Power Meters for Ironman Triathlon
DIFFERENT TYPES OF POWER METERS.
The following are the power meters that have been tested by Team Ironmate. Power Tap, iBike Pro and SRM power meter.
ANYBODY. If you are serious about cycling then invest or at the very least borrow a bike fitted with a power meter and learn a lot more about how you cycle. Not just for the Elite but also for anyone who wants to be the best they can be.
BOOKS. Probably first and the only book written about getting the most from a cycle power meter is by Hunter Allen & Andrew Cogan, PhD called Training and racing with a power meter. By Velo Press. For more scientific detail Ironmate suggests you buy and read this book. It is easy book to understand and how to get the most from a power meter.
COMPARE. The power tool is a great for comparing past distances covered in a set time. Variables in power, cadence and heart rate average/maximum over week’s months and years.
CORRECT GEARS. Helps you teach you own individual strengths and weaknesses. If you over or under gear you will generate less watts. Learn quickly the best gearing to go faster.
FEEDBACK. Check to see what works best to be the most efficient gear and watts to climb a hill as an interval or during a sustained even paced ride or race. Cross-examine this with heart rate and time taken.
INFORMATION. A power tap measures the power speed and heart rate. Once you have established your limits then you will be better at racing and be more economical.
INTERPRETATION. Compare your results taking into consideration the training stress and your general health in the previous 4 weeks before jumping to conclusions. Training takes many weeks to show thru not the session you did 3 days ago. A hard recent workout or race can make you tired. If this did not show in your results maybe you would have performed better, this could be a sign that you are coping and absorbing the training.
INDIVIDUAL POWER. Also known as IP. Two riders can cover the same distance on similar bikes in exactly the same time but generate different watts based on efficiency average pacing and aerodynamics.
INTERVALS. Find out what are the best watts to produce for 10 hard reps. If you go too hard in the first 1-6 reps do you suffer and lose power later. Understand what works best for you. If short of time do less and harder intervals and see if you benefit from this type of training in your next race or test.
Athletes have asked for many years how many intervals do I need to and coaches have their own opinions. This will always depend on the time when your most important event is and what you are currently lacking to improve. A power meter will show you when to stop if you are not getting the desired effect for the purpose of improving. Expect your best watts to be in the 2nd or 3rd intervals although fresh in the first hard effort you may not be warmed up enough.
2-minute hard efforts for 2 minute interval efforts aim to keep within 8-10%. For example if you generate 275 watts and drop below 250 watts on consecutive intervals it would be time to stop. 5-minute hard efforts for 5 minute interval efforts aim to keep within 5-10%. For example if you generate 225 watts and drop below 200 watts on consecutive intervals it would be time to stop. 15-minute hard efforts for 15 minute interval efforts aim to keep within 3-6%. For example if you generate 200 watts and drop below 188 watts on consecutive intervals it would be time to stop
Understanding and learning from the data is vital to help you improve. It is no use spending a lot of money and time setting up a power meter. It is for sanity not vanity. As the saying goes use it or lose it.
Uses the information to tweak your training to help you better understand how to benefit from training and get the most out of yourself when racing. If you fail to eat or hydrate properly your power will decline.
Your calorie and fluid intake compared to power and heart rate as this will give you a good indication of why you feel weak or your heart rate is higher than it should be for a given watts generated.
Recording data will help you be able to analysis your individual performance to improve.
A power meter if used correctly will give you the best pace and ideal result. If you over watt during the bike section of a triathlon you will under perform during the run leg.
By using your information from the cycle power meter you will be able to achieve better performances and identify when your training is not helping you improve. If you increase the volume and your performance suffers then decides is it best to continue in your training routine to build endurance or risking injury or fatigue. Ask yourself will you recover in time for your important events?
PERSONNEL PERFORMANCE IN INDIVIDUAL EVENTS.
The winner is the one that produces the best watts for the race not the most watts during the race.
Set it to the shortest measure similar to a heart rate monitor (HRM) .For example a polar HRM can be set for 5-15-60 seconds. The longer the measure the longer the ability to record more data. It will also be far more accurate.
Ask yourself why you under performed? Did you work at too a high heart rate or power. Were you pushing too big a gear for the previous 5-10 minutes? This would have caused a problem later.
This is when you allow yourself the active recovery to improve economy and efficiency of movement. Use the power meter to keep your watts lower than normal for the harder work to follow in the upcoming days.
The more you use a power monitor the better understanding you will have personally of what watts to generate for a given session, training racing and how much you need to save to get you to the finish in the quickest time possible.
From your own personnel tests you will be able to work out a training plan. If you ride at 250 watts for 30 minutes and 225 for 60 minutes you will need to improve your threshold power to maintain the 30 minutes of effort for longer.
Learn from the power meter where your weaknesses. Do you lack that final absolute power to win a sprint? How about you is even pace power climbing a hill do you put too much effort early on only to fade? How about keeping an even hard effort rather than easing back only to build up the pressure again. Please log on again for more updates coming shortly.