Doing outdoor workouts by average power vs normalized power?

I am doing the traditional base, high volume plan and I am finding it very difficult to do the outdoor workouts according to average power alone because, living in Washington D.C., it is almost impossible to ride for over two hours without having to descend, slow down, or stop. I have been finding that normalized power seems to be the more helpful metric to look at during the workout but I am wondering if there is a downside to focussing on NP for these long endurance rides rather than average power?



Or, set your Garmin to :30 avg power and just stay within your zones while pedalling. Trying to hit avg power with lots of stops and starts – or in other locations, uphills and downhills – will result in you riding a lot of tempo intervals, which would not exactly be the goal of those endurance base rides.

Are you talking about what to use during the workout or after for analysis?

If during, I think you want a decent smoothing Average Power and just aim for the target the best you can in the interval.

If after, I think you need to look at both and also include Variability Index, which is NP / AP. For something like a long endurance ride, I think you want to keep the VI low and around 1.05 or less.

Too much more than that and you are introduction potentially higher and/or lower stress than the target power. The goal is to pace this reasonably “flat” and minimize peaks. This all goes to one of the sacrifices we make when we take structured work outside. It’s more difficult to “nail” the workout targets.

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Bumping an old thread to add a small question here. I believe I read somewhere in the forum that for small outdoor VO2max inteevals (ex Taylor) it is better to look at NP rather than LAP AVG POWER or even 3SEC AVG. Can anyone confirm this?