I consider power training cycling to be the best method of training. You might think that is a big claim, but I will explain why in this article.
I will show you why power training cycling is the most effective way to train, and how to use a power meter such as the PowerTap correctly.
You might be wondering why power meters are praised so much, and why you would want to get one if you already have a heart rate monitor.
The reason you need a power meter for training, is because a lot of different factors affect your heart rate, so it isn’t the most reliable method to train from.
This makes maintaining a steady effort during time trialling or training nearly impossible.
Heart rate isn’t the only thing affected by lots of different factors, perceived exertion can be affected quite a bit, since it entirely depends on your mental state at the time. This is why new bikes are always so much easier to ride fast.
Power training cycling removes these other factors.
Here is a situation where power training cycling is so great is when you start to cycle up hill, and want to keep your effort the same.
If you went off heart rate, it would be quite hard to keep the same effort, since your heart rate will vary quite a bit during the climb.
If you had a power meter, you would take note of your power output before reaching the climb, and then you would simply have to change gear and cadence accordingly to maintain your power output. That is the main reason power training cycling is great, it can be as simple or as complicated as you want to make it, meanwhile you will be improving constantly!
The next section on power training cycling is about how to monitor and track your progress.
If you want to start power cycling training after buying your power meter, you need to measure what is know as your “Functional Threshold Power” (FTP). It is simply the power you are capable of producing for 60 minutes.
By periodically measuring your functional threshold power, you will be able to see yourself progress, which is excellent for motivation. You will also gain an advantage over your competitors who don’t do power training cycling.
Here is what you need to do to find out your FTP:
You can do this on a turbo trainer, but if you don’t have one, or hate indoor training, there is no reason you couldn’t do power training cycling on the road. You will only need a route where you wont have to stop very often.
First warm up with 15-20 minutes of easy spinning, then go as hard as you can for 60 minutes. Your average power output for those 60 minutes is your FTP.
This means you can pace yourself correctly during time trials and training, and you will be able to see yourself progress. That is why power training cycling is so effective.