Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Hunter Allen interviewed.

An interesting interview with Hunter Allen over at BikeRadar...

In response the ever popular what are the benefits to a power meter question:

Top three, then...

Number one is the planning. I can actually plan my training around the response I want to get; this is called the dose and response system. Pacing is also a very, very big part. On-the-bike pacing in an event is very important, whether that’s a time trial, a criterium, a road race or even a breakaway. We often lose sight of the fact that this sport really is a sport of pacing. So we’ve got pre, during and then the post side, the actual analysis side; figuring out what the data means – did I improve, and how much can I handle?

And some more generic info:

Has coaching changed because of the use of power meters?

Now, I have a very clear understanding of what needs to be done to elicit a certain response. Before, if we wanted to improve your ability to go hard for a short period of time and recover quickly, we knew to do short intervals. Now, there are wattage numbers that we are trying to hit, a goal effort. It’s changed the prescription side of the coaching.

I actually think this is the primary benefit of training with a power meter. It allows you to optimize your time on the bike:

Does volume still count for what it did before the popularity of the power meter?

That has changed. There are a lot of these old myths that have been propagated throughout the years – base training for two months, riding really slow, or whatever. Those things work well for pros, but are just silly for the rest of us. If you’ve got eight to 10 hours a week to train, you can’t afford to ride slow. It does mean that you’ve got to keep a higher level of fitness throughout the season and take more of these smaller rest periods.

And finally a bone for us data analysis nerds:

What's the biggest mistake you see people make when training with a power meter?

They don’t value the cumulative power of all of the data. It gives you your training stress and tells you how much you can handle over three months, four months, six months... It allows you to look at it in that periodic type of way. What you really need to understand is how it all builds together. It can tell you your chronic training load [what you do every day], but you have to account for that. If you just ride, collect information and look at it in the performance manger chart in our WK0 software it can tell you a whole lot about what you can handle.

I have been trying for years to get Hunter to put this into a one-pager (well two pages double sided, and we can use a small font). Then I could print it out and put it into my track bag to hand out to people.