Training w/power for first time

Last year I trained with HR for the first time on the bike and found it insightful. Particularly it taught me how to recognize my zones (limits) without looking at a screen. This year I added training with power (via TR) and find it equally insightful. My HR is lower than expected on the workouts, and doesn’t have the correlation to power than I thought it would. I find the intended exertion level of the workouts the be very accurate. I use power measurement on my Kickr, so I haven’t recorded what I typically do on a ride yet. I suspect that my power is probably all over the place with big surges that get my HR up. I’m curious to hear what other people’s experiences are when they started training with power.

I found that on the road my power graphs look like a seismograph during an earthquake. I do live in hill country with very little flat land.
Heart rate zones were not very accurate in telling me the effort I was putting out. Slow to rise and slow to fall. There was no real middle ground.
On the trainer keeping within power zones was much easier.


How do your power graphs look on the road now that you’ve trained with power? Did the smooth out?

Started with HR in 2016 and it served me well. Quickly figured out that I blew up when spending more than 3-5 minutes at 165bpm. Then figured I could hold something like 155-160bpm for 20 minutes, then 30 minutes, then 40 minutes, and eventually worked my way up to 50 minutes. Also figured out I could do long 1-3 hour climbs in the mountains at around 135-145bpm, and somewhat easily finish centuries at that heart rate.

Added power I found power zones correlated really well with those heart rate zones (159-161 bpm is threshold heart rate, steady endurance/zone2 rides are 135-142 bpm, tempo/SS is 144-152 bpm, etc). However training in flatland, into headwinds, is a lot like doing long steady climbs where its easy to hold steady power and HR. No real surprises after adding power. Power simply made it easy to do shorter high power intervals. Before that all of my short power intervals were all-out because you can’t really train by HR on short intervals.

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When I was younger I trained by simply doing, I think the expression train like a Belgian is used; it got me strong but not the best sometimes. Training with power has just allowed me to be that wee bit smarter in my training.

On the road they are not smooth. Too many hills for me. Trainer is a better solution if I want to hit targets for longer than a few min.
Red is heart rate and yellow is power for the same ride outside

If you look me up on Strava (Trek century) you can see what rides look like on the Kickr
Much smoother.

You’re power may fluctuate more than you think inside, as some trainers do power smoothing.

I don’t do outside workouts, so my outside spins are generally unstructured, and power and HR reflect that and can be all over the shop. Even “flat” spins for me are too rolling to not have to work really hard to hold them steady. Too many kickers, if nothing else.

A lot of the time I use power and heart rate to confirm RPE, and/ or confirm I can hold what I’m doing on climbs or off the front (or back!) in a race.