Getting Ahead in the Cycling Game For Women Triathletes
Power training cycling is considered by many pros to be one of the best methods to help you become a good strong cyclist in your triathlon races. Using a power meter is also highly recommended when you are doing this sort of training, more so than a heart rate monitor, because there are many factors that affect heart rate that make it very difficult for the rider to keep a steady momentum when doing routines like time trials for instance, using only a heart rate monitor.
Your heart rate is not the only thing that can be affected by several different factors, making it unreliable to keep a steady momentum, the exertion you think that you are putting in is something else that is also easily effected by outside things like your mental state at that particular time. Something as simple as getting a new shirt or bike can make a huge difference to the effort you put in, because your mood is usually in a more positive or heightened state. On the flip side of this equation of course is that you may have had a bad day, or some bad news that could affect your efforts in a negative way.
If you use power training cycling the correct way, many of these uncertain factors are removed, if you are hill climbing for instance, your heart rate will go up and down during the climb, but using a power meter means you can see the power output on the flat, and then when you start the climb you can go to a different gear and change your cadence, this keeps your power output steady.
The way to track your progress when training this way is to find the amount of power you can produce in one hour, known as your FTP (Functional Threshold Power), and then re-asses this value at different intervals, and see how much you have improved.
If you are training correctly you will see steady progress, which will in turn motivate you to try even harder, the other cyclists not using this method will not have this advantage, and you will start to gain or overtake riders you once struggled to keep up with.
To help you start, here is the basic routine:
Doing this on the road may be tough because of the constant stops for traffic and lights, but you can do it if you have an open road or circuit that is free from traffic, so for most of us it has to be done on the turbo trainer indoors.
Once you have decided where you are going to ride, you should as always do a good 15 to 20 minute warm-up, once you are ready then ride as hard as you can for exactly one hour with your power meter.
Once you have finished, your power meter will display your average power output, this is your FTP, take this and start improving on it over time doing this test periodically on the same road or equipment, this method should help you see improvements in your riding as it has for many others – Good luck!