How much did your power meter help your improvement?

Discussion in 'Power Training' started by donrhummy, Aug 1, 2007.

  1. donrhummy

    donrhummy New Member

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    Just wondering a few things for those with power meters:

    1. How much did it help you progress and in what amount of time?
    2. Was there a big jump in ability in the first some-odd months and then later much less?
    3. Comparing to the improvement of others around you without power meters, did you progress more?
    4. Did you progress more due to the power meter or specific workouts you started after you got it? (e.g. did you get it, not have much progress, then discover some power-meter training program and that gave you a boost?)
     
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  2. TamMan

    TamMan New Member

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    There are two key aspects that I have experienced:
    • I learned a lot about myself and especially about strengths and weaknesses. The PM along with 'the book' puts you through an excellent thoughtprocess. This has helped me to develop a specific training plan that addresses some of my annoying weaknesses (key situations where I got dropped)
    • It's hard for me to quantify how much I have improved since I spent a few months just riding with the PM. From a subjective point of view, I have found that I have improved tremendously. Also, whenever I have a performance dip, the PM helps me structure a training program that helps me get out of that ditch much quicker than before.
     
  3. frenchyge

    frenchyge New Member

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    Pretty tough to say how much I would have improved *without* the power meter, although I do believe it helped.
     
  4. donrhummy

    donrhummy New Member

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    Right, but you must know what your numbers were the first few times you used it -- which would be before any improvement.
     
  5. daveryanwyoming

    daveryanwyoming Well-Known Member

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    An increase of at least 75 watts sustainable power(FTP) since last November (9 months). I was struggling at 220 watts last summer and my FTP is at least 295 right now and maybe higher since I've done several 300+ long intervals in the last week during training. Qualitatively the difference between hanging on for dear life and riding at the front and attacking on the local hammerfest ride as well as riding well and consistent placings in sanctioned races.
    Steady improvement over the winter, improvement slowed as racing started. Big improvement jumps several times since and usually after using SST to build CTL.
    I definitely progressed much faster than other friends without PMs, but I also trained a lot more and with a lot more focus.
    Well it's certainly the workouts on the bike and not the meter that made the difference, but the PM really demonstrated the ineffectiveness of my previous training. I trained a lot more miles and with a lot worse results for many years using HRMs. I did way too many group rides and did too many easy miles punctuated by gut busting short efforts. The PM really showed me that most of my riding was too easy and the group rides and short intervals were only working anaerobic fitness when my core aerobic fitness sucked. The PM didn't do that alone of course, some of that understanding came from Andy and Hunter's book, some from these forums, some from Pubmed papers and other sources. But without the PM I wouldn't have been able to quantify training intensity relative to FTP and wouldn't have realized how poorly HR serves to guage my efforts particularly the shorter intervals.

    The PM has been key to riding less, riding more powerfully and has changed my training habits. I do very few group rides and almost no easy crusing miles unless it's an on the bike rest day. I don't worry about the miles I ride per week but I do keep track of intensity and CTL. FWIW I trained "seriously" for more than a decade using HR and paying some well respected coaches. My results were pretty mediocre for the time invested with only a few real good races over the years. In a year of PM based training I've bumped my sustainable power way up, have finally become a decent TT rider and have placed well in over a dozen races this year including a few top three finishes and a fourth place GC finish in a stage race. I've never had a season like this before and I'm doing it with a lot less time on the bike.

    Good luck,
    Dave
     
  6. J-V

    J-V New Member

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    I started using a CycleOps 300PT indoor trainer at Christmas, and by March, on my first ride of the season, I broke my TT/training climb PB time by a minute (about 28:30 at the peak of my best previous season). By May I had re-set my PB repeatedly, and during the annual Pillar-to-Post race I pulled a 23:59 out of my arse! My FTP went from about 220 watts to about 275 in that same timeframe. Two years ago my time on Mt. Evans was a pathetic 3:24; this year it was a nearly-getting-respectable (for me at least) 2:41+!

