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PostPosted: Sun Nov 13, 2011 10:12 pm 
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I am always a bit puzzled by those who buy a power meter and seem to either not understand how to use them or have misconceptions of their utilisation. I am even more confused by those that get a power meter and then eschew it's use for a HR monitor. That is not to say one cannot train well without a PM but anyone who has one and finds it utilisation of no use for training has really not understood how to use it.

I laugh when I hear that "pro X" has "given up" training with power. Testimony that even the best can improve in spite of their training methodology and not because of it.


As for training at or near lactate threshold... there is a time and place for this training. A reason why constant testing is essential. As for being the "most effective" this would need further clarification. There is more than one way to "skin the FTP cat" and this will largely come down to the specifics of the events you are training for. Know the demands of the event is yet another benefit of the power meter.

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Posted: Sun Nov 13, 2011 10:12 pm 


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PostPosted: Mon Nov 14, 2011 1:39 am 
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Tapeworm your puzzlement is not adding to the discussion. What is wrong with questioning a widely held believe. I perfectly understand the conventional wisdom of training with power. Training with power is not a hard concept to understand, I am questioning the premise. If no one ever questioned anything we would still be riding in the little ring for the first two months of the year. I am looking for the science that proves that power at LT is a constant. All of the training with power theories depend on that constant. If the constant is not valid then the methodologies needs to be questioned. Point me to the research. Or maybe the whole idea of LT is less clear, maybe we talking more art than science.


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PostPosted: Mon Nov 14, 2011 2:19 am 
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Power at lactate threshold is not a constant, by definition.

I am sorry if my puzzlement is not adding to thread but if you can extrapolate as what is not understood then I can attempt to explain it

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PostPosted: Mon Nov 14, 2011 3:48 am 
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A powermeter tells you how much cheese cake you can have at the end of a ride.
Ride further & harder = more cheesecake ...... training 101 folks! :D


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PostPosted: Mon Nov 14, 2011 4:35 am 
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+1 with LT not being at all constant. One of the principal purposes of training with a PowerMeter is for the rider to be able to identify the point at which that is occuring and to design a programme of intervals and rest that will allow the body to adapt to pwerforming at a higher level.

I also agree with you, Calnago. For may of us, our World Tour dreams live on only in our friends who had the talent and the balls to truly go 'all-in'. The rest of us, though, can still benefit from the trickle-down of the knowledge and the technology. At least that way we can still hang-on like grim death to the wheels of the Cat. 1's...


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PostPosted: Mon Nov 14, 2011 5:52 am 
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Excellent. So I can keep my power meter and eat my cheesecake too. That's all I really wanted to hear :).

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PostPosted: Wed Nov 16, 2011 5:25 pm 
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There is a ton of information missing here in reference to the OP-

Did your volume/intensity decrease, increase, etc. during the year that you had the PM and used the PMC?

What was your general structure like? Did you program in rest? Did you alter your training in any way from before using a PM? If so, how did you actually structure your rest?

In addition, how did the content of your rides change? How did you program in different intervals or plan your training.

Most people buy a PM and then only use it as a video game- to see pretty numbers for a given duration. Of the people I know with a PM very few actually sit down and write out a specific program and follow it throughout the season or do anything different from what they did before. They cease to improve, or improve at an different rate and then base their opinion of training with power on how big of a role the PM played in their success and failure.

For me the PMC is only useful during certain periods of time:

Start of the season to make sure I ramp into training properly.

During pre-programmed rest weeks to see how much a block overloaded me and how well I am recovering compared to previous blocks at different CTL and with different loading schemes and structures.

During race periods to get an accurate idea of how much I am doing on race weekends so that I don't overestimate the actual demands of my races and lose fitness too fast by doing too little total work.

To look back at the end of the season and find correlations for power bests, illness, good periods, bad periods, etc.

Using it on a daily basis won't create some magic balance of fitness and freshness- I tried to use it like this and had disastrous results.

Golden Cheetah's PMC is terrible IMO and their TSS metric calculation routinely gives inaccurate numbers. After loading one of my client's info into Training Peaks and WKO his PMC was drastically different in almost every regard.

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PostPosted: Wed Nov 16, 2011 9:04 pm 
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@KWalker I have found similar in regards to performance manger however as mentioned I don't like either really. The reason being is that performance managers doesn't take in account individuals' ability to recover/not recover not to mention it cannot track mental or mood fatigue, both of which I consider to be more important. But as you say looking back at data is still highly useful when reviewing a season.

And totally agree about the "video game" analogy.

