Recording Power / Cadence with or without Zero? (Outdoor)


I’m wondering about the optimal setting for recording my rides. My Garmin headunit allows me to record both datapoints either with or without zeros. From my understanding this does heavily impact (lower when recording with) the average values for both (cadence and power) as I guess averages are calculated over all datapoints available.
This leaves me with several questions:

What about Normalized Power and therefore IF? Do both get skewed or does the “normalization part” takes cares of this?

Are the values only skewed when displayed in the headunit? What I mean is, are those values (average/NP/etc) all recalculated from scratch by TR and if so: how - taking the zeros into accout ?

Any infos for garmin connect on that matter? I’d expect them to just display the stats of the fit file delivered by the headunit.

So thinking about this, I’d go without the zeros. Is there a case where I want to record data with zeros?


I would always record all of the zeros so that your power curve doesn’t get skewed towards over estimating your abilities.

Imaging a scenario where you’re doing intervals at 110% of FTP, say 8 minutes on 3 minutes off and resting completely between work bouts with zeros not recorded. If you did 5 of these that would show up as an average power of 110% FTP for 40 minutes, when the reality is that you only averaged 84% of FTP for 52 minutes.

Normalized power get affected on the same basis.

I’m pretty sure TR doesn’t add zeros back when they calculate the metrics and they’ve state on the podcast that you should always have zeros recorded.

It’s also recommended not to use smart recording.


Include zeros for power, and exclude for cadence. That keeps power ‘honest’, and you get a real idea what your cadence is. Else, periods of coasting would bring down avg cadence.

I’ll do that. Thanks for the explanation!