    I would guess this is very unique to the individual. After about six weeks on the trainer I started to see significant gains (both in numbers and in perceived effort), and they pretty much just kept going until I started riding outside in the spring.

    My two riding buddies are absolutely pissed at me, one of which said to me after Mt. Evans: "Let me be the first to say... you DICK!!!" That made my entire training season right then and there. :p As was eluded to above, I'm now with the front of the pack, instead of watching them fade into the distance.

    I'd say that reading the Hunter/Coggan bible was a revelation in certain ways, especially after having trained by HR for the previous 15+ years (SillyOldTwit's monster thread in the Training Forum didn't hurt, either). I didn't really train using specific workouts, I trained for FTP, starting at 20 minutes, upping my time to 30/40/60, increasing the number of (shorter) intervals per workout, then increasing my target wattage and doing it all again. Having the physiological input (i.e. power data) made the whole process less a process of guessing, and more a process of picking off targets one by one. You need to like data evaluation to really get the most out of it, but once you start seeing your gains, it gets quite interesting.

    The power meter is the best thing I've done for my cycling, health, and physical well-being in the last 20+ years. It didn't come without a lot of effort on my part, but it was a catalyst that likely could not have been provided by anything else.

    [I have to qualify all of the above by saying that the PowerTap on the 300PT was probably of more value than the power meter on the bike, since it is much harder to hold a given power while riding 'real' roads. The fixed gear riding on the 300PT really cleaned up my pedal stroke, and allowed me to develop the intestinal fortitude to keep going; on the bike, it's too easy to rest (slightly) when the gradient changes.]
     
  7. Billsworld

    Billsworld New Member

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    Droped from 205 lbs to a very lean 180. increased 1 min power to 675 and kept and increased peak power slightly at a much lighter BW. A bunch faster. No chance without the PT and or a near by track.
     
  8. frenchyge

    frenchyge New Member

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    Yes, but also before a lot of hard training. So the question is still how much did the PM help?

    If you're just asking how much I improved since getting a PM.... about 15%.
     
  9. Alex Simmons

    Alex Simmons Member

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    Hard to quantify some aspects. My best seasons have been with the PM after many years of racing. And it makes it easy to quantify where and how to make improvements, guesswork is largely removed and science comes in.

    Relative to peers - let's see - take my club mates. Went from B grade fodder to winning Club A grade championship.

    Relative to my Masters Category - went from never finishing Crits and enduro track events to making podium at State and National championships (crit, TTT, Team Pursuit, Points Racing).

    Coaching had a lot to do with it too but note that is RST power based coaching.

    If you are not riding that well, it is possible to make quite sizeable gains in a few months with the aid of a power meter and a good plan. The trick is to look at the long term though and have a season by season view.

    One of the thiings the PM does is alert you to how much wasted training time you have (like a lot of group rides) and makes you face the truth about your training.

    I'm a Masters age rider but I am getting faster, not slower each year. Example: I took a whopping 19 seconds off my 3000 metre Individual Pursuit time in the two years after getting a power meter.
     
  10. marko16

    marko16 New Member

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    I found out how lazy I trained. I knew I was good at race tactics and my poor scores watt wise confirmed this. I can finish most races in the top 5 35+ and have so for years. I thought races were very hard but my finishes told me I was fine. I hadn't been doing well lately and got a PM and it really opened my eyes. I now do, and complete smart intervals which have put me back in the winners circle. I actually went off the front in a race:). Where it really helped was winter indoor training. I actually look foreword to it and can sit on the trainer for 2 hours. Next year I plan to hit it harder earlier. I have no group to keep me honest, so to train right, I need the PM.
     
  11. dazman

    dazman New Member

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    In 20 weeks I went from 200 to 270 FTP. I was admitedly untrained but the PM together with a Hunter 220 watt plan set me on my way.

    Another thing I would never have known withou the PM was that I was never going to get anywhere with high cadence. For my body the power/cadence tests gave me 20 watts for free once I realised I was much more powerful at lower cadences.:)
     
  12. zaskar

    zaskar New Member

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    More then training by heart rate and the coach I was using at the time.
     
