How To Train With A Power Meter | Cycle Faster With Power

– Maybe you’ve just bought
yourself a power meter or you’ve got access to one, and you want to know how
to get the best out of it. – So coming up, our top tips
to training with a power meter. (upbeat music) – First things first then, after you’ve got your new
power meter on your bike, you’re going to need to calibrate it to ensure the data you’re collecting is as accurate as possible. You’ll find the calibration function either under the menu
setting of your head unit or on an app on your phone. I used to ride for 10 or 15 minutes until the power meter had adjusted to the ambient temperature, and then I pull over to
the side of the road, and do the calibration. – Right Chris, while you’re doing that, I’ll tell you guys a little bit more. At a very basic level, this is like the tare function
on your kitchen scale. You’re essentially zeroing it before adding additional load. In a perfect world, you’ll be doing this before every training ride. But power meters have come such a long way in the last 10 to 15 years, that that’s not so important if you do miss it once in a while. Alright mate, you ready? Got three hours to go. – Come on, keep up! (upbeat music) Zones. There are many different ways of calculating your
training zones with power, and there is also plenty of discussion on how many zones to use. But the most widely used, is the system created by Dr. Andy Coggan. Almost all training computers or programs default to a very close variation
of his zone calculations based on percentages of your
functional threshold power. Functional threshold power
is abbreviated to FTP, if you didn’t know. Which is the maximum power that you can sustain for 60 minutes. – These zones have been long recognized as the gold standard in training. – We’ll start at the bottom, Zone 1, or active recovery. This is done strictly
underneath 55% of your FTP. This is the zone that you’ll
use for all of the easy parts of your interval sessions. But also for those strict recovery rides, which are under an hour in length. Something I was once told that almost all athletes do incorrectly, is also something I later
witnessed when I started coaching. Theoretically, you could ride almost indefinitely in zone 1. But I don’t think you want to. – Now this should be around
65 to 75% of your FTP, and this will make most of your training as an endurance athlete. This will help your mitochondrial
function and growth. And it will also help
utilize your fat to energy. And this effort you’ll be able to sustain for hours and hours. – Zone 3, otherwise known as tempo. This is done at 76 to 90% of your FTP, and is the sort of zone that, if you’re a well trained athlete, you can probably maintain
for three to eight hours. It’s not a comfortable zone, but at the same time, it’s not maximal. It’s the sort of zone, that if you lacked structured training, you’d probably end up riding quite a lot. It’s kind of a dead zone. It’s great for certain training sessions. But it’s not the sort of place
you want to ride too much. – Alright, now we’re into the hard effort. This should be around
95 to 105% of your FTP, and you should be able to
sustain this for around an hour. But if you’re wanting to build it, then an interval session worth doing, is around 10 minutes and three times with a maximum work time of 30+ minutes. This isn’t easy, but the more force you can
generate on this effort, the faster you’ll be
able to go on your bike. Nine! Oh, done! – VO2 Max, otherwise known as zone 5. These efforts are done at 106 to 120% of FTP, and they’re pretty tough. You only want to do these efforts when you’re feeling fresh, as they do place a high
demand on the body. They’re the sort of effort
that probably feel okay for the first three or four minutes if you complete them at
the lower end of the zone. But once you push past
that four minute barrier, you’re really going to start hurting. If you’re going intervals in this zone, you want to aim for about
25 minutes total workload. – Alright, you’re going
to hate us for this one. You’re looking for an effort of around 121 to 150% of your FTP, and an effort that lasts between
30 seconds and two minutes. I’m going to need to put
my glasses on for this one. It’s going to be a hard one. Three, two, one! This effort is excruciating! Rinsing your body, but this effort is short and sharp and straight to the point. Woo! Ouch! – And finally, we have zone
7, neuromuscular power, otherwise known as sprinting. These efforts are a
complete maximal effort, and they engage every
