Power Analysis Features for Summit

Make the most of your power data with the Analysis Pack

The power meter is one of the best tools for measuring your efforts on the bike and tracking your improvements as a cyclist, but it's not always clear how to take advantage of the data. Summit athletes with the Analysis Pack have everything needed get the most out of all those numbers. Here are few of the different insights you can use to train smart and improve your riding.

Weighted Average Power

Weighted Average Power smooths out the variations in the power of your ride to provide a better indicator of your overall effort when you spent a lot of time going hard and then going easy. Examples include criterium races, mountain biking or hilly rides. Weighted Average Power lets you more accurately compare the effort between these uneven rides and steadier efforts.

Total Work

This metric, measured in Kilojoules or KJs, is the total amount of energy you’ve expended during your ride. It’s roughly equal to calories burned.

Training Load

One of the most useful power metrics is Training Load. This number tells you how much stress an activity put on your body. The calculation is based off of your Functional Threshold Power (explained below). If you ride as hard as you can for one hour, that should give you a Training Load of 100. During a long endurance ride, you might rack up a Training Load of 40-60 points per hour. Like most metrics, the best way to understand how it works for you is to check it after every ride. Eventually you’ll start to intuitively understand the numbers based on how you felt during the workout.

One of the coolest Analysis Pack features is the Fitness & Freshness graph, which lets you monitor your progress throughout a season and helps you recognize signs of overtraining. Training Load is an important part of this feature, which you can check out here!

Power Curve

All of the many variables in cycling (equipment, wind, hills, drafting) can make it challenging to compare one effort to another and measure your progress. The Power Curve allows you to answer that important question: Am I getting faster? It shows you the highest average power for various durations during your ride and lets you compare them to previous efforts. Filter by your recent numbers, by year or set a custom range to see if you are putting out the best power numbers of the season or if you’ve set an all-time best. This is a great way to check if your strength for a given period of time has improved, even if your efforts weren't completed on the same segment.

Power Zone Distribution

Power zones split up different levels of exertion into buckets. The zones go from 1 to 7, with Z1 being basically coasting and Z7 being a near sprint. (Note: to get accurate zones, you’ll need to perform what’s called a Threshold Test. More on this in a bit!) This feature can be used in a few ways depending on the type of training you want to do. If your goal is to do an "endurance ride," you can try to rack up as much time as possible in zones 2 and 3. This can be really useful if you’re trying to minimize the "junk miles" in your workouts, which would be time spent in zone 1.

Another cool use of power zones is for race analysis. Take a look at this file from a criterium race. The majority of the rider's time was spent in zones 1 and 7, which means the athlete was conserving energy in the peloton, but when they made hard efforts, they really made them count. Spending a lot of time making smaller efforts in zones 2 through 6 can leave you worn out during those crucial final moments of a race. Check out your Power Zone Distribution after your next race and try to maximize the time you spend in zone 1 so you have energy to make your moves up in zone 7!

Intensity

Intensity is Strava’s way of showing how difficult a ride was. Strava looks at your Weighted Average Power for the ride and compares it to your Functional Threshold Power. For example, if your Weighted Average Power is 227W and your FTP 280W, then your Intensity would be at 81%.

Function Threshold What?

Using a specific test, you can determine your Functional Threshold Power (or FTP). This number is key if you’re training with power. It’s a benchmark used to calibrate many of the Summit power features to your individual abilities. Physiologically, your "threshold" is the point when your body starts producing more lactic acid than it can clear out of your muscles. When you’re pedaling below threshold, you are working "aerobically," and you could sustain such an effort for a long period of time. When you’re pedaling at or above threshold, you are "anaerobic," which means you’ll only be able to hold that effort level for a limited time before there is too much lactate in your muscles and your body forces you to slow down.

The most widely accepted method for determining your FTP is to do an all-out 20 minute effort, and then take the average power for that 20 minute interval and subtract 5%. Ideally, you should perform a new test every 6-8 weeks to track your fitness throughout the season.

Here are a few tips to get the most out of your test every time:

1. Try to reproduce the same conditions each test – this means use the same stretch of road or always use the same trainer / rollers.

2. Make sure you are fresh (the previous few days should be light in terms of training load).

3. Properly warm up!

If you already have a power meter, Strava Summit can help you put it to work. Get the Analysis Pack and start checking off your goals.

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