Training with Power

News & Results

08/21/2003| 0 comments
by Dean Golich

Training with Power

Guide to training with power.

are adapting the same system.   This is the flaw in HR-based training, since you could be doing 10 efforts of 3min max and 3min easy or 10 efforts of 3min max 1min easy and shows the same high HR averages, even though you?re training separate physiological systems.


In a power-based training program you should compare 3min intervals with 1min rest, to 3min intervals with a 1 min rest, to: 1.) identify improvement, 2.) monitor fatigue within the workout.   The importance of this cannot be understated: with a powermeter, you now have a definitive measure that shows whether you were better or worse when comparing two workouts. This goes for time trials and lactate threshold workouts when incorporating a rated perceived exertion.   For example, today I felt great producing 250 watts and yesterday I felt terrible producing 250 watts.  This is important since you want to get to the point of producing your highest power while feeling that it is relatively easy when compared with previous efforts.   Again, the important benefit to training with power is the ability to compare and measure specific efforts to determine what is a good workout and what is not a good workout, while excluding variables that may manipulate your psychological interpretation of the workout.


Since we base all the power ranges off of the LT power, we must consider how we arrive at this point.   If laboratory testing is not available, or if it becomes less important with the increased use of power meters, we can use the CTS Field Test (2x3mile max time trials).   We know from physiological testing data and many years of use with the power meters, most amateur athletes to elite athletes can time trial about 10% above their LT.   Athletes toward the recreational end of the spectrum tend to time trial near their actual LT. Thus, we establish the SteadyState power training range to be 10% less than (or 90% of) the average power from both CTS Field Test efforts. Again, assuming the athlete had two field test averages at 330 watts, the 10% subtracted would lead to a steady state training ceiling of 300 watts, and this would match the previous ranges provided in the aerobic table.


Table 2

CTS workouts

System (physiological)


Example LT power and power ceilings (300 watts)



Lactate Threshold

10% less then Steady State



Steady State

Lactate Threshold

10% less then Field test



Field test

Lactate Threshold

Time trail Power 330 watts


1st TT 330

2nd TT 330 avg 330


This is good time to have a time trial race power in order to identify the highest sustainable time trial power, and the length of time that power can be maintained.     Normally we see that most elite athletes can sustain a power 10% higher then their LT during a 10km to 40km TT.   Also athletes that are limited by time should consider training near there power ceiling since they need to get the

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