Monday, September 24, 2007

The Road Cyclist's Guide to Training by Power - Charles Howe with Andrew Coggan

A good post over at the Mid-Georgia Mid-pack training referencing the "The Road Cyclist's Guide to Training by Power" by Charles Howe with Dr. Andrew Coggan's input.

If you are interested in racing and want to know how a power meter can help you train you should start by reading this document. It is a free guide outlining most of the extant ideas and concepts on training for road racing using power meters.


2 Foreword and acknowledgements
3 Introduction
5 Energetics of road cycling
9 Power-based training levels
14 Training principles
16 Power Profiling™
23 The annual training plan
28 Miscellaneous notes on training
38 Tables and illustrations
47 Bibliography
58 Appendices
65 Endpages

The introduction is short and covers the pro's and con's or using a power meter:
1. It eliminates guesswork from gauging exercise intensity.
2. Similarly, power-measuring systems allow the demands of racing to be quantified, using interpretive tools such as Normalized Power and Quadrant Analysis,
3. It allows fitness to be precisely quantified, and training regimes to be objectively evaluated
4. It allows training load to be more realistically assessed and effectively managed,
5. Powermeters have other uses, such as pacing during time trials and even breakaways in mass start races; aerodynamic testing; stationary trainer calibration; and possibly as an aid to dieting and weight control.
Still, any advocate of power-based training should have an appreciation of its limitations:
1. It appeals to the more analytical and technically-oriented.
2. It lends itself to a structured program, while demanding discipline and patience.
3. It is conducive to solitary training.
4. Even the most affordable models are expensive.

Energetics of road cycling, covers the theory behind power and how it is produced in the body. Mainly the phosphagen system, non-aerobic glycolysis and the aerobic system. Also explaining how each needs to be tested and trained separately.

Power-based training, (section by Andrew Coggan) is adapted from earlier postings and proposes a training regime based on power levels. From
Level 1 - Active recuperation
Level 2 - Endurance
Level 3 - Tempo
Level 4 - Lactate Threshold
Level 5 - Maximal aerobic power
Level 6 - Aerobic Capacity
Level 7 - Neuromuscular power
These are matched to the power systems previously introduced and the expected physiological and performance adaptations from training at each level is discussed.

Training principles, covers the concepts for how to train:

1. Periodization
2. Individualization
3. Progessive Overload
4. Balance
5. Specificity
6. Reversibility
7. Tapering and Peaking
8. Evaluation
9. Rest, recuperation and diet
Power Profiling™. is another posting from Andrew Coggan explaining his Power Profile Charts. These use your best 5 second, 1 minute, 5 minute and Functional Threshold (60 minute) power levels to show your strengths and weaknesses. These levels roughly equate to the power sources suggested above. And the shape of your power profile to some extent will show what you should be good at (e.g. sprinting versus road racing versus time trialing).

The annual training plan, discusses how to build an annual training plan based on precepts proposed in the previous sections.

Miscellaneous notes on, provides some additional information. Notably a section on sprint and interval workout tips, again from the perspectives gained from being able to measure power.

This quote explains quite succinctly what I need to do for sprinting:
As Adam Myerson has pointed out, someone with a high maximum wattage should typically go later, i.e., follow wheels, save their burst, and come off a wheel at the last moment, whereas a rider with a lower maximum but a good average sprint wattage needs to go early and
try to hold on until the finish.
Another sub-section "Structure and Stochasticity" discusses "Racing is the best form of training".

Heart rate monitors are discussed in "Hi-Intensity confusion: the misuse of Heart Rate".

Overtraining and how to avoid it is covered. Along with some suggestions and comments on indoor training.

Finally extensive tables and charts are provided showing the types of information that can be gained. And an extensive bibliography is provided.