Brett Sutton recommends selling my powermeter

Has anyone else read this blog post from Brett Sutton?

I’d be interested in an discussion about his assumption.
I tend to agree with him, since the TR Swim and Run Workouts are only based on RPE and this works pretty fine for me.
Of course his arguments are not really applicable on TR in general. RPE based only structured training on the Trainer would be horrible.
But nevertheless needs the race winning fitness some experience on the road, because there are too many variables like elevation, the day’s form, temperature/humidity, etc. that make it hard to pace a race only by the powermeter.
I remember Coach Chad saying educated (by data) RPE is the most valuable data in racing.

Getting athletes to drop the data is going to be like getting my family and friends (and colleagues, and strangers, and randoms, and you, and…me) to drop staring at their phones every minute of the day.

If I were him I would embrace it. Coaches gotta make a livin too.

Ppl don’t actually race with power meters too, right? Train, sure. But race? <—- lame joke alert

If you are out racing or riding hard outside, and continuously checking your head unit for guidance, then I submit you are doing it wrong. As a self-coached average Joe, looking at data AFTER riding helps me calibrate my feelings / intuition.

Not selling anything.


+1 to this

I went on vacation this last week for spring break. Since my race is coming up, I didn’t want to do nothing for the week. I got 2 rides in to somewhat maintain some fitness. The first ride is on my back up tri bike on a trainer and the 2nd was on a Peleton stationary at a hotel. I didn’t have power for either and they were the worst rides I’ve done in years. I had no idea what I was doing. 5 min aerobic, 4 min moderate, 3 min hard, 3 min recovery. I did about 4-5 sets of those. But I’ve never felt that naked or lost in biking. I couldn’t tell since there was no fan at the hotel, if my moderate was 170W or 230W. It could have been anything. Was my hard 220 or 270? Most likely i was at the lower end of those ranges and had a crappier workout than what my RPE felt. Completely ridiculous to abondon pm during training. You can make arguments for racing but if a coach told me not to use a PM for training, I would find a different coach.



I am not either Alberto Contador or Peter Sagan but when I look my post ride data and see my Average Power above 200Watts, makes me feel like one of them.

Not selling anything :slight_smile:


I’m not advocating selling or keeping, to each their own.

But if after using TR for a Base cycle or especially a Base > Build > Specialty cycle and you still cannot gauge your effort by RPE, then I suggest you pay more attention to what you are doing and how you are feeling during a workout.

As for racing and/or group rides, you are either with the group or off the back. While it’s nice to look down at your head unit and see some data on occasion, it is not going to help you at all. The data you collect from a race (i.e., HR, power, cadence) is best used for post ride analysis.

As for doing a TT, I am of mixed opinion here. I have had it go both ways. Let me explain. You know what kind of power you can/want to do. You take off and get to power. Yet, your HR and RPE are screaming that the power is unsustainable. What are you going to do? Continue and blow up or continue and hope that your HR and RPE are lying to you? On the flip side, you take off and it feels so easy. You look down and everything is as it should be. Do you push harder or go w/the plan?

I also believe that sometimes seeing the numbers can become a self-limiter. You see X watts and think “holy s@%$! this is too much” Had you not seen the wattage, you might have pushed yourself to a new level or found a new limit.


Think the fact that a convicted sex offender still has a voice in sport is a sad indictment on how how morales can be forgotten if it means winning.


I totally agree but how can you measure your performance in a race to your performance during a workout? You should havedata to compare this 2 each other and thats where powermeter comes into the game.

This is exactly again where your power is kicking in. If you know your sustainable power, your HR should not be crying.


Because his past crimes and immoral behaviour have all the relevance in the world to his knowledge and application of coaching in triathlon… /sigh


True - and the same thing happens when running, on the road or the track. You get a really good feel of where you are, pace-wise as well as HR- wise, so I assume power-wise too on a bike. But you still refer to it, as a double-check, such as making sure you don’t get carried away in the opening kms of a half- marathon.

So there’s a difference between “I need it less” and “I don’t need it”.

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Doesn’t make a difference to Harvey Weinstein’s ability to produce movies but a least the women in the movie industry stood up and said no. I don’t like the thought that a paedophile gets to work within the sport. Can’t think that this would be happening in football.


Harvey Weinstein is another topic. Whether this happens in football is another topic. These are completely irrelevant to the discussion of whether a power meter is a necessary piece of equipment to train at a high level.

It doesn’t matter one bit that Brett Sutton has been convicted of sex crimes. This doesn’t have any impact whatsoever on his application of knowledge to coaching in triathlon and the unorthodox perspective he has brought to the sport. We’re not here judging his moral character. We’re here to consider if his opinion (supported by vast experience and respected expertise) is something to consider.

I can tell you don’t LIKE the idea of Brett Sutton being part of a sport. But it’s irrelevant. Michael Jackson’s music and dancing will still be considered genius regardless of the HBO documentary as of late. One does not define the other.

Soooo…back to power meters and RPE and training, shall we!? :slight_smile:


You can train with RPE alone. That doesn’t mean you always should.

Having less data is never better, it doesn’t make any sense to try and claim that it is.

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Let’s keep this on topic, please.

I’d rather not have to start sending PM’s and/or deleting posts.

Cycling focus within the context of topic of this thread is appropriate.


I start riding in 1994 using HR as the main training and racing data. Around 2016 I finally bought a power meter and, my God, I could not believe how badly I was riding before.
My training became focused and much more effective and my racing and group riding got a huge upgrade specially in the last 30% of the ride.
Now I think I can survive just using RPE but having it in combo with power and some gauging at HR is the best approach for me.
So this statement from BS is just another tipycall “look how great, different and special I am” coming from someone who carries the frustration of never ever being able to be fully accepted in the general sociological ecosystem due to the stigma he carrys.
I am not saying he is not a real deal. I admire him as a coach. Not at all as a person.
Ironman female racing has became a neck to neck 9 hours struggle in which taking risks is part of the game so none is now able to do their one race within their own numbers. In short course the bike is all about staying or catching the group. RPE is the go-to self assessment tool in both cases.
However, for us mere mortals, this statement about power meters for me is another usual case of BS coming from BS.

Some people dont embrace new information. Now I am likely old to a lot of you but my early days of following Sabermetrics in the late 70s was this data was telling us to do things that coaches wouldnt want to do. Why did it take so long for baseball coaches etc to embrace the data? People dont like change. Data in baseball continues to impact the game with fielding shifts etc. Go further and Hockey i is in the infancy of new data. It has its supporters and nay sayers. Some dont understand data helps in some fashion. Data doesnt drive performance but it can help assess how we should do something.

Back to cycling.

So from a data viewpoint…data is good. Is it useful data…we have to learn to use the data in the proper format. Data from a training perspective and using trainerroad is great. You can see what training programs work and how to adjust rides to help many people. Will there still be adjustments…of course.
Just because you have data doesnt mean you have the answer.

The next step is to take the data and use it when you ride. As others have said

We just need to learn how to use it.

My simple 2 cents

Train with Power
Race to RPE and glance at power to confirm effort


I strongly disagree with that idea for TT or solo efforts (when drafting is no factor).
Fact 1: power variability induces faster fatigue
Fact 2: RPE is fatigue sensitive

So either the rider is so experienced and efficient in following an RPE curve that keeps the output stable enough (and I know people like that) or she or he will always be better paced by using power.


Two words: Team Sky…