Wednesday, February 24, 2010

The Extra Lap: Power... Or lack there of!

I was short for time today because I have a s**t load of crap due, and all of it gets in the way of training. It’s almost March and I am trying to avoid training out of fear. Fear is a great motivator but doesn’t make you fit. Fear just leads to overtraining, injury and depression. Honestly, if you have not been putting in the miles all winter you are going to have a wee bit of difficulty with that extra lap. Unfortunately, that is an accurate description of ‘yours truly’. So I am trying to avoid training out of fear even if I am afraid. What I am saying is I am trying to stick to the plan as much as possible, but life keeps getting in the way. I have managed to put in 2 solid runs every week since the end of the race season… but because of 'life' not much other then that. Typically on Tuesdays I have been doing a 2-hour 15-miler threshold run… Ya I know I suck at running… but I have a bum hamstring that will keep me off the treadmill for a couple of weeks. What to do? I live in a gym (and lab) so I actually have many options, and few excuses for not doing ‘something’ to maintain my fitness while I heal. The problem is I always prefer to ride my own bike (rollers, wind trainer etc) rather then the crappy gym bikes (that is an excuse). But it is such a royal pain in the ass to get suited up for a midnight interval session that I caved in, and jumped on one of the crappy gym bikes which has a fairly accurate power meter.

I hate power meters! It is easier to maintain the illusion that I am a late blooming European pro squirreled away in my secrete northern training camp when I ride at home without power! Denying reality on my basement rollers is bliss compared to the stark reality of a watts meter. So because I am desperate to ‘not be desperate to train’, I endured the reality of a power workout... or lack there of. The reality is not only do I suck at running, I suck at riding too. Suck or not I like racing a hell of a lot more then you do (that's what I tell myself when my watts suck), and that crappy gym bike actually wasn't that bad. It has a TV and I watched the Canadian Men’s Hockey team kick ass while getting the job done. Sweat!

Come hell or high water I am going to stick to the plan – yes adapt when life gets in the way – but I refuse to train out of fear. Thursday it’s back to the singletrack river trails on my anorexic fat bike.

That me,



  1. I always thought Power training was BS as well until I did it the last couple of years... once you understand it fully (which Im sure you do) and apply a good program to it, its highly beneficial...
    The draw backs of course are they are freakin expensive... limited on componetry (Powertap you need a wheel, SRM crank options are limited, Metrigear is stuck on a speedplay pedal, Ibike.. well Ibike is just plain $hit... Quarq crank limitations...

  2. Although I can’t say I have ever shared your skepticism it is a useful tool for training especially if you race bikes. Although the cost is dropping as other competitors enter the market the cost is still prohibitive for most recreational and weekend warriors. Every design has inherent problems, and proclaimed benefits, but few (if any) of the athletes who use them have the academic background to fully realize their potential using power as a training tool. It is like resistance training. People go to a gym with a picture book of exercises feeling confident in their new found knowledge. They (wrongly) believe they are capable of designing, executing and modifying a program to meet their personal needs. Granted they will probably make some progress. Even if you do everything wrong when you are a beginner you will adapt. However, this is very different then maximizing development. As a start you would have a strong background in biomechanics, functionally anatomy, and exercise physiology before you start with power meters. Not bloody likely! The really problem with power is people believe that what they read is God’s given word. Power training is in its infancy. Most of the ‘this is the way it is’ is actually some keeners experience with the ‘most common practice’, based on an Exercise Physiologist’s idea of ‘what we think might work’.