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Just got a power meter and I'm completely overwhelmed with data

Old 10-12-17, 03:24 PM
  #1  
sgtrobo
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Just got a power meter and I'm completely overwhelmed with data

I picked up a new bike (yay new bike day!) and had the LBS put a Quarq power meter on it so that I can work on really trying to dial in my training.

I'm looking up how to actually use a power meter for training and I am drowning in a sea of (mis?)information. This is a case of information overload right now. I did my google work and holy crap is there a lot of stuff out there on the subject.

Is there a "generally agreed upon" source for power meter training for newbs like me? Just something to get me started so that I can structure a basic plan?
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Old 10-12-17, 05:49 PM
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Measure FTP using one of the many methods people like to argue about. I like friel's method of a 30 min time trial. Then define your goals, and not in terms of numbers but in terms of what you want to accomplish on the bike and what types of fitness are required.
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Old 10-12-17, 08:53 PM
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Have you ever structured a basic plan before?

If so, then use that. A powermeter doesn't change the plan or the general scope of training. It just (potentially) makes the training more exact.

In any case, I wouldn't worry about anything with the powermeter for the time being. Just go out and ride, do some efforts, look at the data post ride, then go again. After a few weeks you'll have some data, a better handle on what that data actually means and relates to, and possibly how to use that data to plan for future workouts/goals.
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Old 10-13-17, 08:50 AM
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Originally Posted by sgtrobo View Post
Is there a "generally agreed upon" source for power meter training for newbs like me? Just something to get me started so that I can structure a basic plan?
Yes. This book: Training and Racing with a Power Meter, 2nd Ed.

https://www.amazon.com/Training-Raci...meter+training
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Old 10-13-17, 09:52 AM
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That's ^ the book to read.

That said, while you're waiting for it to arrive, just go out and ride as normal. Look down occasionally to see the number. You just got a new toy, you want to play with it. Check out the average power and normalized power at the end of your ride.

Right now, you want to get a sense of what different power levels feel like.

The rest will fall into place in time.
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Old 10-13-17, 10:07 AM
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Originally Posted by rubiksoval View Post
Have you ever structured a basic plan before?

If so, then use that. A powermeter doesn't change the plan or the general scope of training. It just (potentially) makes the training more exact.

In any case, I wouldn't worry about anything with the powermeter for the time being. Just go out and ride, do some efforts, look at the data post ride, then go again. After a few weeks you'll have some data, a better handle on what that data actually means and relates to, and possibly how to use that data to plan for future workouts/goals.
What he said. And get the Racing and Training book. Or hire a coach and save the mental bandwidth.
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Old 10-13-17, 01:22 PM
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No helpful info, just a "you lucky dog and ENJOY"
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Old 10-15-17, 09:11 AM
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I have some significant power differences between left and right legs that are contributing to some ongoing muscle/tendon issues that are being addressed by physical therapy and some strength and flexibility training. As part of addressing these ongoing issues I did a bike fitting that included a torque analysis that confirmed the power differences identified in physical therapy. The fitter recommended using a left+right power meter to get some ongoing feedback about progress with improving the balance in power output. I'm thinking of using the new Vector 3, but not too enthused about switching from my Speedplay pedals. But, I see this as a worthwhile investment?
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Old 10-15-17, 09:35 AM
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Originally Posted by metalheart44 View Post
I have some significant power differences between left and right legs that are contributing to some ongoing muscle/tendon issues that are being addressed by physical therapy and some strength and flexibility training. As part of addressing these ongoing issues I did a bike fitting that included a torque analysis that confirmed the power differences identified in physical therapy. The fitter recommended using a left+right power meter to get some ongoing feedback about progress with improving the balance in power output. I'm thinking of using the new Vector 3, but not too enthused about switching from my Speedplay pedals. But, I see this as a worthwhile investment?
Power imbalance alone is not a problem that needs addressing or monitoring. Imbalance that causes pain or discomfort should be dealt with by a good physio as you're doing. The goal should be to remove any pain not make your power even. Balanced power is seldom, if ever, a limiter to performance.

A power meter is useful for monitoring performance but I don't think it's necessary as part of physiotherapy.
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Old 10-15-17, 04:14 PM
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Originally Posted by gregf83 View Post
Power imbalance alone is not a problem that needs addressing or monitoring. Imbalance that causes pain or discomfort should be dealt with by a good physio as you're doing. The goal should be to remove any pain not make your power even. Balanced power is seldom, if ever, a limiter to performance.

