By Joe Friel
- Precisely fit their education to their race season
- Push their limits step via step
- Track health changes—reliably and accurately
- Peak predictably for key events
- Vastly increase education efficiency
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Extra info for The Power Meter Handbook: A User's Guide for Cyclists and Triathletes
Power meters can be useful for any of these desired results. But the purpose we’ll be examining in great detail here is training—purposeful workouts intended to produce better event performance. The power meter is a powerful tool for training, one that can potentially make you fitter and faster than any other piece of equipment you could get for your bike. Even if you have been in the sport for a long time and achieved all the fitness you think is possible, I guarantee that you have room for improvement.
1 illustrates my point. It shows what happens in regard to heart rate, RPE, speed, and power while a rider is steadily climbing a hill, coasting down the other side, and then starting to pedal again on flat terrain. Notice that heart rate and RPE rise as the hill is steadily climbed, while speed and power remain fairly constant. When the rider is coasting down the hill, speed increases as heart rate, RPE, and power decline. Note that heart rate is slow to respond as the rider starts up the hill, and heart rate continues to increase in the early part of the descent.
Training with a power meter will allow you to design your workouts to increase your VO2max and also to quite precisely measure your resulting performance gains. Neither option would be feasible without a power meter. Anaerobic Threshold Anaerobic threshold is the point where, in a hard cycling effort, you start to close in on your limit. This point is sometimes called “lactate threshold” instead. You may also read about “ventilatory threshold” or even “OBLA” (onset of blood lactate accumulation) and “MLSS” (maximum lactate steady state).