Training with power enables you to train and ride with more precision.
Power gives you instant feedback of how hard you’re pedaling which is a combination of the amount of Force you’re putting on the pedals and how fast you’re pedaling.
Advantages over Heart-Rate
Heart-Rate reacts to the amount of effort you’re doing. For example, once you start pedaling hard your heart-rate will take a few minutes to increase. This doesn’t make it very useful when measuring the intensity of short intervals. Likewise, when you reduce the effort level, your heart-rate will take a few minutes to start going down.
Disadvantages of using Power
The main disadvantages of using power is that accurate power-meters are quite expensive and analysing data can be quite complicated and time-consuming. You also need to establish your Functional Threshold Power on which to base your Training Zones and test it at regular times.
Stationary Bikes and Ergonometers
Some stationary bikes and turbotrainers display watts but they are not completely accurate. However this isn’t a problem as long as they are consistent in their measurements.
This is a very basic introduction to training with power. If you want to learn about it in more detail see the following books:
Training and Racing with a Power Meter : Hunter Allen and Andrew Coggan. Velopress. A very in-depth book which has everything you need to know but can be a bit complicated at times.
The Power Meter Handbook : Joe Friel. A more straight-forward and easier to understand approach.
More content coming soon.