Hotchillee

training

Why Use a Power Meter for Cycling?

The first in a series of articles in association with Limits Power Meters covering everything you need to know about cycling with a power meter. Here we answer why you should be using one.


Are power meters just for pros and top riders?

Far from it and arguably amateur and novice riders have far more to gain from power meters than top riders.  If your training time is limited, knowing that you’re getting the most out of every workout is essential and a power meter is the best tool for ensuring that.

For novice riders, who probably lack experience in pacing and what different riding intensities feel like, a power meter will massively aid pacing during training and at events. For example, when you’re feeling fresh at the start of a ride, it can be easy to overcook a climb and then pay for it later on. A power meter, and accurately set zones, will prevent this.

Training with power

But aren't they ruining racing?

You’ll often hear fans, commentators and even some riders – usually ones who aren’t winning, bemoaning that power meters have turned riders into robots and have taken the spontaneity out of racing. Although there have been some riders in recent years who could be accused of “stem gazing”, for the vast majority of pros, who have spent years and hundreds of thousands of kilometres in the saddle, a power meter is mainly for post-race analysis. 

Training with power

Top pros are so in tune with what their bodies are capable of that, even without a power meter, they could probably give you a pretty accurate estimate of their wattage at any moment. For us mere mortals though, we lack that insight and intuition into how hard we’re pushing and a power meter provides a shortcut to pro perfect pacing. 

Instant intensity feedback

One of the biggest advantages of a power meter over a heart rate monitor is that any change in your riding intensity is fed back instantaneously whereas, with heart rate, there will always be a significant lag. This isn’t so much of an issue on longer even paced efforts but, for shorter intervals and punchier rides, your heart rate just doesn’t react fast enough.

When training any intervals of less than five minutes are incredibly hard to pace with heart rate. If you’re trying to hold Zone 5, using heart rate and building into the zone over the first minute of so to allow for lag, it’s likely you’ll undercook it. Conversely, if you punch your heart rate up hard, chances are you’ll blow long before the five minutes is up. With power, you can guarantee hitting the correct wattage from first to last pedal stroke of the interval.

Not affected by external factors

A row with your other half, an extra pre-ride espresso, nerves or being late for the Ride Captain’s briefing can all raise your heart rate. Don’t forget it can also be impacted by illness, hydration level, air temperature and altitude. If you’re especially fatigued from a hard training block, this can also flatten your heart rate. 

For longer rides, there’s also a physiological phenomenon known as cardiac drift where, over the course of a long ride, your heart rate will rise even though you’re not working harder. This effect can be as pronounced as 15% and, although it can be managed with optimal hydration, it can’t be completely negated.

When riding indoors, many riders, in relation to their perceived effort, find that their heart rate is typically 10-15 beats per minute lower than it would be outside. There are a number of reasons for this, such as reduced recruitment of core/stabiliser muscles and simple boredom but, as long as your pain cave is well ventilated, you have a decent fan and your position is the same, your power numbers should be similar to riding outdoors. 

Perfect pacing = optimised training

All of the above means that whether you’re on a long training ride, tackling an Alpine climb, riding a 10-mile TT or nailing an interval session, as long as you’ve tested for your Functional Threshold Power (FTP), set training zones based on it and ride to them, you’ll be able to pace your effort perfectly.

Accurate Analytics

With power derived performance metrics and using a platform such as TrainingPeaks you can accurately analyse sessions you’ve done and see how future planned rides will impact your cycling fitness. You really can take the guesswork out of tapering and peaking for key events.

You’ll also have a far more accurate gauge of calorie expenditure than the estimates based on heart rate, age and weight. This can be really useful for planning fuelling or if you’re looking to lose a few pounds.

We’ll dive into post ride analysis, key metrics and how to understand our power data in future articles. 

So, should I chuck out my heart rate strap?

Definitely not. Your power meter tells you what output your body is producing and your heart rate monitor shows the impact this is having on your body. By becoming aware of the impact of one on the other, you can get a real insight into the effect that your training is having. For example, we’ve already mentioned how a block of hard training can flatten heart rate. So if you notice that despite pushing high watts your heart rate stays stubbornly low and your perceived effort feels relatively high, it could well be time to back things off. 

There’s also a metric known as the “rate of decoupling”. Over the course of a long ride, if there’s a significant divergence between power and heart rate, decoupling is said to have occurred. This can point to diminishing efficiency, possible poor pacing early on and a need for improved endurance.

