Training with heart rate and power

Why train with heart rate and power?

As you’ve progressed through your training in the lead up to your big event, you may have heard friends or fellow cyclists speaking about heart rate zones and power numbers. If you don’t have a clue what they mean, or perhaps you want to explore this training method but don’t know where to start, then this article, written by the experts at Wattbike, is for you.

Power explained

Power (Watts), simply measures your power output over a set period of time. Out on the road, power translates into your ability to move mass, for example yourself and your bike, over distance, for example your Saturday ride route.

Three benefits of training with power

An increase in power will improve your ability to move mass over distance. Therefore, more power equals more speed. While everybody wants more speed, there are three other benefits of training with power that should not be missed:

  1. Training becomes more efficient because you can accurately measure your performance, meaning every single session counts towards achieving your goal
  2. Measurement of your fitness levels becomes quantitative and accurate, allowing you to identify areas of improvement
  3. Comparing your performance to your previous efforts, your friends or even professional athletes becomes easy – seeing your performance improve and striving to get closer to the power numbers of the pros can be extremely motivating

How to use heart rate and power when training

Increase your speed using precise intervals

Incorporating intervals into your training is a great way to build up speed. Interval training with heart rate alone can be challenging due to heart rate lag, whereas training with a combination of heart rate and power allows you to measure the precise intensity of every interval and takes the guesswork out of your training.

Measure your fitness levels and identify your improvements

Training – and more specifically testing with power – gives you accurate results which can be used as a baseline performance measurement. If you test yourself regularly and follow the Prudential RideLondon-Surrey 100 training plan, you’ll soon see an improvement in your power figures.

Further down the line, you will also start to notice a decrease in your heart rate for the same amount of power output – this is where you can tell you’re really starting to improve.

To get started with testing, read our simple test guide and start measuring your improvements now.

For the most effective training…

For the most effective training we recommend combining your power and heart rate data. To read more about how heart rate and power combine to bring you effective training, read Wattbike’s Sport Scientist Eddie Fletcher’s blog.