Monday, 16 December 2013

Power Meters, Cadence sensores, Heart Rate monitors Information Overload

Over the last few years cycling has become more of a science than a sport. Fitness in general has also gone that way with fitbits and smart phone apps. In this quick artical I will focus on the bike, and leave talking about cadence and running for another blog.

We all want to improve our skills and capacity to do the sport we like, so how can the data from gadgets help us or should we rethink.?

Here are some quotes from DC RainMaker a triathlete and blogger and indepth tester of new trends.

Typically cyclists aim for about 95RPM, however, recent research is showing that a self selected cadence tends to work out best for most athletes. Nonetheless, no matter how you train, the Polar cadence sensor allows you to capture that data and analyze it later on.

Ok so if you know your average cadence when out riding you could use this data to improve your gear selection to push less weight and be more efficient, but you may find that out on a mountain bike riding up a rocky crag at a steep gradient in the lowest gear that your cadence has plumeted. So this data is unhelpful, our concentration is better spent looking where we are going :-)

Heart Rate data for me is a great way to train, it is individual, we are affected by many elements, wind, heat, cold, coffee, stress but using the beats per minuite is 100% YOU on that day, so if you run or ride in the zones that interest you it can only help improve fitness and performance.

Here is another point of view about not using HR, however... and using power meters

I could say the same for the powere meter as the cadence sensor, here is another quote from DC,

Now comes the question of what to do with this data.  See, it’s not quite as straightforward as you’d think.  Garmin themselves doesn’t recommend you try and focus on maintaining “perfect balance”, and many other leading sport scientists in the field agree.  The reality is that collectively the industry doesn’t yet know what to do with the data, nor how to train or race with it.  The singular reason that left/right power can be useful for however is injury recovery.  For example in a leg injury, being able to see and plot progress back to a pre-injury state (or just something slightly more normal).

This data has a huge price tag and has very little day to day use.

Here is my recomendation. Once a year, twice if you can aford it, this way you can build a profile of your condition over time. Do a VO2 max test at a university sports unit and get your data right. The test will show you your power output in Watts, heart rate zones, lactate thresholds and your will get recomendations of how to train just using simple HR zones to help improve.

Here is some of the advice I got from Human Performance Unit at Essex University to help me train after the numbers were crunched.

For me this is the most cost affective way to train, you can focus on enjoying the riding and keep an eye on the numbers at home rather than a bike computer on the bike. And any wildlife that might pop up...hello hog.

On my bike is a simple wireless trip meter, I wear a HR strap and my watch. That way when the ride is finished I can see how far the ride was and how hard I have worked out. I can then use this to plan my rest days, amount of extra calories needed for recovery, how best to train on the next session and forget the other stuff.

Murcia, 500m, 15/12/13

No comments:

Post a Comment