SHARE

Share on facebook
Share on twitter

Pre-register for priority access

Pre-register for priority access
Road or Gravel (select option)
previous arrow
01London_Paris_Calais_Hotel
02London_Paris_Calais_Hotel
03London_Paris_Calais_Hotel
04London_Paris_Calais_Hotel
PlayPause
next arrow
01London_Paris_Calais_Hotel
02London_Paris_Calais_Hotel
03London_Paris_Calais_Hotel
04London_Paris_Calais_Hotel
previous arrow
next arrow
previous arrow
01.hotchillee_suisse_gravel_Eden_Hotel
02.hotchillee_suisse_gravel_Eden_Hotel
03.hotchillee_suisse_gravel_Eden_Hotel
04.hotchillee_suisse_gravel_Eden_Hotel
PlayPause
next arrow
01.hotchillee_suisse_gravel_Eden_Hotel
02.hotchillee_suisse_gravel_Eden_Hotel
03.hotchillee_suisse_gravel_Eden_Hotel
04.hotchillee_suisse_gravel_Eden_Hotel
previous arrow
next arrow
previous arrow
02.hotchillee_suisse_gravel_Disentis_monastery_Hotel
01.hotchillee_suisse_gravel_Disentis_monastery_Hotel
PlayPause
next arrow
02.hotchillee_suisse_gravel_Disentis_monastery_Hotel
01.hotchillee_suisse_gravel_Disentis_monastery_Hotel
previous arrow
next arrow
previous arrow
01.Rollercoaster_GIORNA​3
01.Rollercoaster_GIORNA​2
01.Rollercoaster_GIORNA1​
PlayPause
next arrow
01.Rollercoaster_GIORNA​3
01.Rollercoaster_GIORNA​2
01.Rollercoaster_GIORNA1​
previous arrow
next arrow
previous arrow
01.Rollercoaster_GIORNA​3
01.Rollercoaster_GIORNA​2
01.Rollercoaster_GIORNA1​
PlayPause
next arrow
01.Rollercoaster_GIORNA​3
01.Rollercoaster_GIORNA​2
01.Rollercoaster_GIORNA1​
previous arrow
next arrow
previous arrow
Rectangle 302
Rectangle 303
Rectangle 301
Rectangle 293
Rectangle 292
PlayPause
next arrow
Rectangle 302
Rectangle 303
Rectangle 301
Rectangle 293
Rectangle 292
previous arrow
next arrow
previous arrow
01Alpine_Challenge_Morzine_Hotel
02Alpine_Challenge_Morzine_Hotel-1
03Alpine_Challenge_Morzine_Hotel
04Alpine_Challenge_Morzine_Hotel
PlayPause
next arrow
01Alpine_Challenge_Morzine_Hotel
02Alpine_Challenge_Morzine_Hotel-1
03Alpine_Challenge_Morzine_Hotel
04Alpine_Challenge_Morzine_Hotel
previous arrow
next arrow
previous arrow
The London-Paris by Tour de France gravel - Hotchillee
The London-Paris by Tour de France gravel - Hotchillee
The London-Paris by Tour de France gravel - Hotchillee
The London-Paris by Tour de France gravel - Hotchillee
The London-Paris by Tour de France gravel - Hotchillee
The London-Paris by Tour de France gravel - Hotchillee
Video Slide
The London-Paris by Tour de France gravel - Hotchillee
19.hotchillee_london_paris
The London-Paris by Tour de France gravel - Hotchillee
05.hotchillee_london_paris
18.hotchillee_london_paris
The London-Paris by Tour de France gravel - Hotchillee
14.hotchillee_london_paris
The London-Paris by Tour de France gravel - Hotchillee
03.hotchillee_london_paris
07.hotchillee_london_paris
The London-Paris by Tour de France gravel - Hotchillee
08.hotchillee_london_paris
09.hotchillee_london_paris
10.hotchillee_london_paris
11.hotchillee_london_paris
12.hotchillee_london_paris
13.hotchillee_london_paris
15.hotchillee_london_paris
16.hotchillee_london_paris
17.hotchillee_london_paris
20.hotchillee_london_paris
The London-Paris by Tour de France gravel - Hotchillee
PlayPause
next arrow
Video Slide
The London-Paris by Tour de France gravel - Hotchillee
19.hotchillee_london_paris
