POWER METERS BUYER’S GUIDE
“Power meters show the workload you’re putting out, or how hard you’re pushing the pedals”
While heart rate measures your body’s response to a workload, power meters show the workload you’re putting out, or how hard you’re pushing on the pedals. This will help you to track and measure your progress over time far better than other training tools.
Back in the day you had only a couple of options when it came to buying a power meter and they didn’t come cheap. But the big players, like SRM and Powertap, now have competition from other brands such as Stages and 4iiii, which has driven prices down. They’re still not exactly cheap (with the tech on the facing page starting at the £379 mark and going up to north of two grand), but there are now enough options out there to fit nearly every bike and funny bottom-bracket standard, making them more accessible.
Using a power meter means you can make every ride count, providing information like what training works best for you – for example, cutting out junk miles – and refining your rides and routes to stimulate the desired physiological adaptation. With access to a mine of ride and race data to pour over, if you’ve slipped off the pace or not had the fitness to hang on, you’ll be able to make an accurate judgment and adjust your training accordingly.
Probably the greatest development in power meters has been in managing fatigue and form to peak for races, but its key sell is flexibility. “There’s no one proper way to use our system,” says analysing and coaching software TrainingPeaks founder Dirk Friel. “Each athlete and coach has a different methodology. Did the triathlete hit peak power values today? How hard was the ride? Where’s your fatigue score?”
The rise in power-meter use has created huge amounts of data, with TrainingPeaks the professional package for many triathletes (two more reputable packages are Golden Cheetah and Today’s Plan), including British Triathlon’s, who upload their ride data for dissection by coaches. The results then dictate the intensity and duration of subsequent sessions. You can also compare this day-byday, week-by-week to see if the training is having the desired effect: to race longer and faster.