How to Begin Using Your Power Meter

Over the years, power meters have become more and more cost effective and with that we have seen the number of cyclist with one on their bike. With this increase in utilization, we have also seen a significant confusion on what to do with the data. The power meter has become the new heart rate monitor, where you see the numbers but don’t know what they mean or what to do with them. So, we want to help you by beginning with the 3 most basic steps.

1. Field Test – To properly determine your FTP (Functional Threshold Power), you will need to perform a field test. There are many options out there, but we have found that athletes who are newer to power do best with the 2×8-minute field test (indoors or outdoors) or the Ramp Test (indoors). Both tests have a different protocol for finding your FTP, but both are easy to repeat and provide similar results.

2. Add Some Structure – For some, this is not something you are interested in, and if that is the case, that is fine, but if you purchased a power meter, use it for what it is known for, creating results! Intervals can be as simple as choosing a 10-watt power range that is out of your comfort zone and holding it on several climbs in your area or as complex as a structured training plan with detailed power numbers to keep and specific times for each effort.

3. Use Power Data for Fueling – The sheer fact that you have a power meter on your bike means that the amount of work (kJ) you are doing is being recorded, and your caloric need is exponentially more accurate than it ever was with heart rate. So, use this on your rides to see how many calories per hour you are burning, and then strive for a minimum of 40-60% of your energy expenditure.

Our ultimate desire is to see more athletes getting more from their power meters and subsequently seeing the fitness and performance gains they desire.If you are uncertain of how to achieve any of this with your power meter, please let us know, one of our coaches would LOVE to help you!