Triathlon is a beautiful sport which challenges our bodies and minds over three very different disciplines.
With three very contrasting disciplines needing to work together, gauging the balance in training can often be difficult. It is partly because of this challenge that the advancements in sports technologies have boomed over the past few years - one of these technologies of course, being power meters.
The more data we have, the greater we should be able to understand what is and is not working for us in these training and racing situations.
Power Meters have been around for quite some time, but they have always been very specialised to fit certain bike group sets and crank sizes which often meant they were quite a pain and definitely not a one size fits all solution such as a fitness watch which measures the heart rate of any person.
More recently the revolutionary approach to power meters has come in the form of power meter pedals which meant they were an easy pack and go solution which could easily be screwed onto any of your bikes when needed. However, during their early days, they were often known for being less accurate than the more traditional power meter set ups which was a major turn off. Fortunately, that has all changed with the likes of the Favero Power Meter’s which have all the conveniences of a pedal format while still being one of the most accurate power meters in the game with a less than 1% variation.
Specifically, in terms of triathlon training on the bike, a power meter is a must for anyone who is wanting to up their game and train more precisely. This is not only for seeing how much power we can push out (Who doesn’t like to drop the Watt Bombs ;) ) but more importantly to monitor exactly how much strain we are putting on our bodies and to make sure we are going easy enough on our easy days to optimise our recovery and ultimately get faster and stronger.
Race day precision is possible, and all the pros are killing the bike leg for a reason.
With a power meter, we can utilize tests such as a FTP Tests (Functional Threshold Power) which help us understand our strengths and weaknesses as well as our “power training zones”. Bringing this into the racing world we can use this our highly scientific knowledge of our own personal power provided by the meters to predict and plan our race day strategies.
With the variabilities of temperatures, terrain and wind you cannot rely on speed and heart rate alone to make a precise plan. Through training with power, you can use this knowledge to work out exactly what power you should be able to sustain over your prescribed race distance and most importantly not blowing up before the run leg. Racing smart and sustaining for the final leg of the race is vital, especially in longer distances such as Ironman racing.
In this time with few races on the calendar, why not discover your true cycling potential by learning to understand your own personal power and nurture it in real time to achieve your best day out on the bike yet when this is all over!
– Mikaela Jonsson