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PostPosted: Wed Nov 16, 2011 9:42 pm 
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KWalker I hear your point on PMC. I think the feeling I was getting from coaches and people that were using power was that a rising CTL was very important. I was definitely micromanaging my training based upon stress balance and CTL. Hear are my observation between Golden Cheetah and WKO+. Normalized power was always higher than any of the metrics in GC the more variable the ride was. So races tended to be 20 to 30 watts more in WKO+. I have a bike path that I use for intervals that is about 45min long one way with no cross streets. The metric between the two programs on the path were almost the same. I was using the intensity factor in hour long crits to set threshold in WKO+ but the zones that were derived from WKO+ tended to be too difficult to maintain for the duration associated with that zone. The zones that GC came up with using critical power seemed to match more closely with I was able to do. The interesting thing is that even though CTL levels were different between the programs, the plus or minus of stress balance were never very different. I made improvements through the year, but did I make more of an improvement with the powermeter I don't know. After 20+ years, the improvements probably are smaller and harder to make. Thanks for the input.


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PostPosted: Wed Nov 16, 2011 10:00 pm 
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TW- The PMC actually can account for that, but only if you have a significant trial period in which you do not micromanage. By programming a specific block and taking note of daily microresponses to training you can generally figure out some basic response patterns for an athlete, but it takes time to establish these trends. I once had a coach say that it generally takes one macrocycle at the very least, sometimes more. I have been able to determine some very general guidelines, assuming constant life factors (diet, sleep, etc.) that I can maintain regardless as well as tipping points for different amounts of life factors. You could have the testosterone of a field or be juiced to the gills- taking notes over time can create a quantitative correlation. I myself score every single ride by freshness and fitness (perceived) as well as color code workouts depending on general feel (great, good, moderate, bad, terrible) and note any oddities in terms of life factors.

JimV- Do not try and micromanage and see how it goes. Create a very basic program and try it out for a while and make notes along the way. Test often and see what the data tells you after all is said and done and use that to make future programs smarter. The coaches you are referring to are correct in a vague sense- ramping up CTL generally helps to create adaptations, fatigue, fitness, etc. and the general CTL trends are always similar, however, for you to know what works for you you will have to use a trial and error process to find your own ranges. It took 8 months to figure out that I race best with an ATL of at least 90, a CTL of 85-95, and a TSB of -15 to +10. I also figured out that ramp rates matter a lot less later on in my season and during a race period where my focus turns to the specificity of my race prep workouts and how I recover in between bouts of high exertion/racing.

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PostPosted: Thu Nov 17, 2011 1:30 pm 
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Just my opinion
Said it before and I'll say it again. PM is a great tool. It can be useful for coaches and new riders but even old dogs. It is a good way to introduce structured training and help identify specific areas of concern.
That said we are all different. Some are motivated by numbers some don't really care and some find it leads to overtraining and just plain rider burn out. This is not the fault of the power meter but how it is used and the phycology of the person using it. A power meter is not required to reach our genetic potential, it can help but thats all.
A power meter is not a replacement for a coach. Coaches (good ones anyway) know things like body mechanics and race strategy etc. They can see if your frustrated (power meter....not so much)
A power meter does not tell you to back off when your knees are hurting. Again this is not the power meters fault but what people falsely expect a power meter to do. You can not abdicate responsibility to a tool!
IMO a power meter at best should be one of many approaches. A good coach, listening to ones body, in short a holistic approach is best. A stopwatch if used correctly can be a good tool as can a heart rate monitor or whatever. It's the guy behind the tool that is really most important.
FYI I no longer train with a power meter. Frankly I'm pretty well "calibrated" these days but who knows what the future will bring. I'm happy with my training and it shows results for me.
If you want to use a PM or not that is a personal choice. You are the best judge.
just my opinion

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PostPosted: Sat Nov 19, 2011 4:35 pm 
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KWalker wrote:
Golden Cheetah's PMC is terrible IMO and their TSS metric calculation routinely gives inaccurate numbers. After loading one of my client's info into Training Peaks and WKO his PMC was drastically different in almost every regard.


GC doesn't have TSS, unless you have been using V3. Areyou comparing Skiba with Coggan metrics here?

WRT Accuracy, you might want to check you have set the athlete's FTP history correctly, if you didn't then there is no way the two will agree. GC's PMC has been reviewed and checked many times against many files and is not inaccurate. I suspect the issue here was between seat and keyboard.

The only other source of discrepancies are the way WKO+ smooths gaps in recording and stops. GC will always treat gaps as zero effort. WKO+ tends to assume you carried on. Either approach has pros and cons.


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PostPosted: Mon Dec 05, 2011 3:45 pm 
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This is all very interesting, I've learned that Power is an important metric - it measures power accurately. But it's not the whole story. For example last month the kids were ill, I travelled a lot and pulled a few all-nighters at work. And so I felt awful and cut most rides in half or didn't do them because I needed to sleep instead. So bottom line the PM is just another tool and no substitute for a holistic training diary. Or you could buy one of those sleep gadgets and add that data to your data overload...

I'm personally tempted to get a PM, but more as an objective calibration tool than anything else, as I find that I rarely ride exactly the same routes at the same intensity, so it would be nice to see progress / regression. But I expect I know the answer already - if I put the hours and intensity in and eat fewer meals in restaurants and stay fewer nights in hotels then I go faster.


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