know that my cardiovascular fitness is increasing along with raw power output which may be obtained under considerably different metabolic circumstances--say fully aerobic vs at threshold, or while incurring O2 debt big time. Its(HR) easy data to grab, and cannot see where it detracts from the experience. Psychological fatigue is notorious for its untrustworthiness for gauging effort.

    As a for instance, So if I'm dieing on the vine while only getting 85 percent of customary power output, I believe it would be useful to know whether the HR is 70 percent or 98% of max. Sure there are confounding HR that influence HR. Not sure ignoring these and what your body is telling you by HR is the best approach. Some types of training, maybe...

    Again no claims to any advanced knowledge of exercise physiology, just trying to get a better handle on the issues.

  9. #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by newmexrb1
    I don't get that they are redundant at all. Someone outputting 400 watts at a HR of 110 is presumably far more fit than someone whose HR is 200 for the same wattage. Like the poster before, the two together would seem to provide complementary information re training trends. I must be missing something but I would love to know that my cardiovascular fitness is increasing along with raw power output which may be obtained under considerably different metabolic circumstances--say fully aerobic vs at threshold, or while incurring O2 debt big time. Its(HR) easy data to grab, and cannot see where it detracts from the experience. Psychological fatigue is notorious for its untrustworthiness for gauging effort.

    As a for instance, So if I'm dieing on the vine while only getting 85 percent of customary power output, I believe it would be useful to know whether the HR is 70 percent or 98% of max. Sure there are confounding HR that influence HR. Not sure ignoring these and what your body is telling you by HR is the best approach. Some types of training, maybe...

    Again no claims to any advanced knowledge of exercise physiology, just trying to get a better handle on the issues.
    Well if you are dying on the vine at 85% of customary power, then what exactly does knowing your HR tell you about your physiology beyond what you can tell by having a power-PE right out of synch? (A: not much)

    And more importantly, what changes will you make to your training based on such (HR) information?

  10. #35
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    Quote Originally Posted by newmexrb1
    I don't get that they are redundant at all. Someone outputting 400 watts at a HR of 110 is presumably far more fit than someone whose HR is 200 for the same wattage.
    While I doubt the 110bpm at 400W example, but there in lies the problem - you are assuming that HR is a measure of fitness. In the above example, we don't know the rider's respective body mass, nor their respective HR maximal values, so who can tell who is actually fitter? If the 110bpm guy cracks at 410-W and the other guy can go to 420W, then who is fitter?

    It matter not what your HR does. What matters is the power you can sustain over a given duration.

    Here's an example: My HR in a racing situation is automatically higher than it typically is when training at the same power. Am I suddenly less fit because I happen to be in a race, since my power to HR ratio is different? Of course not.

    Sometimes I might do efforts and my HR is lower (or higher) than normal but I'm still banging out the power OK. Am I less fit or more fit? A: You can't say, because there are too many other influences on HR for it to be all that useful as a guide to fitness.

    What matters (from a fitness standpoint) is the power you can actually produce for a given duration.

  11. #36
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    Quote Originally Posted by Alex_Simmons/RST
    While I doubt the 110bpm at 400W example, but there in lies the problem - you are assuming that HR is a measure of fitness. In the above example, we don't know the rider's respective body mass, nor their respective HR maximal values, so who can tell who is actually fitter? If the 110bpm guy cracks at 410-W and the other guy can go to 420W, then who is fitter?

    It matter not what your HR does. What matters is the power you can sustain over a given duration.

    Here's an example: My HR in a racing situation is automatically higher than it typically is when training at the same power. Am I suddenly less fit because I happen to be in a race, since my power to HR ratio is different? Of course not.

    Sometimes I might do efforts and my HR is lower (or higher) than normal but I'm still banging out the power OK. Am I less fit or more fit? A: You can't say, because there are too many other influences on HR for it to be all that useful as a guide to fitness.

    What matters (from a fitness standpoint) is the power you can actually produce for a given duration.
    What if the 400W guy weighs 350lbs and needs that power to just stay upright (at 110bpm)? Sounds like the only plausible scenario for that situation.

