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Scott D

Benefits of power testing

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Elsewhere on this group Mark Young has talked about the benefits of power testing.

 

I would just like to reiterate this comment, and if your serious about TTing or racing it could be very useful to measure your progress.

 

See here for my heartrate graph from a recent power test in a climate chamber at Glasgow Uni. Power stats available privately to curious club members on request 8-)

 

http://www.hometown.aol.com/scottfreema ... 050202.jpg

 

Look at that scary HR graph!!! Maxing out at 191bpm, but suffering in the 180s for what seemed ages.

 

The interesting thing for me has been an improvement of 21watts output, and a loss of 7 pounds in weight, over a 10 week period.

 

Measurement like this confirms that training is going well, and encourages me to keep going. Doesnt mean I'm any good of course.. just getting better

 

I recommend others consider taking Mark Young up on his offer for regular power testing.

 

Alternately you could use the Cateye CS-1000 in the clubroom for primitive testing. I used mine at home, and it suggested a 25 watts improvement. Totally inaccurate power meter of course, but useful as a simplistic marker of whether your progressing.

 

Scott

 

 

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Hi Scott

 

Good point on the Power Testing, I was totally ignorant to power testing, I just got the yearly test down the clubrooms and that was that, but recently i have invested in a Powertap power meter and link up with Cycling/training peaks software i am totally hooked, (That much, that i cant wait to download the info onto the computer after workout that i normally end up with a very wet computer) the info that is produced is still a bit over my head (which isn't really that hard) but the info is past to Mark and it then becomes a very valuable tool, he can then tell ,exactly how I am doing and what i need to do or not to do.The other good thing which i was told and didn't realise is that if you want to ride at level 1-2-3-4-5 then you have to wait until your pulse meter catches up (which normally takes about a minute) until you get to your desired heartrate but with power it is instant you bike the wattage and ride to that level straight away, which is handy if you are doing intervals.

 

The only Bad points that i have heard is, Power meters dont like the Scottish winter (But i use mine on the Turbo) and you cant really tell lies any more, you have now got a spy in the camp.

 

I use the Cateye CS1000 and the power difference is night and day, i thought that i was going well until you find out the truth, but you are right it should be used as a guide.

 

Cheers

Sean.

 

 

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As Scott D and Sean mention power is an excellent tool for training.

In the past some of our athletes at Elite Scottish level have had SRMs but were unable to make sense of the data for making training decisions. Nice graphs and figures but what the hell do they mean and what do we do with the data???

Now that power meters are more affordable (powertap ergomo and srm amateur) more cyclists are purchasing this equipment. This has meant the data has to be more easily understood. Some private companies have put together very neat software which addresses the knowledge gap between sports scientists and us slightly less intelligent Fifers ;-)

I use cyclingpeakssoftware for analysis of any files I get from my clients and NGB athletes. Sean Gray, Alan Brown Ken Thomson, Dave Smith and various others send me files which I enter into the software so that I get a great insight into their training. At a glance I can see mins, maxs, avgs, cumulative, current, last 28 days, single days, whole season and a gazillion other things which I use to help me understand the performance of each athlete.

A couple of real handy graphs are TSS(training stress score) IF(intensity factor) and NP(normalised power). By checking these three I can see volume, intensity and average power for every ride. Once I get cumulative data I can plot progress extremely acurrately.

The benefits for me and the athlete as you can imagine are quite far ranging especially when you use RPE.

Much like changing from a John Logie Baird original to a wide screen plasma :shock:

Anyone who has one or is interested in this medium post some questions and Sean can possibly give you and athletes perspective while I can give you my point of view

 

Mark

 

 

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I think a lot of cyclists have a funny psychology where they spend 1000s on equipment, but pretend the sport is free, so grudge paying 25 quid or so on a power test.

 

I would say if your serious about competing, to the extent that you get training guilt and sometimes miserable when your not doing well, then get power tested. Dont beat yourself up all the time because someone else is training more, or because you dont feel like training for a few days -- have a few tests, then plan an improvement programme, the numbers dont lie.

 

What I expected to see from these tests was an improvement in power output at the same pulse reading. In fact the pulse/ power output was almost identical (although this is complicated by the fatiguing effects of the climate chamber). What did change was my ability to maintain higher power outputs/ pulse readings for longer (inc. 11minutes averaging above 96% max hr). Which combined with weight loss means my power to weight ratio has gone up by above 8%.

 

So what good are these figures? Well the difference between a reasonable 3rd cat rider and a GP rider is about 50 sustainable watts. 1 minute off a 10TT is somewhere around 33watts (I think.. maybe someone else can comment here). With the numbers from regular power testing it becomes much easier to set SMART targets and monitor progress.

 

Scott

 

 

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"I think a lot of cyclists have a funny psychology where they spend 1000s on equipment, but pretend the sport is free, so grudge paying 25 quid or so on a power test."

 

THAT HAS TO BE A CLASSIC SCOTT !

 

:shock::!:;-)

 

 

S

 

 

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I received a note that the consistency of power / hr across tests indicated that my VO2 max hadn't changed. While my ability to maintain higher pulse levels for longer indicated my lactate threshold had increased.

 

The poster also suggested that the best way to affect my VO2 max was through maximum effort training (either max power or pulse interval training).

 

This is an interesting area, as improving VO2 max in a trained athlete is quite difficult to achieve. VO2 max is a bit like engine size -- if you have a big engine you can go faster for longer. Much of this is genetic. Most improvement in VO2 max seems to be in the first few years of hard training. For most of us with good fitness the biggest improvement is through increasing our lactate thresholds (typically through above threshold interval training), as our VO2 max doesnt really change from season to season.

 

I'll post results from future lab tests (probably april/ may time) hopefully showing that interval training has improved my hr / power relationship. Exciting stuff 8-)

 

Scott

 

 

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