A power meter is useful for monitoring performance but I don't think it's necessary as part of physiotherapy.
There are different ways to look at this issue and yours is one perspective. My surgeon (a cyclist), the bike fitter, and the PT all agree with the idea of a power meter for my particular issues.
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Old 10-15-17, 04:52 PM
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Originally Posted by metalheart44 View Post
There are different ways to look at this issue and yours is one perspective. My surgeon (a cyclist), the bike fitter, and the PT all agree with the idea of a power meter for my particular issues.
Well it sounded like you weren't convinced it was a worthwhile investment. I have lots of powermeters so I'm not going to suggest you don't get one. In your situation I just wouldn't have a goal of balanced power alone. What if your power is balanced but you're still in pain? Plenty of people have no pain and unbalanced power so I'm not convinced there's a useful correlation between leg pain and power balance.

There are plenty of riders who think that balanced power is a reasonable goal in and of itself. There's just no evidence that it's a useful or will improve your performance.
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Old 10-15-17, 05:47 PM
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Originally Posted by metalheart44 View Post
I have some significant power differences between left and right legs that are contributing to some ongoing muscle/tendon issues that are being addressed by physical therapy and some strength and flexibility training. As part of addressing these ongoing issues I did a bike fitting that included a torque analysis that confirmed the power differences identified in physical therapy. The fitter recommended using a left+right power meter to get some ongoing feedback about progress with improving the balance in power output. I'm thinking of using the new Vector 3, but not too enthused about switching from my Speedplay pedals. But, I see this as a worthwhile investment?
Vector 3 seems to address all the complaints that people had about the previous models. Not shipping yet though (end of Oct according to CleverTraining.com), so no real reviews yet except I think DCRainmaker has a first-look.

If you really like your Speedplays and want to stick with them, Pioneer makes crank-based power-meters that provide true L/R power info. The strain guages attach to the crank arm, unlike some other brands that use crank-spider measurement to estimate L/R power. Shimano's also got a crank-based power-meter coming out in the next month or two that will do true L/R power.
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Old 10-17-17, 10:15 AM
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Originally Posted by metalheart44 View Post
But, I see this as a worthwhile investment?
Considering the potential cost of physical therapy and other medical expenses, the cost of a left/right capable power meter probably doesn't seem like all that much. If your doctor and therapist and fitter think the data will help you and/or them with diagnosis and treatment, it definitely sounds worthwhile.
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Old 10-17-17, 11:53 AM
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I've noticed @BloomBikeShop consistently gives out excellent advice.
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Old 10-17-17, 04:20 PM
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Originally Posted by BloomBikeShop View Post
Considering the potential cost of physical therapy and other medical expenses, the cost of a left/right capable power meter probably doesn't seem like all that much. If your doctor and therapist and fitter think the data will help you and/or them with diagnosis and treatment, it definitely sounds worthwhile.
Thanks for the comments about this issue and the possibility of the crank-based Pos. All the folks helping me with this do agree that a LR power meter would be a useful tool. Without going into all the details, it is partially an issue of addressing some long term muscle memory issues that post-surgery have caused some problems. Anyway, seems like for a variety of reasons a PM can be useful even if the data produced may be overwhelming.
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Old 10-17-17, 05:38 PM
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Originally Posted by metalheart44 View Post
I have some significant power differences between left and right legs that are contributing to some ongoing muscle/tendon issues that are being addressed by physical therapy and some strength and flexibility training. As part of addressing these ongoing issues I did a bike fitting that included a torque analysis that confirmed the power differences identified in physical therapy. The fitter recommended using a left+right power meter to get some ongoing feedback about progress with improving the balance in power output. I'm thinking of using the new Vector 3, but not too enthused about switching from my Speedplay pedals. But, I see this as a worthwhile investment?
First, have you asked your fitter (or maybe PT) about whether you have any reason not to switch?

I wasn't thrilled about switching from SPD to Keo cleats to use Vectors, but I did. (I have V2.) I even had to buy new shoes.

Overall it was a very worthwhile move. I like my wheels including hubs, and my crankset, and I want 100 % coverage, so that leaves pedals for me. Having power data was worth the switch for me.

You asked about an investment; sometimes it's nice to look at the icing on the cake. You also get a fantastic training tool, probably the best pacing tool available, and knowledge of how many calories you're burning.
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Old 10-26-17, 04:04 PM
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Originally Posted by sgtrobo View Post
...Just something to get me started so that I can structure a basic plan?
As a noob power meter user (PowerTap G3 hub) 2 years ago I was also overwhelmed after reading the books mentioned, so I adopted this simple training philosophy/regimen, that requires very little structure: I used my power curve (in Strava) to determine my peak power output in the last 6 weeks (or so) at about 12 different interval times: 5 sec, 10 sec, 30 sec, 1 min, 2 min, 4 min, 5 min, 8 min, 10 min, 20 min, 30 min, 60 min. I then did rides where I would increase that base power 5-10% for the interval duration I was trying to improve. If I achieved a new power PR, I would then use that as my new power baseline and add 5-10% as my new power goal the next time I trained that interval.