The London-Paris by Tour de France gravel - Hotchillee
05.hotchillee_london_paris
18.hotchillee_london_paris
The London-Paris by Tour de France gravel - Hotchillee
14.hotchillee_london_paris
The London-Paris by Tour de France gravel - Hotchillee
03.hotchillee_london_paris
07.hotchillee_london_paris
The London-Paris by Tour de France gravel - Hotchillee
08.hotchillee_london_paris
09.hotchillee_london_paris
10.hotchillee_london_paris
11.hotchillee_london_paris
12.hotchillee_london_paris
13.hotchillee_london_paris
15.hotchillee_london_paris
16.hotchillee_london_paris
17.hotchillee_london_paris
20.hotchillee_london_paris
The London-Paris by Tour de France gravel - Hotchillee
previous arrow
next arrow
previous arrow
02London_Paris_Amiens_Hotel
03London_Paris_Amiens_Hotel
04London_Paris_Amiens_Hotel
01London_Paris_Amiens_Hotel
PlayPause
next arrow
02London_Paris_Amiens_Hotel
03London_Paris_Amiens_Hotel
04London_Paris_Amiens_Hotel
01London_Paris_Amiens_Hotel
previous arrow
next arrow
previous arrow
Video
PlayPlay
05hotchillee_rollercoaster
01hotchillee_rollercoaster
03hotchillee_rollercoaster
12hotchillee_rollercoaster-1
14hotchillee_rollercoaster
10hotchillee_rollercoaster
09hotchillee_rollercoaster
04hotchillee_rollercoaster
13hotchillee_rollercoaster
12hotchillee_rollercoaster
08hotchillee_rollercoaster
06hotchillee_rollercoaster
02hotchillee_rollercoaster
07hotchillee_rollercoaster
PlayPause
next arrow
Video
05hotchillee_rollercoaster
01hotchillee_rollercoaster
03hotchillee_rollercoaster
12hotchillee_rollercoaster-1
14hotchillee_rollercoaster
10hotchillee_rollercoaster
09hotchillee_rollercoaster
04hotchillee_rollercoaster
13hotchillee_rollercoaster
12hotchillee_rollercoaster
08hotchillee_rollercoaster
06hotchillee_rollercoaster
02hotchillee_rollercoaster
07hotchillee_rollercoaster
previous arrow
next arrow
previous arrow
Slide
PlayPlay
image-slider-with-thumbnail1.jpeg
image-slider-with-thumbnail2.jpeg
image-slider-with-thumbnail7.jpeg
PlayPause
next arrow
Slide
image-slider-with-thumbnail1.jpeg
image-slider-with-thumbnail2.jpeg
image-slider-with-thumbnail7.jpeg
previous arrow
next arrow
previous arrow
Slide
PlayPlay
02.hotchillee_alpine_challenge
01.hotchillee_alpine_challenge
11.hotchillee_alpine_challenge
10.hotchillee_alpine_challenge
09.hotchillee_alpine_challenge
06.hotchillee_alpine_challenge
05.hotchillee_alpine_challenge
03hotchillee_alpine_challenge
04hotchillee_alpine_challenge
07hotchillee_alpine_challenge
08hotchillee_alpine_challenge
12hotchillee_alpine_challenge
PlayPause
next arrow
Slide
02.hotchillee_alpine_challenge
01.hotchillee_alpine_challenge
11.hotchillee_alpine_challenge
10.hotchillee_alpine_challenge
09.hotchillee_alpine_challenge
06.hotchillee_alpine_challenge
05.hotchillee_alpine_challenge
03hotchillee_alpine_challenge
04hotchillee_alpine_challenge
07hotchillee_alpine_challenge
08hotchillee_alpine_challenge
12hotchillee_alpine_challenge
previous arrow
next arrow
previous arrow
12hotchillee_suisse_gravel
08hotchillee_suisse_gravel
06hotchillee_suisse_gravel
07hotchillee_suisse_gravel
04hotchillee_suisse_gravel
01hotchillee_suisse_gravel_challenge
09hotchillee_suisse_gravel
05hotchillee_suisse_gravel
11hotchillee_suisse_gravel
03hotchillee_suisse_gravel
10hotchillee_suisse_gravel
