New to indoor training-Is power meter worth it?

New guy who’s just started using TR here following one of the plans. I’ve never done any indoor stuff at all but I’ve now got a basic setup of HRM, speed/cadence and non smart Tacx rollers. I was thinking of getting a power meter crank but the cost is putting me off-£254 for one crank! As I live in Glasgow where the weather is crap most of the time I’m thinking of spending more time indoors to remove the weather beaten look from my face. I don’t race but do Audax event’s mostly doing 200km rides with the odd 300/400km thrown in. I would like to be a little faster and drop some weight to help with the climbing where I really struggle, 6ft & 90kg just now. I’ve no interest in a stationary trainer as I wouldn’t handle the boredom, prefer the rollers for training as it forces me to concentrate more. Would I benefit from adding the PM crank? Or just carry on with current setup?

Not sure if there’s a virtual power profile for those rollers. My first couple of years with TR were with a similar setup, Minoura trainer, to you. It’s not a problem, just not as easy as having a power meter. Make sure you have the same tyre pressure and resistance for every session.

If there’s no VP profile for your rollers then I think you’ll either need a power meter or some form of trainer.

I’d say that a power meter is worth it. Not only will it make your training more accurate; if weight loss is also a goal then having a power meter makes the calorie burn estimation of all rides more accurate also.

Obviously you know yourself better than anyone but I will just say that you wouldn’t be the first person to choose rollers because you think trainers would be too full only to change your mind later - so don’t rule one out. Johnathan from the podcast is a notable exception to this however.

Personally, I consider purchasing a power meter to be in the top 3 transformative bike-related purchases I have ever made. Does any one need a power meter, no. Do I think it is worth the investment, without a doubt, yes. And I think the benefits are the same, regardless of whether you race or not.

There are tons of benefits, but I see:

  • Pacing on flats and climbs
  • Calorie burn estimation
  • Tracking ‘training’ load and monitoring recovery
  • Tracking progression (FTP, 1/5/20min power, etc.)
  • Ability to compare current efforts to many months or years ago.
  • Specifically when compared to smart trainer or rollers, you’ll have the same power measurement inside and outside, so the efforts and metrics are directly comparable with a power meter.
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IMO, other than a smart trainer, a PM is the single best cycling purchase you can make for improving performance.

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After tonight’s session I think I’ll need to give it a try.

Every weekend there’s always some guy who blows past me at 500 watts and then craps out a minute or two later. These guys usually ride with no computer or power meter.

Can’t imagine it being an effective form of training.

Pacing with RPE is extremely difficult.

First, you need to decide what you want to do. Do you want to do structured training? Aka … intervals? If so then you need a way to measure power. You can do those intervals outside or on your rollers if your rollers has enough resistance.

If you don’t want to do structured training then a power meter will just be a nice gadget. You’ll also need a head unit that can record the data from the power meter.

I don’t think you’ll find a single person here who says a power meter isn’t worth it.

Even if you aren’t training they are great for pacing your rides according to your capability. This means you’ll be able to complete an Audax overall faster if you stay within an appropriate pacing plan.

£254 is cheap as far as power meters go. Plus you’re using rollers to train so you definitely benefit from some form of reliable data. HR/Cadence etc. Aren’t reliable metrics for training.

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