single muscle in your body. There’s no wattage goal
on these because everyone has different neuromuscular power. And they’re not a percentage
of FTP whatsoever. You probably only want to do around one to two sessions of this a week because of the muscle damage. Pick a sign in the
distance and sprint for it. – [James] Based on the
descriptions of the zones, you should be able to build a picture of how they fit into
your training program. But if not, a quick summary. Endurance is the mainstay
of your weekly program. Zone 4 is the focus for
making aerobic gains and is a great zone for training
your ability to get faster. Zone 5 is a goof place to sit to improve your short climb ability. Zone 6, anaerobic is the time to focus on your ability to attack
or surge when in a ride and sprint for getting to the cafe first, which is, well, the most important. – Ugh! One big thing to remember
when it comes to power numbers is that no matter how hard you try, you won’t always be setting PBs. So don’t bother getting
disheartened by even trying. It’s a bit annoying. Now is a chance to talk about fields. No, not those fields, data fields. If you are a bit of a
numbers geek, like myself, then your data fields
are your first chance to get a glimpse of that
incredible information coming from your power meter. But we’ve got a few tips to
help you get the most out of it. I like to set mine up with
instant watts at the top, my average watts for the lap, my cadence, my lap time, so I know how long till
the end of the interval, my elapsed duration of the session, heart rate, max speed,
cause I love to go fast, average heart rate, just kind of curious. Instant speed, so I know if I
should be getting aero or not. My lap cadence, cause that’s
important for certain sessions. And then I’ve got lap
average speed, as well. On the next page, I’ve got temperature, elevation, that sort of thing. And then next up, I
have a navigation page, which gives me my distance and then if I am using a route, it tells me how far
until the next turning, and my heading. Then my favorite page,
which tells you max watts, it gives you a training stress score, your normalized power,
your intensity factor, kilojoules burnt, left
right average balance, max five second power,
max 30 second power, max one minute power,
max five minute power, max 20 minute power, because I’m a complete nerd when it comes to that sort of thing. I personally tend to keep my screens identical between racing and training, ’cause I like to look at the
same screen in front of me. But I know many riders
who will just switch it to duration and speed or distance and try and ignore the power numbers. After all, in racing, we’re not really riding to the power numbers, we’re merely collecting the data. – Right, a note on power numbers. If you’re like us and you
ride indoors and outdoors, there’s as much as 15%
discrepancy in your numbers. I mean, take this for an example, we’re riding a solid 350 watts. And I mean, look at our faces, I mean, he’s smiling! – Ha! – And then you look at Chris
riding the same wattage inside. – [Chris] That was a particularly bad day for me though, James. – [James] Um, yeah. You
did look pretty awful. – You may not discover
this discrepancy yourself, but be mindful of the
fact that it is something that can happen when riding indoors. And whilst we’re talking about numbers, it’s always nice to
compare yourself to others, but please remember your
numbers are relative to you. And just because you’ve
averaged a certain amount, it doesn’t mean that
that correlates to what the person next to you has averaged or even the person at
the back of the bunch. – Yeah, I was wondering why you put out so much more power than me. – Well I’m a lot heavier
and I’m less aero. – I wasn’t going to say it! Ha! – I think they can see it, James. – Right, I would like to offer you one last bit of advice. It’s all very well having, well, numbers, but how you feel is one of the biggest indicators to potential performance. – Yeah, so make sure you keep a note of how you felt doing which
efforts on which sessions. Use this new tool you have to build a better understanding
of your performance in order to build a new training program. You don’t need to be obsessive, but you can learn a lot from
keeping a good training diary. – If you did enjoy this video, then don’t forget to
give it a big thumbs up. – And for more training
videos, click down here. – Right mate, we need to go and sit on some certain wattage, don’t we? We got zone 6 to do, don’t we? – I thought training was behind us. – Here we go!