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    To answer the one question, I might be inclined to believe I'm overtraining for one, and doing more damage than good. It may be the flu--but like others I was mystified by the post showing evidence of same.

    It may amount to two entirely different situations--I'm thinking of someone like myself who is completely unfit and embarking on something like a 2 year program to gain a high level of fitness versus someone who is already there and trying to make small, incremental gains in preparation for racing. In the latter case, HR may not add much; in the former, it would seem to be worthwhile, perhaps more important than power.

  13. #38
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    Quote Originally Posted by newmexrb1
    It may amount to two entirely different situations--I'm thinking of someone like myself who is completely unfit and embarking on something like a 2 year program to gain a high level of fitness versus someone who is already there and trying to make small, incremental gains in preparation for racing. In the latter case, HR may not add much; in the former, it would seem to be worthwhile, but still less useful and less important than power.
    Fixed your post for you ;)


    For training/racing purposes, HR never trumps power. Ever.

  14. #39
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    When sprinting in a race should I ride as hard as my power meter says I can or as hard as I can? If it's a crowded bunch sprint should I even risk looking at my power meter?

    When I'm being dropped should I ride at the pace my power meter predicts I can sustain or should I try to go as hard as necessary to hang on?

    In training, when I'm doing intervals of various durations should I ride as hard as I can for the duration of the interval or should I let my power meter guide me?

    Should I attempt to develop an internal sense of what efforts I can sustain or should I rely on my power meter and heart monitor?

    Should I spend $1500 for a power meter or for a nice set of carbon wheels?

  15. #40
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    Quote Originally Posted by StillRiding
    When sprinting in a race should I ride as hard as my power meter says I can or as hard as I can? If it's a crowded bunch sprint should I even risk looking at my power meter?

    When I'm being dropped should I ride at the pace my power meter predicts I can sustain or should I try to go as hard as necessary to hang on?

    In training, when I'm doing intervals of various durations should I ride as hard as I can for the duration of the interval or should I let my power meter guide me?

    Should I attempt to develop an internal sense of what efforts I can sustain or should I rely on my power meter and heart monitor?

    Should I spend $1500 for a power meter or for a nice set of carbon wheels?
    Mostly red herring arguments since none are about the difference between using a PM vs a HRM - which is the topic of debate.

    Nevertheless....

    Quote Originally Posted by StillRiding
    When sprinting in a race should I ride as hard as my power meter says I can or as hard as I can? If it's a crowded bunch sprint should I even risk looking at my power meter?
    No one looks at a meter when sprinting, that's just dumb. But no one here is suggesting you should. This is a red herring, i.e. irrelevant to the discussion.

    Quote Originally Posted by StillRiding
    When I'm being dropped should I ride at the pace my power meter predicts I can sustain or should I try to go as hard as necessary to hang on?
    Your power meter doesn't predict anything, you do. What you choose to do tactically and strategically is up to you. Another red herring.

    Quote Originally Posted by StillRiding
    In training, when I'm doing intervals of various durations should I ride as hard as I can for the duration of the interval or should I let my power meter guide me?
    Actually this is a pretty important one, as riding as hard as you can for an interval can often be quite counter productive in training (it depends a lot on the type and nature of the interval), so the answer is a combination of yes, no or maybe. If you don't understand why, then you need to learn some more about effective training methodology.

    Quote Originally Posted by StillRiding
    Should I attempt to develop an internal sense of what efforts I can sustain or should I rely on my power meter and heart monitor?
    Another red herring. You present it like it's an either / or sceanrio, when in fact it is the combination of power and RPE that is intensely valuable information.

    Quote Originally Posted by StillRiding
    Should I spend $1500 for a power meter or for a nice set of carbon wheels?
    The power meter, no doubt about it. But then you don't need to spend $1500 to get a really good (new) power meter. Less than half that actually. Or build one into a nice carbon wheel if you really think that's important.

