— Power Meters —

Power Training: Using A Power Meter For Triathlon Pacing

Power meters are by no means perfect devices. A robust design with simple functionality has yet to be created in my opinion (although they are getting better); and they are expensive to boot. A power meter requires a level of technical and analytical aptitude that not every athlete will possess. However, if used to correctly, a power meter is a powerful tool that can increase training accuracy and facilitate a much higher level of post race or work out analysis. Utilizing a power meter within a multisport pacing strategy can give a tactical edge as well.

Power Training Basics and Terminology

Before we get into how to use a power meter, let's talk about how to establish a baseline Functional Threshold Power (FTP).

Establishing an FTP:

    Power Training - Beware of the High Bar

    Introducing an athlete to the process of training with power can be arduous. The devices themselves require a learning curve to set up, calibrate, and utilize. Once that is out of the way, then the real fun starts: uploading the data to the variety of software available and determining what utility it has.

    Power Meters: An Overview

    A common question that I get is what is a better power meter- “the power tap or one that’s in the cranks?” This is a great question, especially considering the cost of a power meter. I will attempt to answer this question here.

    There are usually two questions about which power meter is the best:
    1. Which is more practical, having it built into the bike or into a wheel?

    Power Time (more wheel discussion!)

    This winter I want to start training with power, especially to increase the effectiveness of the time spent in the basement on the trainer. My thoughts are to get a PowerTap hub built with a moderate/low-end training wheel. My rational is that on the training wheel, I can use it on the trainer worry free, and also for training on the road once spring and summer roll around; downside is that I wouldn't have power during the race, but I think I'd prefer racing by "feel" anyway.

    Power cranks (not power meters)

    What's the deal with these things called power cranks? I'm not talking about power meters, but I was surfing around the web and saw these weird things on www.powercranks.com They claim to increase avg. speed by 2-3 mph in 6-9 months. It's a long time, but definitely could be worth it (other than the fact that they cost a fortune). Are these things for real or is it just placebo?

    Computrainer vs TACX vs SRM

    Hi All -

    Currently, I have Computrainer, but am thinking about selling it to get a "discounted" SRM and perhaps a TACX for indoor training. This way I can get power readings indoors and out. Anyone have experience w/ the TACX trainers (like the Flow)? What's your opinion on SRM and other power measurement devices?

    Knowing your power ... what's it worth?

    As triathletes, many of us feel compelled to sweat the small stuff during training, because - let's face it - on a long course the small stuff can be the difference between a PR and a DNF for some folks. I'll freely admit that I'm a numbers nerd. I spend hours analyzing things like my pre- and post-workout calorie intake, and my heart rate profiles from the day's training. Does this make me a better athlete than any of my peers? Absolutely not. However, it does keep me on track and helps me (at least mentally) improve over time.

    Dialing Down Your Power

    It never fails. The first thing a person does when they buy a power meter, is to go out and ride as hard as they can, and then they rush home to look at their power file. After all, everyone knows that Floyd Landis can sit on 450 W for almost an hour, so everyone wants to know how they stack up.

    Power meters: Hype or Hyper-effective?

    Unless you been living under a rock for the last year, you know the bicycle power meters are the new rage for triathletes. You see the articles, read the testimonials, done the math on the price even researched a couple of the models available on the market... but you have yet to decide: is training and racing with power really all that it's cracked up to be? The short answer is a resounding Yes, but before you race out to your local bike shop or online retailer here are some solid reasons why you should consider a power meter.

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