  13. MY02_STi

    MY02_STi New Member

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    As most of the other guys have said, it showed how much I wasn't training when I was on the bike and how often I wasn't training properly and wasting a fair amount of time doing just that.

    The thing that made a HUGE difference was finding a very good coach that undertands training with a power meter - now THAT made a huge difference :cool

    It's a bit like buying a new Ferrari :cool: , you'll go fast, but being shown HOW to drive it fast - that's where the difference lies ;)

    When I first got my PowerTap SL in January this year (was using a Polar system before then so data was a bit suspect :( ) my FTP was around 275 W. After 3 months or so with my coach it was around 315W and I was riding as well as I had 15 years ago
     
  14. MY02_STi

    MY02_STi New Member

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    As most of the other guys have said, it showed how much I wasn't training when I was on the bike and how often I wasn't training properly and wasting a fair amount of time doing just that.

    The thing that made a HUGE difference was finding a very good coach that understands training with a power meter - now THAT made a huge difference :cool

    It's a bit like buying a new Ferrari :cool: , you'll go fast, but being shown HOW to drive it fast - that's where the difference lies ;)

    When I first got my PowerTap SL in January this year (was using a Polar system before then so data was a bit suspect :( ) my FTP was around 275 W. After 3 months or so with my coach it was around 315W and I was riding as well as I had 15 years ago. As I'm on the wrong side of 50 now :p I reckon that's not too bad at all.

    Now where I see my PM REALLY helping is during my rehab after a nasty :eek: accident I had during a race finish (>60 kph to 0 kph in 2 seconds if you get my drift) that 'almost' left me a paraplegic.

    Using my PM in conjunction with my coach will enable us to track my progress back to full fitness in a quantifiable manner - using HR as a guide (when I finally get back on a bike) would, IMHO, be near to useless
     
  15. Alex Simmons

    Alex Simmons Member

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    Welcome back buddy.;)

    Making comebacks for general fitness is a great application for a power meter. Here's a reference example I wrote about a friend I coached after they had surgery to remove bowel cancer. I'm sure you'll make a great recovery and be enjoying good bike fitness before too long.
    http://alex-cycle.blogspot.com/2006/11/planning-comeback-with-performance.html

    http://alex-cycle.blogspot.com/2007/02/second-coming-back.html
     
  16. robkit

    robkit New Member

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    i had a polar before an srm and to be honest the lack of accuracy and real investment meant that i didnt take the whole power thing very seriously, i hadnt made the effort to study power specific workouts for example. result... no real improvement, power meter was just another metric.

    but on getting more serious i started to read about power specific workouts especially wrt intervals, even had a vo2 max test and made efforts to undertand the relation between vo2max, threshold power, etc. result... rapid improvement, noticably stronger (or should i say less death like) experiences in road races.

    conclusion...it was the different aproach to training that made the difference. but then you cant change that aproach without the tool itself, so i owe it to this equallly.

    and as to speed of improvement and this relative to others...well i find that if and when i get serious i can make significantly faster advances in form than they seem to on the kind of basic apreciation of training methods that i had a few seasons back.
     
  17. mises

    mises New Member

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    I've been through a number of significant detraining phases over the years and I can't say PMs have helped me reach a higher % of genetic potential than I did without one. What they have done is keep me from overdoing it when I very likely would have (and did) before and to get from point A to point B in somewhat less training time than without.

    However the 28 year old me with an HRM and an iron will would still kick my PM stylin 47 year old ass without breaking a sweat.
     
  18. donrhummy

    donrhummy New Member

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    Thanks! So...does that mean I can have your power meter? :D
     
  19. velomanct

    velomanct New Member

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    My powertap gave me the feedback I need to keep me motivated and to really see the gains I made. I did sell it however. I will buy another one, once I reach a certain goal of mine...which is quite a loftly goal, but something I believe is attainable. Once I hit that goal, the powermeter I will then get will show some real watts.
     
  20. rmur17

    rmur17 New Member

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