Using a power meter is the preferred training device most professional cyclists and triathletes these days and the information below explains why. Other devices such as a heart rate monitor and cyclometer can be used but this guide will focus on the usage of power meters to accurately track performance.
Why train with Power?
The power meter allows you to accurately and quantitatively measure your training, define areas of strength and weakness, fine tune your training plan to meet your specific goals, and to provide a common language with which to communicate with your coach. As your coach, power data allows me to see exactly what you are doing during your workouts as if I were there. When I ask you how hard was your workout, “hard” is a relative term meaning different things to different clients. Being able to look at your power output enables to me to see not only exactly how “hard” the workout was, but if you completed it accurately and how your body responded to it.
According to Charles Howe in the article “Empower your training” he lists the following benefits to using a power meter:
- Eliminates the guesswork from gauging exercise intensity
- Allows performance to be precisely quantified and the training log to be more realistically and effectively managed
- Other uses besides data collection such as pacing during interval training and time trials and aerodynamic testing.
Using heart rate and the Perceived Rate of Exertion scale in conjunction with the use of a power meter provides additional, useful data in examining the body’s response to training.