Racing to spring: Training and measurement

I love this mild winter as much as the next guy, but for every 50 degree day I enjoy with laps in the park, I sense herds of other racers climbing Bear Mountain in their big ring. The joy of winter is thinking (read: pretending) you are the only one staying on top of things and toughing it out. With mild temps making it easier for everyone to keep up with their training, I’m thinking the spring racing series is going to be full of fast riders.

That said, I have been keeping up on my training and it’s going well so far. This week, I thought I’d focus on a reader question:

“Do you use a power meter, a heart rate monitor, or none of the above to assist with training goals – building your aerobic base – figuring out your lactate threshold?

Long live the mild winter days!


Thanks for the question, Lonnie.

For training, I had been using heart rate exclusively. Years ago, I first started training with heart rate with a polar wrist unit; it co-existed with the standard, stem-mounted bike computer for normal bike data of speed and distance. I mainly used the watch to measure training intensity and workload from week to week.

A tool for power + heartrate: Garmin Forerunner

Last season, I picked up a Garmin Forerunner to use GPS data to figure where you are, how far you’ve ridden and how fast. Some of the nicer models offer heart rate and power logging capabilities, but one of the biggest assets a Garmin computer offers is the ability to log workouts over time. (Websites like Garmin’s own, smartphone compatible sites like Map My Ride, or the Facebook-esque are becoming a more and more popular way to both look back on your progress over time and to compare your workouts with your buddies.)

However, while I tried to stay aware of my heart rate last season, I didn’t do much with that information. This year, I’m moving towards keeping up on the data. I have my Garmin on the handlebars, plus a cadence sensor on my chainstay. Now, I’m measuring my workouts in minutes and heartrate zones.

What am I doing with that data? It’s a bit early to say enough specifically. As for the last part of the question, I’m not training on power meter – yet. I have started working with our cycling coach, Henoch Getz, though so I’m guessing he may be recommending a few tips as I fine-tune my training later this winter.

I’m a work in progress.

Thanks for your question, Lonnie. Feel free to drop me a line ( with other questions as I continue my pre-season training. More updates soon.


Chris Bloome (photo credit: groovylab)

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New York City's neighborhood bike store since 1978
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1 Response to Racing to spring: Training and measurement

  1. Pingback: Racing to Spring: Rest Week and Heart Rate | bicyclehabitat

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