Neuff Red Ambassador Coach Joe Beer has been working with power for decades, tracking scientific development as power training has evolved.
Tips for Using Power Measurement in Your Training
Here are Joe's top tips to getting started with using power measurement in your training:
1. Ignorance is bliss in power training
Ignore all the power numbers you have ever heard. Your data must be based on your ability to run an actual effort, not “in an ideal next-life world”. We all have limited watts, we must make the most of them and not be comparing all the time and trying to do someone else's workouts.
2. Flow, don't force your power
Try to watch the data, but flow with the season you are in. Right now it’s not about pushing up your FTP, smashing speed work or trying to find some magical gain of power. Be efficient, be only a few kilos over your ideal race weight and be consistent with about 50-60% of the run volume you would do as you build in late winter/spring.
3. Benchmark power training
Take time to see where you are. It's simple. It's Zone 1. It counts as training. It’s not about ego. And it’s free.
4. Ups and downs in training with power
Expect to not see upward improvement all the time. I usually see a lift in aerobic fitness, feisty mojo to want to train hard, and full control of heart rate building throughout winter, but these elements are most visible in February, not sooner.
5. Valentine meets Eureka
Expect the real gains to come when you get mid-February. Be patient now. It's then we can see really the benefit of all your solid winter sessions.
6. Be super organised in training and life
You can't rush into massive miles or high-intensity get-fast-now mode. Instead, get your brownie points, sort your admin, organise your workout areas around the house, or spring clean your memberships at clubs and gyms. Also take time to get any race kit slowly sorted so you are race ready way before the season “should” arrive in 2021.
7. Read it twice
Many say they just read the stuff I write. Few read it and actually make changes or take the time to think how they can tweak what they do. Read 1 to 6 all over again and now make some changes.
And if you do all the above? Read on to find out what benefits you can expect.
Four Benefits Of Power Training in Triathlon
1. Work done
At rest you use around 60 calories per hour or about 15 watts. It is a bit more if you do light activities, but you rarely do much more during non-training activities. So, if your Stryd foot pod measures you doing a 'plod' at 150 watts, or a Rotor INspider says your indoor base ride is 'only' taking 175 watts, well that's over 10 times more work (or oxygen used). You're working enough to make base fitness changes.
2. Hills mean watts
In the real world as you climb you make a lot more watts appear on the screen you are glancing at. When you know work is going up, and you may need to regulate it soon or HR will rocket – then it keeps you from agonizing at the drop in speed or someone running away from you.
3. Starting easier
Its the worst start to a session to go too hard and force massive changes in blood flow, joint stresses and psychological input. Instead transition slowly from real life into an exercise world with a gradual warm up. Walk, jog, easy run, then run. As you see power slowly rise, all systems are getting ready for the core of the session. Enjoy the warm up, it's there for a purpose.
4. Race pace patience
There's nothing worse for a coach than athletes trying to work at race pace too often. Aerobic work makes you faster not dipping into race power every session. More training at race power in winter does not increase your race power. Cruise: we are off-season.