Brief Results From The Power Meter Project

I thought it was time to make some posts about the Power Meter Project 2007 since the project is now over and I got all the results ready for presentation. For people who haven’t heard about the Power Meter Project I will start with a short summary about the project:

Inclusion criteria: SRM or Powertap
Back in November 2006 I invited motivated riders to participate in the Power Meter Project 2007. The purpose of this project was to investigate what results completely unknown riders were able to achieve with wattage controlled intervals dictated by me. The only requirement to be included in the project was to have a calibrated Power Tap or SRM power meter mounted on their bike.

Goal: Stronger riders, better coaching

For the last seven years I have coached riders in Denmark with great success, but training with power is still a quite new phenomenon. I have some great data from wattage controlled training in the winter months for my riders, but having data from more riders simply increases my overall knowledge about coaching and power meter training. Thus, I thought the internet was a great way to achieve more data from riders there were willing to strictly follow my program for 12 weeks. By offering them a free training program it was a win-win situation for both parts.

Communication via email
The 5 participants in the project did an awesome job throughout the 12 weeks (one rider dropped out after 9 weeks). They sent me emails, questions and race reports that gave me an idea of how they were doing and showing me that their motivation were enormous. It was really difficult to know how to adjust training because all I knew was a short summary of their power meter data and a brief report about how they were doing.

Intervals three times per week
I decided to make tough programs with interval intensities close their scores in the maximum power output tests. E.g. 20 min maximum power output were converted to 3 or 4 intervals of 6min with 20min power (4min recovery with 50% 20min power). The frequency of intervals was also higher than in most training programs with 3 interval days per week. Some of the riders replaced one of the interval days with a race day.

Summary of results
• Improvements in 5 sec power, but not all riders. One didn’t spend time on sprint training, because his focus was on aerobic endurance. Another rider was probably close to his potential when the project started.
• Great Improvements in 1min maximum power (anaerobic endurance). This skill is probably where power meters are most valuable. Precise intervals resulted in increments of above 20 percents.
• Great improvements in 5min maximum power (VO2 max). This skill is really useful, so it has a great impact on performance in most cycling races. These are the improvements that satisfy me most.
• Good improvements in 20min maximum power (Threshold power).

Conclusion
Overall I will conclude this project as a success. The riders achieved great success and were impressed on their own progress. In the following posts I will take a closer look to each of the participants’ progress. 

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