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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I was hoping to inquire about some starting points for training with power. I've just gotten and installed my new Garmin Vector 2 pedals and have been out on about 3 rides thus far.

I'm noting that the short rides, where I'm pushing myself over climbs and sprints are tracking power quite well. The one long-ish ride I just did (60 miles) seemed to show pretty low normalized power, but yet my heart rate was at tempo for a bulk of the ride. I saw this as somewhat contrasting, as I thought a tempo heart rate would indicate I'm pushing moderate wattage, but apparently not.

I'm curious on some starting tips and resources to learn about how train with power. Sort of a power training 101, so to speak. I think I read elsewhere that the Allen & Coggan book was recommended. Just wanted to check in to see what else I should be reading or doing.
 

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The book is great start as it gives you the background on power and really helps one to understand it's use.

If you want to read something now you can always check out their blog for articles related to power:

Power Training Zones for Cycling | TrainingPeaks

A lot of what's in the book is also on their website, albeit, not nicely organized and may seem fragmented w/out context around it.

In the book, they really stress that once you get a PM, just go out and ride, a lot! Hills, tempo, group rides, you name it just ride and collect as much data as you can. 3 rides into may or may not be enough to draw any conclusions from.

Also, regarding your "tempo" ride, you'll soon discover (as I did) that HR zones and power zones do not always match. Eventually, you'll see the power is a better gauge and will drop HR altogether.
 

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your normalized power will take into consideration slowing down and soft pedaling too. Focus on your critical power curve - would be my suggestion - and read the book, it's great. Get Golden cheetah to analyze your data. Just using a power meter during rides does very little to help you get stronger without analysis and focusing on where you want to improve.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Excellent. Thanks for the suggestions. I suppose, in theory, if I ride a certain route regularly, I can analyze data (via Golden Cheetah or other software) to determine areas where I should focus improving power. Makes sense.
 

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Excellent. Thanks for the suggestions. I suppose, in theory, if I ride a certain route regularly, I can analyze data (via Golden Cheetah or other software) to determine areas where I should focus improving power. Makes sense.
If you want to ride a certain route regularly, you should (in my opinion) look at how fast you can ride it, not how much power you can put out. The whole point of training with power is to make your training more effective to the point of making you faster. Learning when to push it hard (uphill, into headwinds) and take it easier (downhills, tailwinds) are all part of using power in conjunction with speed, which is the ultimate target you're trying to hit.

With all that said, there's a steep learning curve to training with power and you'll find that hr will not always (if ever) perfectly correlate. One of many reasons why people train with power instead of hr.

Get a baseline of what you can do for an hourish effort via a hard hour or a 20-40 min test or whatever else you can stomach (I use NP for an hour from a race or very hard group ride) and set up some zones based on that. Then just keep collecting data. The more you ride with it, the more you'll be able to tailor your efforts more specifically in regards to workouts. It's also a very handy metric for tracking improvement over various time frames (or segments).

I would no longer worry with heartrate, but if you do, I'd focus on power for the ride and just look at hr later.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thanks everyone. I'm reading up and learning more and more. I've got some scenarios to run by you all and I'm hoping to glean more expert advice:

I did a group ride with the LBS prior to putting on the Vector pedals and then did one after. I'm noting that the Strava "Weighted Av. Power" is much lower than the "Normalized Power" given by my Garmin. This is on the ride with the power meter. On the ride without the power meter, the Strava "Weighted Av. Power" seems match what I would've expected. I know comparing two rides (same course, same approximate av. speed) is going to questionable.

I'm trying to make sense of my numbers. Part of me thinks that maybe my Vectors are under-reporting watts. I did a tempo ride yesterday for 22 miles and my watts were quite low, on average. I feel like a dummy for not understanding this topic better! Do I need a coach?

A friend offered me to come to his house and put my bike on his CompuTrainer to see if watts appear in the same range as the Vector-generated watts.
 

