You just bought yourself a potentiometer, and you don’t know where to start? You see everybody’s talking about Watts and you have no idea? You still don’t know what a potentiometer does? Before you read this article, you should read some reasons why you should train with a potentiometer.
- Step 1. Find your FTP
We have already discussed this in the post “What is FTP? “but here’s a summary for you to get an idea. If you want more information, click here.
In short, FTP (the Functional Threshold Power) is the highest energy you are able to hold for 60 Minutes theoretically.
This is very important to know your training zones. These areas range from the easiest Z1 to the hardest Z7.
Most cyclists, from amateurs to pros, usually spend most of the time between zones 2 and 3. These areas are the most important because they will generate a strong base to advance to the most complicated areas.
- Step 2. Calculate your lactate threshold and training areas
Now that you have your FTP, let’s calculate with that your lactate threshold and your training zones. But first, what is the lactate threshold?
Because so we understand, the lactate threshold or LT is the point at which your muscles can no longer function only with oxygen and have to start pulling glycogen stores to keep you moving.
That’s where you really start working. You’ll notice your muscles are burning because they’re accumulating lactic acid faster than they can eliminate it.
- Step 3. Make a Workout plan
So far, everything has been straightforward, doing a simple test on top of the bike and then 4 calculations for the lactate threshold and training areas. But now the complicated starts, organizing a training plan that will help us improve with every exit.
At this point, it would be best to have a coach guide us a little along the way. If you can’t afford it, start training like you’ve done so far and go analyze the data you see on your screen.
Try to work with a number of constant Watts and gradually play with varying power. This will mainly help you get the use of potentiometer because, at first, w,e all feel a little weird about that data.
As we are used to training with a pulsometer, we see the variation of the data progressively, however, with a potentiometer, we will see that the data vary greatly and very quickly from one second to another.
- Step 4. Have fun playing with the data your potentiometer gives you
There’s nothing better on the bike than being aware of what you’re doing. For this, the potentiometer gives us more data that are very interesting, like the concept of power-weight.
The power-weight ratio is an easy-to-calculate and controllable factor. It’s so easy to understand how the more weight you have, the more power you’ll have to do to go at the same speed.
If, for example, you lose weight, it doesn’t mean you’re going to have more power, it means you’re going to need less power to move at the same speed you were going to before you lose weight. Which means you’ve improved your stamina logically.
Another very interesting factor is cadence. You probably already have a cadence sensor on your bike and it’s fine, but if you combine it with the power, the information you have is much more complete.
Depending on the type of cyclist you are, you will have one cadence or another. That’s obvious because if we compare a track cyclist to an MTB, the cadence of the first one will be much greater. But this doesn’t mean I’m moving more power.
This is why you have to find out what your point is. It is neither better nor worse to wear a greater or lesser cadence, it is simply different because each cyclist is different. The most important thing is that you find the cadence that allows your body to generate as constant power as possible while enjoying the training.
As you can see, to start training with potentiometer there are several points you can’t skip. The first and most important is to calculate your FTP. Thanks to this data you can get all the others, so don’t leave it for later if you haven’t already. Then calculate your lactate threshold and training areas. Knowing how your body is at every moment is very important. Get organized with a training plan. And finally, have fun looking at the different data you can get thanks to your potentiometer.