Power Profile Questions

As the outside season is coming to a close for us in the northern hemisphere, I’m looking back at my season and thinking about what type of training to focus on next. I’ve been looking at my power curve in Personal Records and entering them in a power profiling app based on Coggan/Allen’s power profile assessment. I’m actually quite surprised that my 5 min power is relatively high compared to my 1 min and 5 sec power. I always thought I had a pretty good “snap” as I love the occasional sprint to the city limit sign at the end of a group ride. On Strava my times for short segments, for example under 1 minute, are usually not that bad comparatively. But numbers don’t lie.

I have a few questions and would love to hear some thoughts or even see some power profiles from other riders.

  1. Is it relatively normal to see a power profile like this for non racer, “just for fun” cyclists?

  2. Does it make sense that a higher 5 min power is a result from group / club rides and typical “Strava segment chasing”

  3. Is it worth taking a real max power test and will I see better results or can I assume the power curve has got my best numbers for the season?

  4. Can I expect to see 5 sec and 1 min power go up with targeted training or could this be my muscle fiber type / genetic limits?

  5. Will increasing 5 sec and 1 min power make me a better “all-rounder” cyclist and hence add more fun factor to my riding?

  6. If I’m considering entering a few local crits next year, will I need a better 5sec / 1 min power to compete?

To clarify, my 20 min power is from a very recent 20 min outside effort on a group ride (4.0 W/kg*0.95 = FTP 3.8W/kg)
My 1 minute power (7.3W/kg) and 5 min power (5.0W/kg) is from a group ride about 8 weeks ago
My 5 second power (14.5W/kg) is from a group ride where I “won” a sprint to a city limit sign :laughing:

  1. Everyone has a unique profile, no matter what your level.
  2. Not really, it depends on what areas you’ve been working on.
  3. No harm in testing various areas of your Power Profile. It gives you a good baseline for areas to work on or comparing your numbers in the months / years to come after training.
  4. Yes
  5. No
  6. Depending on the course, yes, but you have to be in the right place at the right time, tactics play a big part.

Ultimately don’t over think it. Following a good training plan will bring gains in fitness. The numbers are only a small part, for example, sprinting at the end of the ride is a lot different than at the beginning as fatigue plays a huge part.

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@tomblack, I found my self in the same spot with the same questions and stumbled upon your post via the search function. Great job with the questions!!

Did you change up any of your training to account for your then current profile? If so did you notice any benefits?

I’m surprised more folks didn’t respond to this.

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Yeah it seems the consensus is that unless you are at your genetic limit, just focus on raising FTP, and the rest will follow. Which from a overall training standpoint makes perfect sense if your goal is to reach your genetic potential.
I personally feel that you can still benefit from targeting specific power profile goals, especially if you recognize certain weaknesses.
There may be many reasons why you will never reach your genetic limit - you might not have the time or even want to.
You can still be competitive at 4W/kg, when the playing field might be relatively equal. Then winning or losing might come down to the other guy has a better 1 min power. Or perhaps beat you on the line (even if it’s the city limit sign :rofl:) because he has a better 5 second kick.
So what I found was that basically you get better at what you do the most. And if you never train sprints, you won’t get better at sprinting. If you never test your 5 min power, you won’t know what it is, and how it compares to your competition. Knowledge is power!
I raised my 5 second and 1 minute power a bit this year. But I also did not really end up racing.

Anyhow, I think there’s a lot that could still be harnessed here from a training and marketing standpoint. I don’t know why there’s not much interest here.