Power data is not affected by environmental factors like heart rate and perceived exertion. Warm or cold weather, caffeine, quality of sleep, level of stress at work or at home, hydration level, allergies, altitude, and even nutrition can all effect heart rate reading during exercise. Power data however remains constant and can give insights into residual fatigue from a previous workout, as well as when you are performing at your best!
Determine the power demands that led to being dropped on a climb, or not being able to win a sprint finish. How much power was required during the last climb when you won the race? What was your average power during the bike leg of your triathlon - when you had your best finish ever? Each one of these scenarios provides more data and better illustrates the demands of our sport, thereby setting the bar for the next workout to be more powerful and more efficient!
Marathon mountain bike races, road time trials, century riders, gran fondos or triathlons; knowing your maximum average power and learning how to pace off that number can lead to better race-day performance! Don’t blow up in the first 25% of the ride because you can ride faster at the beginning! Pacing can delay the onset of fatigue from endurance events and allow for a faster average speed!
How many kilojoules of energy are required for the bike leg of your next triathlon? How long are the climbs on the race course of your favorite mountain bike race? How many accelerations above 600 watts were there in your last cyclocross race? Each of these can be trained for specifically by recording the demands of the event or ride. Knowing how hard you have to push on race day can make your training intervals that much more precise, as well as meaningful! Showing up at your event knowing you have trained properly can give you a mental advantage as well as physical!
Efficiencies for aerodynamics, bike fit, tire selection and even air pressure can all be measured with a PowerMeter. Having the controlling variable of power can show the performance advantages of equipment and its effect on velocity, ergonomics, heart rate, and even perceived exertion. Professionals and amateurs alike can reap this benefit simply by setting up their own tests and marking the changes in performance.
Analyzing data over time can identify trends in performance - good or bad. Can you train for 3 days in a row and still maintain the same power output? Do you need 1, 2 or 3 days of recovery following a race weekend? What workouts and power values were you seeing in the weeks leading up to the best event of your season? Identifying trends in training is one of the best ways to predict performance in the future!
Having a recorded power file from a training ride or race can give your coach greater insights into your physical capabilities. A 4 hour ride at 200 watts is very different from a 4 hour ride at 150 watts. Now your coach can have a better understanding of your training and see the details of each ride as though he was right there with you!