Those that know me, know I over analyse everything far too much. This is something that I have brought over to my training and it’s something I find pretty annoying. Fitting training around work and those daily stresses can be a pain in the backside. It requires commitment and I was becoming more frustrated as time went on not knowing whether a training session/routine is actually effective.
It’s easy to monitor your Speed and Heart Rate to try and determine the intensity of your efforts but it’s hard to track improvement using these metrics because the outcome can be varied by lots of things. For example, if you’re riding in to a headwind all day your average speed is going to be very low and if you’re suffering with an underlying illness your heart rate maybe up – so in this instance you may think your slow ride was due to the headwind but because your HR is high you believe the intensity was there… When in-fact the intensity wasn’t there and the ride itself was pretty much a waste of time, it wasn’t hard enough to force your body to adapt and get stronger and it wasn’t easy enough to help your body recover from the previous days’ training sessions.
So to remove the uncertainty in my training I have invested in a Power Meter. Assuming the Power Meter is calibrated correctly and working consistently the only variable that affects the power you produce is how hard you push on the pedals, simple as that.
As a regulator it will let me know when I need a rest, basically if a ride feels very hard but the power numbers I’m producing are low then there is no point doing the hard session that day. As it won’t be hard enough to force my body to adapt as I want it to. It means I can be more dynamic with my training, changing the session on the spot and attack the planned session another day when I’m better rested and more capable.
As a motivator, it tells the truth like no other training tool. Sometimes all the usual indicators tell you that you’re smashing a ride, flying up your regular training hill with a PB and HR is high so it must be a good effort… But it’s not always the case. The power meter is the ultimate training partner as it tells you exactly what kind of effort you’re doing and if you can do more, there’s no hiding from it!
I have only had my Power Meter for two weeks, so for the next month or so I’m just tracking my rides, to gather a picture of my strengths (assuming I have some!) and weaknesses. With that information I can target certain areas of my cycling and monitor how I progress.
When I have a clearer picture of my power numbers, I’ll post them on here and use this blog to help me keep my training on track and focused.
My power meter: http://www.power2max.de/