100 thoughts on “How To Train With A Power Meter | Cycle Faster With Power

  1. using power only indoors at this stage. Has definitely made a difference. However Ive found zwift sessions don't really incorporate rest weeks.. isn't a rule of thumb often 3 weeks on 1 week off in order to avoid over training?

  2. Looking forward to getting a power meter but I am not sure about wanting to waste 15 minutes each time I want to ride calibrating it. Need one that you do not have to calibrate due to laziness and time savings.

  3. this video almost got me there but I think i am going to revert back to to avoiding 800 watts on the climbs. i am stupid like tripping over a cordless

  4. I love the structured workouts on TrainerRoad but riding at threshold feels waaaay harder indoors than it does outdoors

  5. And, don't forget: while a power meter can be a helpful training tool, it is not a prerequisite to improve your shape, ride faster, or – most importantly – have fun on the bike.

  6. Another video idea: how do you use the power meter to granite et val training session? Memorize durations and levels and use the computer as a stopwatch and for output monitoring only? Upload a training programme and get the computer to ping/flash starts, stops and target achievement? New to power meter training but coming from Zwift + erg which makes this dead simple.

  7. Just curious. Is the gap between leggings and socks a marginal gain or a great way of avoiding the whole socks over/socks under debate?

  8. I'd be interested in a deep dive comparing heart rate based training vs power meter training. With heart rate training you're taking into account your fatigue. I'd like to understand how to change my training when my watts/heartbeat is higher (fresh) vs lower. Is it better to run maximal efforts after a few hard endurance days or after some rest days? What does your gut say vs what does the science say?

  9. What grip tape do the guys use on the top of their aero bars? Been looking to get some but not sure what to look for.

  10. Zone 4 (F.T.P. 95-105 % Aerobic Engine Marker 60 min. Workload):
    One's F.T.P. is an 100 percent maximum power effort for 1 hour measured. If one's hard effort should be up to 105 percent of one's F.T.P. — how can one maintain an 105 percent power effort for 1 hour? If one can sustain a 105 percent power effort for up to 1 hour — that clearly means that your base power effort of 100 percent — isn't your correct base power effort (F.T.P.) then. Fact! I may agree upon (maybe) as much as a 95 percent power effort; but even that is almost impossible to maintain for 1 full hour within a Zones 4 (''Threshold Training' Effort'). Zone 4 ('Threshold Training Effort') should clearly be between 85 to 95 percent at the most; actually really — between 85 to 90 percent in my opinion. If one does their Zone 4 ('Threshold Training Effort') at up to 105 percent, & maintains it for 1 hour — that is now longer a Zone 4 ('Threshold Training Effort') in my opinion. It is now actually a full real F.T.P. (Functional Threshold Power) test if one does it for 1 full hour. That is common sense. I would agree, & do agree on doing it for (up to) 10 minute interval efforts; & doing it — for up to 3 intervals at your 95 to 105 percent of your F.T.P. effort.

  11. You can't teach an old dog, new tricks….(at least a cheap old dog)….I still use H.R. to determine workouts. Determining Max H.R. is critical. You can't assume that it's the same every year. It will raise as you get fit, and then drop as you get older. It also changes depending on outside temps and how tired you are from the previous workout. Training with power makes training easier, but if you know your body, you can get it done the old way. You can even get it done the really old way with P.E.

  12. The results of my rides with a power meter almost always shows that I am in Zone 6-7 for about 80% of my ride. Does this mean that the FTP i’ve set is too low? And if so, can i just adjust it without doing an ftp test again until I feel it is more correct?

  13. Can you do a video about how to train with a heart rate meter. I dont have a power meter but i do have a heart rate meter.

  14. They're cycling where I used to cycle all of time! Where I developed my love for road biking. Basically it's all the lanes surrounding Sherston, Luckington and Alderton. Weird how your brain can automatically know a location from green fields, trees and cow sheds only haha.

  15. The zones are based on FTP, but how do I know if I've calculated my FTP correctly? I've done the ZWIFT FTP test and I think I pushed it too hard and now my estimates seem to be off – I can't hold training at 100% of the power. When doing FTP test do I push it to the max or just ride at a pace I think I can sustain for an hour (it's a 20 minute test)?

  16. I train with HR zones, because a Powermeter is way to expensive. What are the main differences of training with one or an other? #TorqueBack

  17. Opening line: "Maybe you've just bought yourself a power meter…" Me: Yep. I bought a pedal based system. My personal experience is that I tend to ride in the threshold and higher zones when I go outside. I have a heart rate monitor, but that wasn't enough for me to keep myself in check (and there are delays in response relative to power). Long story short is that I've been training (riding) too much in the Zones 3, 4 and 5…my training hasn't been polarized enough and I'm constantly tired and showing up to events and races flat, physically and mentally. Obviously, my performances have suffered and I've been more irritable at home and at work. In other words, I've decided I've been over training despite trying to follow an indoor program because I couldn't take this outdoors without a power meter. I am the type to push myself no matter how bad I feel. I actually bought a power meter to SLOW myself down in training and better follow an appropriate plan. As the video mentions, most of the volume of training should be in Zone 2 (endurance), which I was not able to do on my own. There were other reasons I bought a power meter, but these are some of the ones related to training.

  18. I was expecting other thing, I know a few basics about zones, but a power metter is more than zone training, there is the use of wattage and also the diference of indoor sessions doing series of watts and zones and cadence, or just making watts… bbut there is a flip side that is going out doors and going unleashed and learning how to train with a power meter… making the best of it on a coffe ride to a really hard session

  19. turbo trainer for the higher end efforts save you getting run over by a DHL van whilst staring at your 2" square screen

  20. Quite weird watching you two riding along all my cycling routes. Keep recognising road markers and signs. See you out and about around Tetbury/Malmesbury on Sunday?

