General Discussion Triathlon Talk » Power Meter for Newbie Rss Feed  
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2017-07-28 12:54 PM

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Subject: Power Meter for Newbie
This is my first year. I've been training steadily and feel good. I have done a lot of biking because that was the area I had the least experience in. I got an old 2005 Trek Equinox 7 aluminum tri bike from a friend with an ultegra/105 mix set. He gave it to me for free I just had to spend about $150 for a tune-up and new cassette and chain. I really don't want to spend more money on a power meter than I did on the bike. Do I really need to test my wattage? Overall I have done 1 sprint tri and 4 brick sessions. I feel that I have been able to gauge my effort and strength based off my HR monitor relatively well. I was able to pull off a 21.5 mph split for my sprint tri and then run an easy negative split on my run (probably too easy). I'm not satisfied with just finishing I want to beat a lot of people, like top 10-20% in my 30-34 AG at Chicago OD. I only have 4 weeks left and not sure if I should go for it. After my sprint I realized that my strengths are definitely my swim and bike, I was 7th/350 on my swim with a 7:31 500M pace and I was 30/350 on the bike overall. My run was slower but I definitely had more left I didn't push. I know I need to push harder to place higher, is HR sufficient or should I go for the power meter?


2017-07-28 1:09 PM
in reply to: jnuger


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Subject: RE: Power Meter for Newbie
You don't need a power meter now. HR will be a good training tool for now. It is a useful tool to train with, but for a sprint not needed.
2017-07-28 1:35 PM
in reply to: jnuger


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Subject: RE: Power Meter for Newbie
At this point I don't think you need one. Go off HR and perceived effort. If you get more serious and/or into longer distance events then it might be something to consider.

A power meter is a great tool to have if you understand how to use the information it provides. I know people that have them but don't have a clue what to do with the data. I have one but my coach taught me what to do with the numbers and he uses the data to create my race plans/workouts. I do primarily long distance triathlons and time trial races. I think if I was only doing short stuff I wouldn't have spent the money on it.
2017-07-28 2:24 PM
in reply to: 0

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Subject: RE: Power Meter for Newbie

Originally posted by katgirl2013 At this point I don't think you need one. Go off HR and perceived effort. If you get more serious and/or into longer distance events then it might be something to consider. A power meter is a great tool to have if you understand how to use the information it provides. I know people that have them but don't have a clue what to do with the data. I have one but my coach taught me what to do with the numbers and he uses the data to create my race plans/workouts. I do primarily long distance triathlons and time trial races. I think if I was only doing short stuff I wouldn't have spent the money on it.

You were doing fine until you got there. 

Jnuger - I've got a Power Tap wheel set (meter in rear hub) that has been sitting for about 2 years (bought a Quarq meter so no longer use it).  If I remember right, it was going through batteries pretty fast toward the end, which usually means it needs an update.  My guess is you could send it in to Cycleops and get it repaired fairly cheaply.  They are now about 650-700.00 for a new PT wheel set the best I can see.  If you want to take the time to get it updated, I'll take 100 bucks and you pay the shipping (I've got a wheel box to ship it in sitting here so it'll just be shipping cost).  I would get you started on training with power for about as cheap as you can go.  If you're interested PM me and I can take some pictures, trade phone #'s, etc.



Edited by Left Brain 2017-07-28 2:31 PM
2017-07-28 2:29 PM
in reply to: jnuger

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Subject: RE: Power Meter for Newbie

With just a couple weeks of solid training left, it's a toss-up on whether the PM will help or not. If you like, you can still get one and collect data for a while (something anyone just getting into it should do). It is a helpful tool, though it's necessary to take a little time to understand some things with it first. Think longer term. Do know that not everyone who uses one likes it. I love having mine, but my brother was kind of meh as he just wasn't doing anything with the data, so sold his off.

2017-07-28 5:00 PM
in reply to: jnuger

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Subject: RE: Power Meter for Newbie

Definitely not needed.  People raced at the absolute highest level for many years, and some still do without using a power meter.  A power meter by itself will not make you faster on the bike.  You have to know how to use it, and also be willing to interpret the data, analyze it, or at least have someone analyze it for you.  Not everyone is interested in that type of analytics and rather ride by feel.  Others love the idea of chasing numbers and it provides added motivation to train.

I would recommend buying one of the books on power meter training.  Usually they are about $20.  If you can't read the whole book and feel excited about training with power then it might not be for you...at least at this time.



2017-07-28 7:32 PM
in reply to: Jason N

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Subject: RE: Power Meter for Newbie
Agree that it's not needed, but it can be a useful tool and not necessarily just for someone with years in the sport. I didn't get a power meter until about 18 months ago when I started working with a coach who preferred to use power-based plans, but actually in my first years of tri, before I got a bike trainer, I was doing most of my harder cycling workouts on gym stationaries with watt meters (while not terribly accurate, they do provide some kind of metric that is consistent between workouts) and using power-based plans here on BT. I have a strong run and swim background and good sense of pace/effort for those sports, but not so much for cycling--my only background had been casual touring and commuting. I found power to be really helpful in structuring workouts and giving me a sense of how I was progressing; also think had I gotten one for my bike and learned how to use it sooner, I might have avoided some of the overtraining, gearing, cadence, and pacing mistakes I was making in my first few years that made the bike, and sometimes the run, tougher than it needed to be. For two years after I got the trainer, I trained by HR, but that can be difficult to use to structure workouts outdoors with variable terrain and weather. I was glad to return to training with power after getting the PM and feel it has been a worthwhile investment both for training and racing.

It sounds like you are already quite a strong athlete, especially on the bike. I would educate yourself on the use of the PM in training and racing, and, if you are still interested, find a model that fits your needs and budget. They need not cost as much as the bike. I think I got mine on a Black Friday special that, bundled with a Garmin bike computer, cost about $600. There are cheaper (but possibly less accurate models), also ones that are much higher-end. But no, not a necessity, especially for a relative beginner.
2017-07-31 1:48 PM
in reply to: Hot Runner

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Subject: RE: Power Meter for Newbie
Concur with most of the above posts, a power meter doesn't make you faster, and you can gain more by using a HRM and training by feel.

That being said I have a power meter and I do enjoy training with it, I don't think i'm using it to the full potential, but it has proven useful to help interpret why I felt a certain ride or segment was harder than others.

If you absolutely want a power meter right now, I'd recommend a Stages power meter, less expensive and easy to use, data isn't as accurate because its only one sided, but if you're using it as a reference it works just fine for me.

https://stagescycling.com/us/products/

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