- Nov 18, 2005
bbrauer said:Although I think Mitosis chooses the wrong words when he describes "immediate feedback", but I understand what he's trying to say and it has merit to some degree. I think the continued value of using HR for certain applications is precisely because its feedback is not immediate....at least it terms of transient changes in work or intensity. It has its own smoothing effect to consistent efforts, whereas power jumps all around if you have to ease up for a second to turn or adjust to slight changes in grade, etc. Yeah, you can get pretty good at keeping power consistent by constantly watching it and adjusting your effort, and this is effective if you want to time trial; but in a way, this much focus on keeping a power readout from bouncing around is not what happens in race scenarios.
If you can get access to a power meter and a heart rate monitor and establish power zones and their corresponding hear rates, then HR is an acceptable substitute for sustained effort up to your threshold. HR is perfectly fine if you want to stay in zone 3 or SST.
i don't think you've used a power meter either... constantly watching power and keeping it consistent is not necessary, nor necessarily desirable... if you are inside you can do this but outside it's just too hard to do and it's also just not necessary either... you want to be approx in zone and you want average power or normalized power to be a value.. over a 20min threshold interval maybe i glance at my power meter 5-6 times just to make sure everything is everything.. maybe up hills i might glance at it to make sure i'm not over cooking it and on downhills to make sure i'm not taking it too easy and on the flat ever now and again just to make sure i'm still where i want to be.. you don't want eyes to be glued to the thing for the whole effort.. make the effort feel twice as long and you'll likely crash off the road..
HR is not a substitute for power.. first of all, it measures strain (Dr. Coggan's words) and not stress.. it's too variable from day to day, time of day, food ingested, caffeine intake, the dog that just chased you, if you've taken the last few days off your HR will be elevate etc, etc.. add in the time lag factor and one quickly realizes it pretty useless...