In group training, is power irrelevant ?

Discussion in 'Power Training' started by MikeHains, Mar 7, 2005.

  1. MikeHains

    MikeHains New Member

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    Consider this:
    • I train with a coach, in a group, 4-5 times a week.
    • Each person trains at a different level (our coach directs who rides at front, creates subgroups for pacelines, sets hill rides, etc).
    • Groups suit me well for many reasons - including safety, company, motivation ... and fun.
    The training is working well, and I'm seeing strong improvements. Still, I am keen to get every edge I can - and want to maximise my performance.

    Training with power seems like a great idea, but when training with a group it is not possible (for example) to train for long periods "in a power band". I don't want to ride by myself.

    It seems that power figures would be interesting, but aren't much actual use with group training like this.

    Am I right ?
     
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  2. ric_stern/RST

    ric_stern/RST New Member

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    I guess your question could be a bit like asking: is the data from a road race or any bunched race of any use? It is.

    i don't see why you can't use a power meter and be in a group especially as you have to do your own thing at specific times (as directed by your coach).

    ric
     
  3. acoggan

    acoggan Member

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    In a more general sense, I think the biggest misconception about the use of a powermeter in training is that the purpose or benefit arises from training by power, i.e., using the power data to adjust your effort to stay w/in some particular level or zone. In reality, the major benefits come from training (and racing) with power/a powermeter - in particular, from the information that you obtain and then subsequently act upon. Indeed, I'd go so far as to say that if all you ever use a powermeter for is to modulate your effort during a workout then you're getting but 1/10th of the benefit that you otherwise might.
     
  4. jws

    jws New Member

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    I would add that it seems some people think in terms of micro-managing instantaneous power output. In reality, they should be looking at power over longer intervals of time.

    For example, one might see a power file in which power varies wildly and consider it useless information. In reality, your ability to apply power is firmly based on your physiology which doesn't change quickly. Using average power and Andy Coggan's Normalized Power, one can really learn much about racing and training sessions.
     
  5. MikeHains

    MikeHains New Member

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    Thank you for your comments.

    I appreciate your help, and now know what I'll do (a Powertap Pro SL is on the way).

    Thanks again.
     
  6. gonzalovilaseca

    gonzalovilaseca New Member

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    I don't really understand what you mean here (sorry but english is not my first language).
    So you mean that if I use a powermeter to test myself, determine zones accordingly, and use it to tune the intensity of the inteval and endurance days, Im only getting 1/10th of the benefit?
    Could you please explain further the differences between training by power and training with power?
    Thanks.
     
  7. acoggan

    acoggan Member

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    Yes, that is exactly what I meant (see more below).

    Some people might consider the difference to simply be a semantic one. However, I like to differentiate between training by power and training with power because it helps make the point above. Specifically, I would call what you have described above as training by power: you're using the data provided by your powermeter to adjust your effort up or down during a particular training session, analogous to the way people typically use HR monitors. There is some benefit to this, e.g., having the power data available in real time helps you to not go too hard on your easy days, and encourages you to go as hard as you should on your hard days (sometimes I refer to powermeters as "guiltometers"...you can't lolly-gag when you've got an electronic big brother watching over your every pedal stroke, and if you do, you feel guily about it!). The truth is, however, that there's no particular magic to training at some specific intensity, and with just a bit of experience you can titrate your effort to where it should be in the context of your overall training plan - consequently, training by power (vs., e.g., perceived exertion) isn't as beneficial as many tend to believe. Furthermore, what matters the most is the "macrostructure" of your training plan (e.g., how many endurance days, what sorts of intervals you do, etc.), not the "microstructure" (i.e., how you execute particular workouts). Thus, I view the true benefit to owning a powermeter to be the result of training (and racing) with power...that is, constantly analyzing your performance and evaluating your training relative to your goals, so that you can make appropriate changes to your training program down the road. Or, as Hunter Allen likes to put it, using a powermeter is about change: changing your training based on what you learn, so that you get better (and if you're unwilling to change and are simply going to keep doing things the way you've always done them, the powermeter just becomes a very expensive toy). This approach is completely different than the way people are used to using HR monitors, for the simple reason that HR alone says little or nothing about your performance ability.
     
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