General Discussion Triathlon Talk » Making Sense of Power Numbers - NP, IF, TSS etc Rss Feed  
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2013-10-23 7:47 PM

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Los Gatos
Subject: Making Sense of Power Numbers - NP, IF, TSS etc

I've been considering making the investment in a power meter but before I spend the money, I've borrowed a friends PowerTap wheel, just to get a feel for what power might do for me.

I took it out for my first ride this afternoon and I now have a whole pile of new metrics to analyze - power, normalized power, intensity factor, training stress score....

Two questions:

a) what are the key metrics I want to be displaying on my Garmin *during* my ride?

b) what the the key metrics to analyze *after* the ride?

By the way, I do have an estimate of my FTP (measured using TrainerRoad "virtual power" on my trainer) so my IF and TSS numbers should be somewhat meaningful.


2013-10-23 8:24 PM
in reply to: 0

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Madison, Wisconsin
Subject: RE: Making Sense of Power Numbers - NP, IF, TSS etc
This is a really loaded question so ill keep my answer short and let you respond with what else you want to know.

During the ride this is what I have on my display:
Avg Watts (3sec)
Normalized Power
Lap Power
Grade (only to know if I am on a false flat)

I look at my AVG, NP, and lap power the most and glances at cadence some to make sure I am not fatiguing.

After the ride I look at everything during my intervals, but when racing I focus on VI, and certain amounts of peak power over time.

If I am riding a course where it matters I will check in my watts/kg every once in a while, but that number isn't important to all courses.

There is A LOT of data in power meters to analyze, but don't get caught up in analyzing every ride, its really not needed. I would analyze your key sessions and maybe longer rides to see how consistently you ride. Find the data points that have meaning and you understand really what they mean and signify throughout the ride. Races look at the whole shebang.

If you have some free time and want reading material get "Training and Racing with a Powermeter" its the equivalent of a semester long class in college for power meters if one such existed.

EDIT: I don't look at TSS scores too much as everyone's bodies handle those stresses differently and the numerical values given can have different impacts on every individual IMO.

Edited by bcagle25 2013-10-23 8:44 PM
2013-10-23 8:30 PM
in reply to: bcagle25

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Subject: RE: Making Sense of Power Numbers - NP, IF, TSS etc

Read all you can including a couple of power books for triathletes before you invest in a PM otherwise you have an expensive bike computer.

I usually have three screens that I have set to scroll through with 3 or 4 lines per display.

PM helps you be honest in training to push hard in your hard intervals and to keep it checked back  when doing easy work. Another key it helps is to learn pacing by learning to keep your vi lower.

PM will help you learn to work hard and make solid gains on trainer over winter if you aren't able to ride outside all year.

2013-10-23 8:30 PM
in reply to: smallard

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Subject: RE: Making Sense of Power Numbers - NP, IF, TSS etc
Training peaks website has some articles you may want to check out. Reading one of the power books goes into more details, but you can sort of get the jist of it by reading some of these. Scroll down to the cycling articles and you'll see some of the power related ones there.
2013-10-23 8:42 PM
in reply to: smallard

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Greenville, SC
Subject: RE: Making Sense of Power Numbers - NP, IF, TSS etc

a) I'm not sure what you want to display, but powerwise i show 3s average power and normalized power(group rides) average power(solo efforts).  i also show the grade since false flats can kill your ego...

b) as of right now nothing.  you need to ride with a meter for at least a month or two just gathering data before the numbers even mean anything to you.  right now you have nothing to compare the data from your ride to, so looking at it means nothing.  I use golden cheetah for my analysis and it works pretty well.  i would also recommend getting a copy of "Training and Racing with a Power Meter"; it goes over everything you may ever want to know.

2013-10-23 9:53 PM
in reply to: smallard

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Extreme Veteran
Subject: RE: Making Sense of Power Numbers - NP, IF, TSS etc
These days I display very few metrics during a race, but I analyze several. If you ride smoothly many metrics are redundant during a ride so no need to display during the actual race.

Here's what I display and analyze after

3s rolling average
Average lap power (set to manual lap)
Elapsed time
(I don't display anything else during the race)

Analyze after a race
NP, VI, TSS, others depending on interest level at the time (quadrant analysis etc)

Analyze at various times during the season
TSS (pretty regularly), IF (when planning training sessions), Cadence (once in a very long while I will take a look at this)

2013-10-23 11:25 PM
in reply to: smallard

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State College, PA
Subject: RE: Making Sense of Power Numbers - NP, IF, TSS etc
1. During the ride is a personal choice depending on your priorities. I always have my 3sec average power and cadence displayed on my 910xt. I use my power zones for training so I like to know where I'm at with just a glance.

2. After the ride can be a bit more complicated. One of the best resources is the book 'Training and Racing with a Power Meter' by Dr. Coggan and Hunter Allen. It's more based on straight cycling but most things apply to everyone and there are a few chapters specifically for triathletes.
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