POWER ME­TERS BUYER’S GUIDE

220 Triathlon Magazine - - KIT ZONE -

“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.

ANALYSING SOFT­WARE

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.

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