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2013-01-05 6:14 PM

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Subject: Newbie Question - Training with a Power Meter
I'm a middle of the pack age grouper who turns in pretty average times in the cycle leg. I'd really like to do better and with the advent of winter, I've been thinking about investing in a indoor trainer with a power meter. However, I don't really know where to start with a training program. 

So I understand it's all about the watts...but how do I know if I am getting better? 

Am I supposed to do the same training program time after time and compare the average watts? Or is there some way to correlate the wattage between different programs to get a meaningful comparison? 

Like I said...newbie question, please excuse my ignorance! 

BTW, don't wish to turn this into a "which trainer is best" thread but I was thinking of getting the forthcoming Wahoo KICKR. 

Thanks, 
SM


2013-01-05 6:30 PM
in reply to: #4563913

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Subject: RE: Newbie Question - Training with a Power Meter
Before you make the investment in a power meter, you might consider doing a little research so you understand how training with power can help you improve. Otherwise, all you'll have is a really expensive bike computer.... This Book is a great place to start.

That said, a few general thoughts on your questions:

1) You know you're improving when you observe that the power you are able to sustain over a given period of time is increasing. For example, when you start out, let's say you can hold a steady 20 minute effort at an average of XXX watts. With appropriate training, you would hope that over time you will see the average power you can hold for that same period of time would increase.

2) Check out Trainer Road for some easy to follow power based training programs.

2013-01-05 6:41 PM
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Subject: RE: Newbie Question - Training with a Power Meter
Save your money and train by HR or RPE.

Intervals are your friend.
2013-01-05 6:44 PM
in reply to: #4563941

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Subject: RE: Newbie Question - Training with a Power Meter

jsnowash - 2013-01-05 6:30 PM Before you make the investment in a power meter, you might consider doing a little research so you understand how training with power can help you improve. Otherwise, all you'll have is a really expensive bike computer.... This Book is a great place to start. That said, a few general thoughts on your questions: 1) You know you're improving when you observe that the power you are able to sustain over a given period of time is increasing. For example, when you start out, let's say you can hold a steady 20 minute effort at an average of XXX watts. With appropriate training, you would hope that over time you will see the average power you can hold for that same period of time would increase. 2) Check out Trainer Road for some easy to follow power based training programs.

Thanks for the links!  I had similar questions, and that book looks like some good reading.

2013-01-05 7:27 PM
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Subject: RE: Newbie Question - Training with a Power Meter

IMO, training with power actually simplifies bike training. especially if you keep it indoors in a controlled environment.

once you get the power meter, you do a threshold test to determine your functional threshold power (FTP), which is the power you should be able to maintain for at maximum effort for a hour. from there, you can build workouts using your FTP.

then you can train at different ranges - endurance, tempo, steady state, power intervals, etc. these are all % ranges of your FTP. since you have a power meter to quantify your effort, there is no guessing. no having to determine RPE, you dont have to worry about HR fluctuations because of weather or cardiac drift (your heart rate steadily climbing even though the effort is the same).

then you just do periodic tests of FTP and see if you are making any gains.

2013-01-05 8:48 PM
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Subject: RE: Newbie Question - Training with a Power Meter
A power meter can be a great investment, if you commit to training with power. It's not for everyone. Before I made the investment, I tried power based training using TrainerRoad.com with virtual power. After 1 winter, I was convinced and bought a Quarq in the spring. If you use one of thir supported trainers, all you need is a ANT speed sensors and and ANT dongle for your laptop and they can estimate your power based on your speed and the known power curve for your trainer. They even track your improvements over time. To see improvements though, you still need to follow a good plan. TrainerRoad has a few plans that can help or you can search for Jorge's winter training plan. His works with either power or HR. I use the Kurt Kinetic Road Machine and love it. That and the cyclops fluid are probably the 2 most popular.


2013-01-05 8:54 PM
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Subject: RE: Newbie Question - Training with a Power Meter
You may want to check with local tri clubs and bike shops to see if there are any cycling studios in your area that have Computrainer classes. I paid $400 for 16 weeks of Computrainer classes and it has been a great introduction to training with power. I will probably buy a power meter later this spring, but I am going into the purchase knowing what to do with it.
2013-01-07 2:53 PM
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Subject: RE: Newbie Question - Training with a Power Meter

Thanks to all of you for your responses, *extremely* helpful.

After reviewing all the data, I decided to purchase a Kurt Kinetic Road Machine and sign up for a $10/month Trainerroad subscription. Not quite as good as a real power meter/hub but Trainerroad's Virtual Power system is good enough for me (works especially well with the KKRR) and at $350, a lot cheaper.

Must say I am extremely impressed so far with Trainerroad. Recommend you check it out if you have not done so already.

Thanks again!

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