Today as I rode my bike for a recovery ride I thought about how much riding with power has changed my strength. I got my power meter back in January. While I was happy to finally find one, I really didn’t do much with it or understand it very well until very recently. It was attached to my bike, and collecting data. And while I had a basic idea of what an “easy” ride was compared to a “hard” ride, I still had little understanding of what the meter could do for my cycling.
Things changed in June. I really started working with it more intensely, with more focus. I had a new FTP (Functional Threshold Power—here is Joe Friel on FTP) and new power zones with which to work while riding. I received very specific instructions via my coach on how to ride, what zones to stay in, what cadence, etc. It is such an entirely different way of training. What I love is the specificity of the data I get. I know exactly how hard I am working on the bike, which allows me to train more effectively and become a stronger cyclist. I am a numbers person! I thrive in this type of specificity through from swim to the bike to the run.
Here’s a recent example of what I am talking about. I had a bike specific block of training recently that really worked my leg strength. After a nice recovery week, I did a 10K time trial on the bike. WOW- what a difference. I really saw an improvement in my numbers, speed, stamina over the last time I did that same route for the 10K TT. I felt stronger too and more able to mentally push myself to a higher level, to not give into the voices in my head wanting to back of just a tad. In addition to that feeling, I also have had these moments on my bike where I am working hard and I feel that same sensation that you get on a hard run where its work but it feels good, you feel happy and content. This makes me very happy.
Today as I wrapped up my ride I glanced at my data and saw that my overall power was much higher but my heart rate was nice and low in zone 2. My average speed was faster, too. That I have had this growth and I’ve just started working with power excites me about the future. I know I have much room to grow and with this tool I will get there in time.