  16. #41
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    Quote Originally Posted by Alex_Simmons/RST
    While I doubt the 110bpm at 400W example, but there in lies the problem - you are assuming that HR is a measure of fitness. In the above example, we don't know the rider's respective body mass, nor their respective HR maximal values, so who can tell who is actually fitter? If the 110bpm guy cracks at 410-W and the other guy can go to 420W, then who is fitter?

    It matter not what your HR does. What matters is the power you can sustain over a given duration.

    Here's an example: My HR in a racing situation is automatically higher than it typically is when training at the same power. Am I suddenly less fit because I happen to be in a race, since my power to HR ratio is different? Of course not.

    Sometimes I might do efforts and my HR is lower (or higher) than normal but I'm still banging out the power OK. Am I less fit or more fit? A: You can't say, because there are too many other influences on HR for it to be all that useful as a guide to fitness.

    What matters (from a fitness standpoint) is the power you can actually produce for a given duration.
    I am not doubting the last statement--we are talking past each other. I only suggest that the path to getting to such a point is made smoother by knowing heart rate--comparing apples to apples on a week to week, month by month basis. You are talking above about a charged situation where eppy levels are going to be higher and jack the resting HR up. No you have not become less fit. But I'd be surprised if 30 minutes into it for a given level of output that the HR's would be dissimilar. Maybe a few BPM owing to the stress of racing.

    My assumption is that HR will ultimately be more a function of blood chemistry, pressure and the variables which drive HR via the autonomic nervous system for a given individual at a particular time. Over time as the body undergoes physiological adaptation to exercise that number is anything but static. Obviously stroke volume is going to increase with conditioning as will O2 extraction ratio. This seems obvious--and so tracking your ability to sustain a given output vs HR would seem to be one very rewarding and useful parameter. Moreover as I mentioned, if there is a sudden apparent decrease in efficiency which cannot be ascribed to short term situational effects like too much caffeine or racing nerves, may be a hint that you are overtraining.

    Maybe guys like Arnie Baker and Joe Friel are completely clueless which is what you seem to be suggesting in your ardor to be slavishly devoted to a single variable. Even if that variable is "rubber meeting the road,:" this seems like a narrow viewpoint, and not certain how many physicians would suggest their out of shape patients throw caution to the wind and blindly pursue watts as the sole item of relevance in their pursuit of greater fitness. Seems like a setup for failure if not disaster.

  17. #42
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    Quote Originally Posted by newmexrb1
    I am not doubting the last statement--we are talking past each other. I only suggest that the path to getting to such a point is made smoother by knowing heart rate--comparing apples to apples on a week to week, month by month basis. You are talking above about a charged situation where eppy levels are going to be higher and jack the resting HR up. No you have not become less fit. But I'd be surprised if 30 minutes into it for a given level of output that the HR's would be dissimilar. Maybe a few BPM owing to the stress of racing.

    My assumption is that HR will ultimately be more a function of blood chemistry, pressure and the variables which drive HR via the autonomic nervous system for a given individual at a particular time. Over time as the body undergoes physiological adaptation to exercise that number is anything but static. Obviously stroke volume is going to increase with conditioning as will O2 extraction ratio. This seems obvious--and so tracking your ability to sustain a given output vs HR would seem to be one very rewarding and useful parameter. Moreover as I mentioned, if there is a sudden apparent decrease in efficiency which cannot be ascribed to short term situational effects like too much caffeine or racing nerves, may be a hint that you are overtraining.

    Maybe guys like Arnie Baker and Joe Friel are completely clueless which is what you seem to be suggesting in your ardor to be slavishly devoted to a single variable. Even if that variable is "rubber meeting the road,:" this seems like a narrow viewpoint, and not certain how many physicians would suggest their out of shape patients throw caution to the wind and blindly pursue watts as the sole item of relevance in their pursuit of greater fitness. Seems like a setup for failure if not disaster.
    I only suggest that the path to getting to such a point is made smoother by knowing power -- comparing apples to apples on a week to week, month by month basis.

    Talking about patient rehab is another red herring. This is a cycling training forum.

