New Power Meter - Advice for Training and Racing

I’ve just got a power meter and looking for some advice on how to get the best out of it.

The vast majority of my training to this point has been on a Tacx Vortex smart trainer, mostly in Erg mode. I’ve done a ramp test this morning using the power meter (Assioma Duo) with power match and found a 51 Watt (16%!) difference between my last test (only 3 weeks ago) and today’s effort, based on some outside rides based on RPE/HR and some playing with best bike split I did expect that the Vortex was over reading on power. I haven’t seen anyone else reviewing with than much discrepancy but I’m begrudgingly accepting it as more realistic.

I’ve got my first half distance triathlon in 8 weeks, does anyone have any top tips on how to get used to riding with a power meter outside:

  • Recommendations on how to set up the head unit display (3s power? 5s power? average?)

  • Best use for gearing for steady power and avoiding power spikes

  • How best to pace using power - the race is Outlaw X and the profile looks rolling with some short climbs

  • Would you recommend using best bike split (or other?) for a pacing plan?

  • Pacing out of corners/after a climb - do you get up to target power and then hold or get up to speed and then settle to power?

I’m very much a novice when it comes to riding outside, any tips and suggestions appreciated. I’ve got a few endurance and tempo rides planned as outside workouts in the next couple of months to get more used to being on the road.

Thanks in advance!

John

I used NP as one of my 3 data screens when I did 70.3 CDA a couple years back and used BBS to predict my finishing time. I rode based on the NP and was only 3 minutes off what it predicted.

Power spikes happen but just be consistent with what you want. Most important do some outdoor TR workouts based on power to get used to it. If you have a Garmin make sure the ftp is updated in your profile.

Practice riding in aero and have fun and enjoy the riding.

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Absolutely read “Training and Racing with a Power Meter” by Dr Coggin.

Then you should probably read some of Joe Friel’s books, not least of which “The Power Meter Handbook”.

These guys LITERALLY wrote the book on the methods in use around the sport.

I started with Joe myself, DR Coggin is DEEEEP knowledge, but valuable once have the basics down.

Obviously @chad references these all the time.

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Do you have current power (3second?) on the screen with NP as well?

Although I’ve done a lot of training for the race, pretty much all of it is indoors, I would say my bike handling skills are ummm… novice at best. I don’t want to be caught up in watching the screen but also everything I’ve done to this point has been done on power so I equally don’t want to mess up the race.

Thanks!

Thanks Dave, I’ll have a look

The Vortex is known to read high, I’ve seen many many instances of people reporting this. Mine used to overread by 20%

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For TR outdoor workouts my screen is setup like below on my 530. In action and not so you can see differences. Others like a different view. Some of these data screens are in the indoor data screen section. I do flip back to the garmin one to see how much left in the interval but you can always replace TSS or NP if you wanted.

During my 70.3 I had HR, distance and NP.

My head unit display includes 3 second average power, and normalized power. The best use for gearing for steady power depends on the terrain, and the more you ride outside with a powermeter and with a group, you will become efficient at terrain management.

I personally find it difficult to maintain steady power on a rolling terrain when the gradient goes below -5%. You need to find a power range (for eg. 250W-270W), and make sure your average power is within that range (just like how trainerroad outside workouts are!). When it comes to pacing after a climb, this goes back to what is coming after the climb? if it is a flat road, then I would just continue to maintain the power within the target rang, and on a downhill, I would still try to maintain the target power within the range. If I am going too fast (~50km/h or more), then I would coast, and that would only happen when the gradient is too steep such as -10%.

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I guess you didn’t see the topic I started. My Tacx Vortex also reads 50 watts high at threshold. Oh well. I’ve come to terms with the blow to the ego. :slight_smile:

I’ve played around with many many screen combinations. I’d personally recommend just 3 metrics on your race screen.

It’s very important to learn the feel etc and ogling your power meter non stop is not really the best solution. A glance every 30s or so to confirm your rate of perceived effort is the go.

I have 3s power, 30s power and heart rate.

Very clean, very quick to get a reference on nearly everything you need to know.

The 3s is the now, to help with immediate pacing.

The 30s is the trend and superb for pacing climbs, short efforts etc.

Finally, Heart Rate is what’s ‘actually’ going on. It’s your own internal metric.

Many longer efforts are best paced off HR or at the very least including HR in your thought process.

Knowing the two physiological turn points of your body make using HR incredibly useful. Your aerobic threshold and anaerobic threshold heart rates are vastly underated metrics.

Basically, your Z2 fat max HR and your MLSS (threshold, FTP) heart rate.

This allows you to see how your body is reacting to the effort. Obviously, your HR can be affected by many factors. However, with consistent training and paying attention to it, you’ll definitely be able to use it to inform your pacing choices.

Give it a go.

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I’ve had a play around and I’ve found that if I’m in the small ring the power match is much closer, although I found early on that being in the small ring at anything over 200W really doesn’t work on the Vortex, even with the tire on as tight as calibration allows it it either starts to slip or the erg doesn’t keep up and power gets out of control. I knew it was over-reading I just hoped it wasn’t going to be that big of a hit!

Thanks, looks clean!

I don’t race but 100% agree with how beneficial HR pacing can be. It’s the metric I pay most attention to on my outdoor rides.

The 30s power data makes a lot of sense too, I’ll be using that myself in future. thanks