Power Meters Improve Performance
Because your heart rate can vary depending on external factors such as recent intake of caffeine, exhaustion, dehydration, body temperature and other conditions, a power meter is the most accurate tool you can use to measure efforts and improve your fitness in the saddle.
Power meters are devices that can come in the form of crank arms, pedals, a rear hub or more recently the front of your handlebars. Strain gauges built into power meters will measure things like strain and speed in order to calculate a number of watts being put out by a rider which can then be recorded to analyze later or give you real-time numbers on your GPS computer.
Power meters will give you a much more accurate idea as to the training load and give you a real-time output of your effort regardless of outdoor conditions. For example, while out training you may end up riding against a headwind. Your speed may decrease because of the extra effort you may need to put in, but say you are normally able to keep a power output of 150 watts, you would then be able to focus on keeping that watt average and be sure you are working at the same power output you would if the wind was not against you.
A power meter can also be essential while climbing. Keeping a good pace while climbing is essential to conserving energy until you need it towards the end of your climb. In order to keep a proper pace, keeping track of your power output regardless of road pitch will help keep a sustainable watt average and prevent early burn out.
Though a pricey investment, power meters are great analytical tools among so many out there and can be useful for those geared to taking their training to the next level, to quantify daily efforts and further improve performance.
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