    But then I have pretty strong personal experience of using power in a rehab sceanrio having had my leg amputated just over two years ago. I couldn't give a rats arse about my HR but that 100W for 10-min on a trainer the first time I tried to pedal again was precious. I've since set an all time PB max aerobic power test result (410W). Still don't care what my HR is/does. It's simply not all that relevant.

    I also coach some clients that have or are current rehabbing from cancer and/or serious injury - and the power meter data is intensely useful, in many more ways that HR could ever be.

    And yep, Friel does occasionally talk bunkum (not all the time of course).

  18. #43
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    The one thing that seems most obvious in these discussions is that the people discounting training with power have either never used a power meter, or never used one in a systematic way with any understanding of what it tells you.

    And that's not even considering the apparent misunderstanding of what heart rate represents.

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    Quote Originally Posted by iktome
    The one thing that seems most obvious in these discussions is that the people discounting training with power have either never used a power meter, or never used one in a systematic way with any understanding of what it tells you.

    And that's not even considering the apparent misunderstanding of what heart rate represents.
    Hope that is not aimed at me--if so a misrepresentation. I'm all for getting both, and being a data geek, would never dispense with potentially useful data when it is accurate and so bloody easy to obtain.

    Then again that may be just a holdover from being an MD/PhD student in a dept of physiology. Last i heard HR is largely a function of O2 demand. Why I would want to know such is simply beyond me--data lust I guess.

  20. #45
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    Quote Originally Posted by iktome
    The one thing that seems most obvious in these discussions is that the people discounting training with power have either never used a power meter, or never used one in a systematic way with any understanding of what it tells you.

    And that's not even considering the apparent misunderstanding of what heart rate represents.
    What may seem obvious is not always true. I've used both a power meter and a heart monitor for the past four years, and prior to that I used a heart monitor since the mid 80's.

    I can only comment on what works in training and racing for me (and maybe a few other riders I've trained with and advised), but here's the bottom line:

    All the gadgets and monitors and analysis and coaching in the world are no substitute for plain old hard work and a reasonable amount of talent. Developing your own personal internal monitors is way more important than the reliance on external sources of information. Finally, the one most important ingredient to success is motivation. Without it nothing can be achieved. For some, power meters, heart monitors, analysis software and coaches can provide that extra motivation they need. For others it's not necessary.

    Personally, after four years of working with power meters, I've removed the last one from my bike and sold it on eBay. I came to the conclusion that it really wasn't telling me anything that I didn't already know and that fixating on power was just distracting me from other things. Heart monitors are not much better, but at least they're cheaper and not as troublesome to install and keep accurate. Your mileage may vary, but I'm guessing that 99.44% of those reading this are not riding at a level that really justifies the use of a power meter as other than an expensive toy (which may provide some motivation until the new wears off).

    Flame retardant suit on.

  21. #46
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    Quote Originally Posted by StillRiding
    I came to the conclusion that it really wasn't telling me anything that I didn't already know and that fixating on power was just distracting me from other things.
    But there is so much more to it than "fixating on power".... which makes it sound like you trained by power, rather than with power (in the sense of using it to its potential to elicit greater performance than you may otherwise have done).

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    I'll have to consult my semanticist in order to hash out the with/by thing, but, the problem training with or by power is that power in itself is such an insignificant part of the training equation as to almost qualify as a distraction.

    During the period I used power meters (I tried all of the big three), I discovered that they couldn't tell me how much to rest, which days to go hard, or how much distance was enough. They also didn't tell me what and how much to eat or how much to sleep. They didn't take into account my age, my weight, illnesses, other stress in my life. They didn't know what I planned to do next week or next month or next year. All they did was read power at one instant in time and record it. They didn't even know that it was raining and cold outside. They were fun toys but they were expensive, required a lot of maintenance and frequently caused me to question calibration and accuracy (all three of them). OTOH, they did make it possible for other people to write books about them and sell analysis software, so I guess there was some financial benefit elsewhere.