02hotchillee_suisse_gravel
13hotchillee_suisse_gravel
PlayPause
next arrow
12hotchillee_suisse_gravel
08hotchillee_suisse_gravel
06hotchillee_suisse_gravel
07hotchillee_suisse_gravel
04hotchillee_suisse_gravel
01hotchillee_suisse_gravel_challenge
09hotchillee_suisse_gravel
05hotchillee_suisse_gravel
11hotchillee_suisse_gravel
03hotchillee_suisse_gravel
10hotchillee_suisse_gravel
02hotchillee_suisse_gravel
13hotchillee_suisse_gravel
previous arrow
next arrow
previous arrow
hotchillee_girona-rendezous_event
01.hotchillee_girona-rendezous
02.hotchillee_girona-rendezous
03.hotchillee_girona-rendezous
04.hotchillee_girona-rendezous
12.hotchillee_girona-rendezous
11.hotchillee_girona-rendezous
10.hotchillee_girona-rendezous
09.hotchillee_girona-rendezous
08.hotchillee_girona-rendezous
07.hotchillee_girona-rendezous
06.hotchillee_girona-rendezous
05.hotchillee_girona-rendezous
hotchillee_girona-rendezous_event
PlayPause
next arrow
01.hotchillee_girona-rendezous
02.hotchillee_girona-rendezous
03.hotchillee_girona-rendezous
04.hotchillee_girona-rendezous
12.hotchillee_girona-rendezous
11.hotchillee_girona-rendezous
10.hotchillee_girona-rendezous
09.hotchillee_girona-rendezous
08.hotchillee_girona-rendezous
07.hotchillee_girona-rendezous
06.hotchillee_girona-rendezous
05.hotchillee_girona-rendezous
hotchillee_girona-rendezous_event
previous arrow
next arrow
previous arrow
Slide
PlayPlay
02.hotchillee_alpine_challenge
01.hotchillee_alpine_challenge
11.hotchillee_alpine_challenge
10.hotchillee_alpine_challenge
09.hotchillee_alpine_challenge
06.hotchillee_alpine_challenge
05.hotchillee_alpine_challenge
03hotchillee_alpine_challenge
04hotchillee_alpine_challenge
07hotchillee_alpine_challenge
08hotchillee_alpine_challenge
12hotchillee_alpine_challenge
PlayPause
next arrow
Slide
02.hotchillee_alpine_challenge
01.hotchillee_alpine_challenge
11.hotchillee_alpine_challenge
10.hotchillee_alpine_challenge
09.hotchillee_alpine_challenge
06.hotchillee_alpine_challenge
05.hotchillee_alpine_challenge
03hotchillee_alpine_challenge
04hotchillee_alpine_challenge
07hotchillee_alpine_challenge
08hotchillee_alpine_challenge
12hotchillee_alpine_challenge
previous arrow
next arrow
previous arrow
01Alpine_Challenge_Megve_Hotel
02Alpine_Challenge_Megve_Hotel-1
02Alpine_Challenge_Megve_Hotel
PlayPause
next arrow
01Alpine_Challenge_Megve_Hotel
02Alpine_Challenge_Megve_Hotel-1
02Alpine_Challenge_Megve_Hotel
previous arrow
next arrow
previous arrow
01London_Paris_Paris_Hotel
02London_Paris_Paris_Hotel
03London_Paris_Paris_Hotel
04London_Paris_Paris_Hotel
PlayPause
next arrow
01London_Paris_Paris_Hotel
02London_Paris_Paris_Hotel
03London_Paris_Paris_Hotel
04London_Paris_Paris_Hotel
previous arrow
next arrow
previous arrow
THE LONDON_PARIS by Tour de France hospitality
20200920TDF1031-A.S.O._Pauline_Ballet
20200920TDF1010-A.S.O._Pauline_Ballet
20190728TDF2022-A.S.O._Thomas_MAHEUX (1)
THE LONDON_PARIS by Tour de France hospitality
20200920TDF1031-A.S.O._Pauline_Ballet
20200920TDF1010-A.S.O._Pauline_Ballet
20190728TDF2022-A.S.O._Thomas_MAHEUX (1)
PlayPause
next arrow
THE LONDON_PARIS by Tour de France hospitality
20200920TDF1031-A.S.O._Pauline_Ballet
20200920TDF1010-A.S.O._Pauline_Ballet
20190728TDF2022-A.S.O._Thomas_MAHEUX (1)
previous arrow
next arrow

