Power training used to be something for professional cyclists — I’ll show you how to use power meters to develop lean cycling habits for everyone.
You may ask: Why power training at all? There are several good reasons for all cyclists to look into it: Power training provides in general an objective approach towards a human process; you can use it to expand knowledge of your body in measurable terms; it allows to define repeatable routines — accurate and efficient; and it complements the mindset work (intrinsic) in a suitable way by making performance and goal achievement extrinsically visible.
Power meters allow the quantum leap towards lean cycling habits.
It is these devices that make it possible to use the training time in an efficient and impactful way:
- Regular training in the sweet spot zone to create flow experiences
- Tracking continuous improvement in small steps
- Visualizing progress (threshold power) constantly
- Helping to express the WHY of your training in numbers.
Power training is most effective when following a structured process to build your personal training profile and your individual workout routines.
You can start to experiment right away:
Step 1: Get aware of your training terrain
Many cyclists go wrong when they wait for ideal training conditions to occur.
I think it’s essential to use what you already have: look at your commute to work and optimize the roads or trails, possibly think of loops that you can build in; or, during the cold months, select a virtual training landscape (e.g. on Zwift). Tailor a track that allows you to ride for 45 minutes consistently without interruptions. Ride it a few times.
Step 2: Start by determining your threshold power.
It’s the single most important physiological determinant of performance in cycling.
Get out for a ride after installing a power meter and pairing it with your bike computer. You are looking for the power that you can routinely generate during long intervals. Warm up for 15 minutes, and then go all in for 20 minutes. 95% of the average power that you achieve over these 20 minutes will give you an indication of your threshold power.
Step 3: Experience the flow.
Remember that flow is a concept describing moments when you’re completely absorbed in a challenging but doable task. In cycling, this corresponds with the so-called ‘sweet spot’, i.e. riding at around 85–90% of your threshold power. Try to ride in this zone for 10–15 minutes and make it a habit in your training routines!
Tell me about your training habits and flow experience via Twitter or Whatsapp and you’ll be invited to our next Integral Cycling cohort. Join in!