  23. #48
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    Quote Originally Posted by StillRiding
    I'll have to consult my semanticist in order to hash out the with/by thing, but, the problem training with or by power is that power in itself is such an insignificant part of the training equation as to almost qualify as a distraction.

    During the period I used power meters (I tried all of the big three), I discovered that they couldn't tell me how much to rest, which days to go hard, or how much distance was enough. They also didn't tell me what and how much to eat or how much to sleep. They didn't take into account my age, my weight, illnesses, other stress in my life. They didn't know what I planned to do next week or next month or next year. All they did was read power at one instant in time and record it. They didn't even know that it was raining and cold outside. They were fun toys but they were expensive, required a lot of maintenance and frequently caused me to question calibration and accuracy (all three of them). OTOH, they did make it possible for other people to write books about them and sell analysis software, so I guess there was some financial benefit elsewhere.
    The distinction isn't difficult, though. Training by power implies a sense of being owned by the device rather than working with the device. We aren't implying that one should be a slave to the powermeter -- especially any more than to a heart rate monitor as some here suggest.

    As for maintenance, I have no idea what you are talking about. I own a 2007 PT SL and I replace batteries 2x per year, which is almost exactly the same as when I owned a crappy front wheel-sensor computer. It's never had to be sent back for any work.

    Insignificant is hardly the word for such a powerful tool and the powerful software that accompanies it. It sounds like you should have consulted a coach to utilize something you didn't fully understand. This is less of a problem with the powermeter and more of a problem along the lines of "EEBKAC."

  24. #49
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    Quote Originally Posted by StillRiding
    I'll have to consult my semanticist in order to hash out the with/by thing, but, the problem training with or by power is that power in itself is such an insignificant part of the training equation as to almost qualify as a distraction.

    During the period I used power meters (I tried all of the big three), I discovered that they couldn't tell me how much to rest, which days to go hard, or how much distance was enough. They also didn't tell me what and how much to eat or how much to sleep. They didn't take into account my age, my weight, illnesses, other stress in my life. They didn't know what I planned to do next week or next month or next year. All they did was read power at one instant in time and record it. They didn't even know that it was raining and cold outside. They were fun toys but they were expensive, required a lot of maintenance and frequently caused me to question calibration and accuracy (all three of them). OTOH, they did make it possible for other people to write books about them and sell analysis software, so I guess there was some financial benefit elsewhere.
    Then it is definitely clear that you didn't really understand how to work with the power meter to gain the benefits from all the data it provides.

    One of the most power applications is the management of overall workload through various times of the season, tracking the patterns in training and identifying good and bad form, and then being able to replicate those same patterns. The impulse-response model of training when coupled with power meter data is an exceptionally powerful tool.

    My power meter tells me exactly how much energy I've used, so it's pretty handy at helping me determine how much to eat.

    If you do timed events of any kind, then it is a powerful aid in analysing pacing effectiveness.

    Pre course pacing strategy can be worked on.

    And it is an especially effective tool for doing aerodynamic assessment and choosing the right position and the right equipment.

    Through various forms of testing with the meter one can assess with greater precision exactly what sort of training focus is needed at given times.

    The list goes on....

  25. #50
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    Quote Originally Posted by Alex_Simmons/RST
    Then it is definitely clear that you didn't really understand how to work with the power meter to gain the benefits from all the data it provides.

    One of the most power applications is the management of overall workload through various times of the season, tracking the patterns in training and identifying good and bad form, and then being able to replicate those same patterns. The impulse-response model of training when coupled with power meter data is an exceptionally powerful tool.

    My power meter tells me exactly how much energy I've used, so it's pretty handy at helping me determine how much to eat.

    If you do timed events of any kind, then it is a powerful aid in analysing pacing effectiveness.

    Pre course pacing strategy can be worked on.

    And it is an especially effective tool for doing aerodynamic assessment and choosing the right position and the right equipment.

    Through various forms of testing with the meter one can assess with greater precision exactly what sort of training focus is needed at given times.

    The list goes on....
    And I shoud add - none of the above can be done (or done with anywhere near the effectiveness) with a HR monitor.

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