GLEN WHITTINGTON

Glen is usually behind the scenes making sure that the Hotchillee Ride Captains and event participants have fully functioning bicycles to ride but he occasionally makes an appearance in front of the camera to share his wisdom. If he’s not fixing or building bikes he’ll be out riding in #SweetSussex. If you want to know anything about Cyclocross, Glen is the man to ask.

Website: www.aeightbikeco.com

Instagram: @aeightracer

London Great Gravel Get Away Pod Tents
London Great Gravel Get Away Pod Tents
PlayPause
London Great Gravel Get Away Pod Tents
previous arrow
next arrow
previous arrow
bell tent 4
bell tent 5
bell tent 6
Bell tent
PlayPause
next arrow
bell tent 4
bell tent 5
bell tent 6
Bell tent
previous arrow
next arrow
Wild Cycles Bell tent
PlayPause
Wild Cycles Bell tent
previous arrow
next arrow
Acorn tent sleeps two with bedding (1)
Acorn tent sleeps two with bedding (1)
PlayPause
Acorn tent sleeps two with bedding (1)
previous arrow
next arrow
London Great Gravel Get Away Pod Tents
London Great Gravel Get Away Pod Tents
PlayPause
London Great Gravel Get Away Pod Tents
previous arrow
next arrow

NIK COOK

Consultant with British Cycling and author of the Road Cycling Performance Manual. Lover of cobbles, gravel and Siberian Pine – not so keen on climbs! Nik is the author of all of the Hotchillee Training Plans, Zwift workout files and regularly posts tips and advice on the Hotchillee app. He’s also the evil genius behind the now infamous Hotchillee Gain Train.

Twitter: @nikalascook

Instagram: @nikalascook

previous arrow
01.Rollercoaster_villa
02.Rollercoaster_villa
03.Rollercoaster_villa
04.Rollercoaster_villa
PlayPause
next arrow
01.Rollercoaster_villa
02.Rollercoaster_villa
03.Rollercoaster_villa
04.Rollercoaster_villa
previous arrow
next arrow

ADELE SMYTH

Adele has worked within the health and fitness industry for over 25 years starting with a ballet and dance background herself, she has progressed to training and teaching all styles of fitness and offers Pilates, barre & yoga. As a keen runner, Adele appreciates the need for a strong healthy body and mind and incorporates many elements of Pilates, yoga and barre into her own training to ensure her strength and stamina remain.

Website: www.purebodybyadele.co.uk

Instagram: @purebodybyadele

previous arrow
Hotchillee the ridgeway off road
Hotchillee the ridgeway off road
Hotchillee the ridgeway off road
Hotchillee the ridgeway off road
Hotchillee the ridgeway off road
Hotchillee the ridgeway off road
Hotchillee the ridgeway off road
Hotchillee the ridgeway off road
Hotchillee the ridgeway off road
Hotchillee the ridgeway off road
Hotchillee the ridgeway off road
Hotchillee the ridgeway off road
Hotchillee the ridgeway off road
Hotchillee the ridgeway off road
Hotchillee the ridgeway off road
Hotchillee the ridgeway off road
Hotchillee the ridgeway off road
Hotchillee the ridgeway off road
Hotchillee the ridgeway off road
Hotchillee the ridgeway off road
Hotchillee the ridgeway off road
Hotchillee the ridgeway off road
Hotchillee the ridgeway off road
Hotchillee the ridgeway off road
PlayPause
next arrow
Hotchillee the ridgeway off road
Hotchillee the ridgeway off road
Hotchillee the ridgeway off road
Hotchillee the ridgeway off road
Hotchillee the ridgeway off road
Hotchillee the ridgeway off road
Hotchillee the ridgeway off road
Hotchillee the ridgeway off road
Hotchillee the ridgeway off road
Hotchillee the ridgeway off road
Hotchillee the ridgeway off road
Hotchillee the ridgeway off road
previous arrow
next arrow
previous arrow
Hill Climb Champs Weekend - Peak District, Hotchillee
Hill Climb Champs Weekend - Peak District, Hotchillee
Hill Climb Champs Weekend - Peak District, Hotchillee
Hill Climb Champs Weekend - Peak District, Hotchillee
Hill Climb Champs Weekend - Peak District, Hotchillee
Hill Climb Champs Weekend - Peak District, Hotchillee
Hill Climb Champs Weekend - Peak District, Hotchillee
Hill Climb Champs Weekend - Peak District, Hotchillee
Hill Climb Champs Weekend - Peak District, Hotchillee
Hill Climb Champs Weekend - Peak District, Hotchillee
Hill Climb Champs Weekend - Peak District, Hotchillee
Hill Climb Champs Weekend - Peak District, Hotchillee
Hill Climb Champs Weekend - Peak District, Hotchillee
Hill Climb Champs Weekend - Peak District, Hotchillee