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Thanks everyone. I'm reading up and learning more and more. I've got some scenarios to run by you all and I'm hoping to glean more expert advice:

I did a group ride with the LBS prior to putting on the Vector pedals and then did one after. I'm noting that the Strava "Weighted Av. Power" is much lower than the "Normalized Power" given by my Garmin. This is on the ride with the power meter. On the ride without the power meter, the Strava "Weighted Av. Power" seems match what I would've expected. I know comparing two rides (same course, same approximate av. speed) is going to questionable.

I'm trying to make sense of my numbers. Part of me thinks that maybe my Vectors are under-reporting watts. I did a tempo ride yesterday for 22 miles and my watts were quite low, on average. I feel like a dummy for not understanding this topic better! Do I need a coach?

A friend offered me to come to his house and put my bike on his CompuTrainer to see if watts appear in the same range as the Vector-generated watts.
My 2 cents:

Don't place any meaning on Strava Weighted Average Power that wasn't captured by a power meter.

Computrainer vs Garmin Vector might be an interesting comparison, but what is the point?

Make sure you do a static zero calibration before each ride, as recommended by Garmin.

Get out and ride and generate data. I think power data is most useful to measure relative changes and values, not absolute values.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 · (Edited)
My 2 cents:

Don't place any meaning on Strava Weighted Average Power that wasn't captured by a power meter.

Computrainer vs Garmin Vector might be an interesting comparison, but what is the point?

Make sure you do a static zero calibration before each ride, as recommended by Garmin.

Get out and ride and generate data. I think power data is most useful to measure relative changes and values, not absolute values.
OK, great. I'm trying to find how to do the static calibration. I use a Garmin 510 unit. Is there a screen to zero calibrate?

Edit: OK! I think I found the video here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZTW6HItltPU
 

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Strava weighted power is always significantly lower than NP for me. 10% + at times (all the time?). They use a different algorithm or something. Annoying, really, even though I try to ignore it.

And yes, absolutely ignore anything "power-related" from Strava that doesn't actually come from your powermeter. Those numbers are essentially made up for all intents and purposes.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·

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I'm noting that the short rides, where I'm pushing myself over climbs and sprints are tracking power quite well. The one long-ish ride I just did (60 miles) seemed to show pretty low normalized power, but yet my heart rate was at tempo for a bulk of the ride.
Sure.

Your oxidative energy system and slow twitch fibers need different stimulus than oxiditative-glycolytic and fast twitch.

If you don't put in miles below your aerobic threshold you won't do a lot for that. Your aerobic threshold (also AeT or VT1) is where lactate/hydrogen ions start to accumulate, breathing becomes rhythmic, conversation doesn't flow, and about what you can average with an even power split on a 5 hour ride.

If you do you'll get better at riding slow; although slow will become faster. Mark Allen set his 2:40 Ironman marathon split record which still stands 25 years later after switching his training runs to below that point* with an initial pace of 8:15 per mile.

* He trained under Phil Maffetone, although the Maffetone formula spits out a number real close to AeT.

Heart rate also varies at a given power output. With aerobic decoupling it can drift upwards over a ride. Dehydration increases it.

I saw this as somewhat contrasting, as I thought a tempo heart rate would indicate I'm pushing moderate wattage, but apparently not.
Most zone systems are built around averages for a population. One hour power 95% of 20 minute is an average, although some people have higher anaerobic reserves than others.
 

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The power of training with a power meter comes from analysis. Otherwise it's an expensive eWang. Analytical programs like Training Peaks or Golden Cheetah give you a better picture of your fitness and a direction of how you should plan your training. It's about managing your fatigue and directing your training towards a specific goal, not some random number you think you should be meeting because a graph or internet forum said you should.

A power meter is a tool, and like any tool can be misused. Now that you have one, take some time and actually learn the basics, and better yet, establish some parameters based on reality.
 
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