The technology to assist athletes in improving performance has gotten to a very advance state. The invention of heart rate based training monitored by the chest strap heart rate monitor seems so yesterday compared to the new optical heart rate offered by Garmin Fenix 3 HR, Garmin Forerunner 225 and so on. All upgrades can be made, having another latest innovation in our race gear inventory is good, but how many of them provide USEFUL data in our training. After all, data is useless if not interpreted into information for us to digest. Recently Garmin Malaysia in collaboration with team2ndskin provided Tri Stupe and I a set of Garmin Vector2s, a powermeter. Installation was brisk, simple and no mess. Plenty of video available on Youtube.
More than a month after training with powermeter, I told myself that I should have gotten it long time ago. To put it in a simpler word, cycling with a speed cadence sensor and heart rate monitor only tells me how hard was my heart pounding and how fast was I going. Somehow riding on an indoor trainer does not accurately translate the power out from my legs to the pedal. I would not know how hard I was pedaling. In most races, heart rate and speed is not enough to measure my effort. In windy and hilly condition, I would be riding slower. There are so many unmeasured parameters. By having a powermeter, all the data I can ever imagine is being transferred to my Garmin Forerunner 920xt providing all the necessary information.
The Data that I have in my Garmin Forerunner 920xt is :
Heart rate, avg heart rate, max heart rate, %HRR, training effect, time in zone, avg speed, max speed, avg power, cadence, avg bike cadence, max power, max avg power (20min), normalized power, Intensity factor, Training Stress Score, Functional Threshold Power, Calorie burn and many many more!
To start off with a power meter, learn this 3 things :
Functional Threshold Power :
Maximum power you can maintain while the body can still remove lactic acid. Similar to 1 hour time trial effort.
Field Test :
Achieved through a 15 minutes warm up, followed by 20 minutes of time trial. Resulted Power output is the Functional Threshold Power.
Training Stress Score :
TSS is a measurement of workload as a function of duration and intensity. The harder and the longer you ride, the higher the score.
#click this LINK for more reference. Training peaks did a great job in explaining! =)
To analyze yourself with another athlete:
Watt/Kg solves all the kiasu issue. Divide your wattage with your Weight in kilogram, let say my average power output is 178watt and my weight is 56kg. So my Watt/Kg = 3.18Watt/Kg. Another rider weighing 80kg is hammering the pedal with the power output of 200watt. So his Watt/Kg = 2.5Watt/Kg. So I would be faster on the road for having 3.18Watt/Kg compared to his 2.5 Watt/Kg. This is much more accurate than comparing average speed with other riders riding in other environment.
These are the very basic information gained from powermeter, the best ever investment made in cycling gears. The information given is a key to better understanding of training effort. Never too late to get one! This Garmin Vector 2s is upgrade-able to Garmin Vector 2 which measures power on both sides of the pedal! More information means better training quality=)