It's a lot like a weight-lifting routine where you add just a little more weight than you've successfully done in the past.

And to make it more fun, and add a competitive element to it, I also found Strava segments that were about the same duration length as the power interval I was trying to improve on that ride. So I could improve my power, as well as climb the segment leaderboard, if you happen care about that.

Last edited by Riveting; 10-26-17 at 04:08 PM.
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Old 10-27-17, 06:41 PM
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Originally Posted by Riveting View Post

And to make it more fun, and add a competitive element to it, I also found Strava segments that were about the same duration length as the power interval I was trying to improve on that ride. So I could improve my power, as well as climb the segment leaderboard, if you happen care about that.

Ha! I do that as well. Might as well try to take a KOM if you're going to make the effort anyway.
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Old 10-27-17, 07:25 PM
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Originally Posted by rubiksoval View Post
Ha! I do that as well. Might as well try to take a KOM if you're going to make the effort anyway.
Same.
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Old 10-28-17, 09:34 AM
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Originally Posted by Riveting View Post
I then did rides where I would increase that base power 5-10% for the interval duration I was trying to improve.
5-10% ? Yikes.
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Old 10-29-17, 06:25 AM
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Originally Posted by RChung View Post
5-10% ? Yikes.
5-10% of 200 watts is only 10-20 more watts, and hardly worthy of a "Yikes", especially at the start of using a power meter when dramatic gains will be seen. And that 5-10% will only be added once you achieve the prior power goal. But once you plateau, the increases can be whatever you like, maybe 1% (2-3 watts) to lower the Yikes factor.
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Old 10-29-17, 08:10 AM
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Originally Posted by Riveting View Post
5-10% of 200 watts is only 10-20 more watts, and hardly worthy of a "Yikes", especially at the start of using a power meter when dramatic gains will be seen. And that 5-10% will only be added once you achieve the prior power goal.
If you were setting out on a ride with the goal of increasing your power at *any* duration by 5-10% then either 1) your MMP was poorly estimated, so you'd be better served by getting a better estimate; or 2) your power meter is in need of calibration; or 3) you're setting up a training goal for your ride that will be unattainable almost every time (the exceptions being #1 and #2).

I'm having a hard time believing you're very experienced with power. 20 watts increase on a base of 200 watts as a goal for a ride is nuts. I see a 5-10% change in my MMP over an entire season. You're advising new users to set a 5-10% goal for a ride? Yikes.
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Old 10-29-17, 09:59 AM
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Originally Posted by RChung View Post
You're advising new users to set a 5-10% goal for a ride?
Adding 5-10% for a "specific" interval is what I recommended (5% increases is what I do myself, at my stage of training), and that's for someone who's brand new to a power meter and really hasn't determined their peak power at each interval length. Telling them to do easily attainable 1% increases (as you might have them do), may cause them to take a long time (maybe an entire season) to find their peak power at that interval.

If someone finds that they can ride at 200 watts for 10 minutes, it really isn't that much of a stretch to attempt 210-220 watts for that same duration. And clearly someone who's been riding a long time and has plateaued, such as yourself, can make smaller wattage increases, or make any change to my recommended plan as they see fit, or totally disregard my plan.

Last edited by Riveting; 10-29-17 at 10:08 AM.
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Old 10-29-17, 12:51 PM
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Originally Posted by Riveting View Post
If someone finds that they can ride at 200 watts for 10 minutes, it really isn't that much of a stretch to attempt 210-220 watts for that same duration.
What?!? If 220 watts isn't "that much of a stretch" over 200 watts for 10 minutes, then their MMP wasn't well estimated at 10 minutes. A higher priority for new users is getting a good estimate of their true baseline, rather than setting a 110% goal of a poorly-estimated output, especially for any given ride.

I very much agree that new users should keep things simple. I also think that new users should be realistic in their goals. Overly complicated training plans aren't likely to be followed, and overly ambitious goals aren't likely to be attained. Either can result in a discouraged rider.
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Old 11-30-17, 11:59 AM
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Originally Posted by BloomBikeShop View Post
Yes. This book: Training and Racing with a Power Meter, 2nd Ed.
Also, if you really want to step your game up, you should use Tranining Peaks (and the WK04 software, but it is not cheap), the book and the software "speak the same language". Debriefing a ride is amazing with the insights provided by the book and the apps.
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