With so much data at your fingertips, what should you focus your training on? Pace? Power? Heart Rate? Sm02?
Timothy O'Donnell, 3rd best Ironman Athlete in the world for 2015 talks about his approach in this article. He follows a similar method to how I coach my athletes at BPC. Looking at both power and heart rate in harmony allows you to get much smarter and ensure you're in the right zone everyday.
It's widely understood that a power meter gives a far more reliable and consistent reading than looking at heart rate does. This is true, but if we follow it blindly then we're working under the assumption that our body is also a reliable consistent machine... but it's not.
If you complete an FTP test and set your training zones based on this number then you're on the right path to getting your body to respond to your training the way you want it to. However don't assume that your FTP is the same everyday.
Zone based training gives you an upper and lower range for the zone, so aim to put your power in the target zone first then see how your heart rate responds. If your heart rate slowly works it's way into the target zone and stays there then you can rest easy. However if your heart rate is way above or below the target zone then listen to your body. Tweak your power by small amounts to force the heart rate where you want it to go.We can all train a bit smarter. Listen to your body and do as the best triathletes in the world do!Ken
“Now I monitor my power (on the bike) relative to my heart rate,” he says. “Instead of trying to hit 350 watts in intervals, I will try to hit 165 beats per minute heart rate and monitor the progression of power. That is where I can see my improvement.”