BIKE COMPUTER VS POWER METER
Q What’s the difference between a bike computer and a power meter? Peter Warriner a At its simplest, a bike computer shows you how far and how fast you’re going. GPS helped turn it into a sophisticated navigation and training tool, but no matter how many features a bike computer has, it’s still essentially a handlebar-mounted device for displaying data to the rider.
A key bit of data for modern riders is power and, for your bike computer to display that, your bike needs to have a compatible power meter.
Power meters utilise strain gauges to measure a rider’s output. A strain gauge is composed of a silicon or foil pattern mounted on an insulating backing. These are then placed in locations which are subjected to strain, such as the cranks, hub or pedal spindle, and an electrical charge is put through them. Flex on the part containing the gauges cause them to deform, alters their electrical resistance and this can then be measured and expressed as the rider’s power output in watts. Using a data transmission system, typically ANT+ or Bluetooth, this information is then displayed and recorded by your bike computer. Nik Cook RACING TWO IRONMANS Q I completed my first Ironman this year and fancy having a go at two next year, but how long should I leave between them? What’s a realistic training plan to complete them both well? Matt Charleton a When planning two Ironman events allow 12-15 weeks to successfully
complete the second one. There are four phases of training between each event. You need 10 days for recovery and for tapering, which leaves you with approx. 9-12 weeks. Spend one third rebuilding and two thirds in the competition phase. Phase 1 After your first Ironman keep moving. Don’t run for the first five days but start training more frequently in the three sports once your desire returns. Phase 2 Build phase. Get back to 75% of your biggest volume week. Phase 3 Competition phase. Focus on race-pace swim, bike and run efforts. Phase 4 The taper will take care of your race-day speed. After your first event, focus on areas that need the most attention and train specifically for the demands of your second Ironman during the build and competition phase. Mark Kleanthous DOUBLE RUN DAYS Q Should I schedule a double run day into my training plan? What are the benefits of this type of training? Paul Benson a I’m a big fan of the double run day and would advise including one a week into your schedule. The benefits depend on your race distance, but can include stimulating run adaptations at gene-level, learning to run with fatigue and feeling smoother when running. Try these:
Sprint/standard distance AM and PM 30-40mins. These small chunks of time are easier to crow-bar into routines. Both are relaxed in the off-season, but with skills drills in the PM session. In-season: AM is real easy, PM is 4 x 4mins around threshold or just above.
Middle distance AM steady, 40-60mins; PM during off-season is either time on your feet with slightly tired legs or skills/ above race-pace accelerations for 16-30 strides. In-season, include 3 x 1-mile at Olympic race pace.
Long distance AM 60-90mins steady; PM 50-70mins using a treadmill, running at target Ironman pace. In the off-season, add in some deep-water running (DWR) and swimming, e.g. AM 1hr swim + DWR; PM 40mins steady run outdoors with relaxed 16-stride acceleration every 6mins. Joe Beer SWIM STROKE STYLE Q I’m confused, should I be swimming with straight arms or bent at the elbow? What’s the quickest style through the water? Lyndsey Sheridan a This depends on what part of the stroke you’re referring to. Over the water, i.e. your recovery, it really makes no difference as long as your movements are controlled and smooth, and your arms are going forwards.
Under the water it becomes a matter of degrees. The straighter (and therefore deeper) your arm is, the more your shoulder will take the brunt of the work. The more bent the elbow, the more you can recruit the back and side muscles of your lats to do the job. Your lats are the biggest muscles in your upper body, and therefore much stronger than your shoulders. They’re why swimmers have the iconic triangular back shape – think Michael Phelps!
In an ideal world your arm will track a mostly straight path back from entry to exit, with a slight curve under the water to gain the best contact and hold on the water. The key here is the ‘high elbow’ that is often coached – ideally keeping your hand below your elbow – and then looking to press/push the water backward using not only your palm but your forearm too. John Wood
Double run days are a great way to boost technique, learn how to run with fatigue and develop a smoother run style GETTY IMAGES