Here we are going to look at the Metrics you can gain from your Power Meter, so you can choose the key ones to analyze from your Power file after a workout or race. From these, you will be able to gauge how smooth you are and analyze your pacing accurately. If you have competed in a few races of the same length you’ll be building a picture of the specific demands within that race, your Power file/diary, and noticing how your body copes with them, so you can create the perfect training program.
Firstly, it is important to add your weight to the equation, as the power you put through the crank, which is measured as Watts; is impacted by the weight you’re carrying. Put simply the chunky-monkey can put the same power through the crank as the racing-snake, but the racing-snake is going to be going faster uphill – it costs them fewer watts to move upwards.
Now we can look at Average power, which I use in the gym a lot as it ‘averages out’ your best efforts sprinting and spinning, within the timescale. This is, however, not a great gauge when outside with your Power meter as it doesn’t take account of traffic conditions or traffic lights. So stop/start parts of your ride, for traffic, are included as part of the workout.
In races too, Average power is a poor indicator of intensity as power can vary dramatically from when a rider is conserving energy, to attacking.
Normalised power, however, turns your Metrics from an ‘out in traffic’ ride with all the frustrations of traffic lights, etc. Into a perfect conditions ride, like a time trial. So ‘variable’ to ‘constant’. The ‘science’ behind this is that you now accurately know the power you could have maintained, at the same physiological cost.
Why you want to know this, is that it emphasizes ‘power surges’, which burn carbs like crazy, and increase fatigue. So the higher your NP is the harder the ride will ‘feel’.