  21. The information about Zone 3 'Tempo' being a dead zone that you can fall into without a structured plan is really spot on. I don't yet have a power meter, but I used calories burned on a stationary bike at the gym as a proxy for my FTP. I rode for three hours last week on the bike and I was at about 80% of FTP.

    It's an easy place to naturally be on a 2-4 hour ride that still feels hard.

  22. I struggle to complete workouts on back to back days- my threshold might vary day to day by 50 watts making it really tricky to work out just what wattage to go for. This is why training to power can be disheartening for some.

  23. Improve midichlorian growth by riding in zone 2? Sweet, I can become a Jedi from cycling!

    …blast it, you said mitochondrial, didn't you…?

  24. And more seriously, what is mitochondrial growth supposed to do and help with in regards to cycling?

  25. Hey he's got a good sprint on him ;p. Good video guys. Cheers from BC Canada, come ride anytime.

  26. Y A W N Why I am 60 and I have been riding seriously for over 43 years and a lot longer as a kid.. Why do i need a power meter..
    JUST go out and RIDE Bicycles for fun.. Forget the numbers one ride and you maybe surprised you may remember fun a ride can be.

  27. Thank-you for de-mystifying these wretched gadgets. However, I shan't invest in one at this stage.
    All I care about is passing and dropping local weirdo triathletes.

  28. As I’m getting older (50 next year) I see my power numbers slowly deteriorate, especially peak power. I tend to look more around me and less at the screen and still enjoy the ride.

  29. I have been ridding for 10+ years with a power meter . Now my wahoo bolt will only display WATTS, cadence, speed and hart rate. and the climbing page Watts, heart rate, temperate and cadence and the profile of the climb . For the rest the more interesting part is back on the computer to analyze the ride.

    Beyond training for me it is mainly a pacing tool knowing how hard I can push it and stop just before the punishment comes in, recover and push again. Over and over on hills I let people go just to overtake the a few km later. I no longer know the length of my ride. I keep track of average watts for the ride and total ascend meters

  30. FTP is not associated with a set duration. No "threshold" is. "About an hour" doesn't mean equal an hour. Stop spreading the misinformation.

  31. Ok, now you want to sell us middle aged men who rediscovered cycling some years ago, an expensive power meter. The car sellers and car tuning companies at least promised us hot chicks. All you are offering me is sore ankles and an empty wallet.

  32. surely there is an algorithm to convert calories into watts, write it into the cycling computer code. you could see watts displayed that way without having to buy all these gizmos and achieve the same results, no? a metric is a metric, after all, and in this case, would it not be close enough to gauge power, effort etc? it could be called the Watts-C standard if that makes anyone feel better ( i jest )

  33. I've been using a power meter to better pace myself on climbs.. which has been really great for the short climbs, but I learned a new lesson the first time the climb was over an hour…. and to also give myself more accurate numbers for my commute home since I'm often fighting a 10-20mph headwind and I want some credit for all the extra work that goes into that.

  34. Chris, that face… love it. Great video guys. I’m wanting to start training with a power meter this year and this info was priceless. Keep up the great work.

  35. I just got myself a pair of power meters, I am new to PM and i am having trouble setting up my FTP, I live in a non-flat area. how can I get my FTP (if possible) in a hilly area lot of up and down

  36. Get your partner to take a photo of your zone 7 effort…. they'll tell you if you're actually doing a max effort….it's your orgasm face

  37. Chris' Sprint Face would make some metal guitar players jealous! It looks as though he is exorcising a demon or 7….

  38. So if there is a discrepancy indoor v outdoor does that mean the numbers are harder to hit indoor?
    Should you use your indoor numbers outdoors

  39. I've been looking for a power meter for a while now that this video has only further made me want to get one. Any suggestions as I am having a hard time finding one that I like.

  40. Hi guys. I’m just getting back on the bike after almost a decade of not riding seriously. Will any of the new gps cycling computers work with my old wireless powertap SL hubs? Or do I need to invest in a new power meter if I want to use the new gen computers? Please help. I think my hubs use the “2.4” wireless protocol.

  41. Thanks for the info! I have a question about the zones: You say zone 4 is at 95%-105% of your FTP. But in your video about HR-training from 2019, you say that zone 4 is at 94%-99% of your LTHR, which translates to staying slightly below your FTP, right? So is zone 4 around or slightly below an FTP-effort?

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