Posted by: Dr. Tyrone A. Holmes | January 5, 2012

Five Reasons to Ride with a Power Meter: #3 – True Rate of Work

Another significant benefit of using a power meter is that it gives you an accurate and consistent indication of your true rate of work (i.e., power production), unlike other measures such as heart rate which can be affected by many variables that have little to do with actual work rate such as hydration, air temperature and stress level.  For example, if you ride for one hour and your average power is 250 watts, you can be sure this is an accurate indication of your work rate on the bike.  The conditions don’t matter.  The actual power you produce is the same as any other one hour ride resulting in an average power of 250 watts.  Conversely, a measure such as heart rate can be affected by a variety of factors.  An average heart rate of 160 bpm for a one hour ride may not indicate the same rate of work as another hour ride with an identical heart rate.  For instance, if one ride was done in hot, humid conditions while the other ride took place on a cool day, it is likely that the ride in cooler conditions produced a higher work rate.  That’s because riding in hot, humid conditions will typically result in a lower relative power output and a higher average heart rate.  A power meter eliminates this problem by removing intervening variables such as heat, humidity and terrain from the equation.

NEXT POST – January 8, 2012

Cycle Log: Intensity Phase Week 1

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