So how do you go about this monitoring and review that I’ve discussed? There are critical elements within your training that can become markers and indicators that you should be monitoring.
- Testing – You should establish a certain route and use this as a way to gauge your power over time. It is a good way to get a base line. I like to find something under 10 minutes and flat that I can do a couple of repeated TT efforts. A similar climb is good as well. Not too steep (10% plus) though or it can be difficult to guage consistent power.
- Quadrant Analysis – This is a way to review how your energy system responds to different efforts. I have found this to be a great way to understand overtraining, etc.
- What you need to improve. Some riders have a strong 20 min. power, but have a hard time with shorter efforts. Reviewing your power in race or group ride events can help you understand what you lack as a rider and what you are able to do well. This is obviously important for training specifics and race strategy.
- Endurance – How many matches do you have to burn? Knowing what your capabilities are in a race can be important to know how to race.
- What is your TT power for different distances? This is the one area that have a power meter can make you faster. I seen in some riders that using a power meter during a TT can help them pace and have a better race.
- Progress during the season. What is coming along and what is lacking? Are you progressing? Power meters can give you definite answers on these items.
- Preseason training. Often when you are riding in the early season it is hard to gauge your efforts. I’ve slapped my power meter on in February and found out I was totally undertraining because my perceived efforts were not near what I needed to be doing to get in racing shape. HR monitors help a lot as well.
There are a ton more items to review, however these are a few of the critical pieces to track. One thing I am adamant about is not comparing your power to others. I have seen the same rider switch power meters and see a 10% power difference. I think it is hard to make sure these things are useful in person to person comparisons. Additionally, it isn’t important what other folks are doing for power. Focus on what you can control always as an athlete. You can control your weight, your training, your sleep, your preparation. So do your job and the rest will fall into place.