The “Watts up with Power?” ride is likely the slowest group ride you’ll find on Zwift, because it focuses on learning the basics of power based training while riding together on Zwift. Each ride is streamed to Zwift LIVE by ODZ on Facebook, and focuses on teaching specific principles of power-based training. For viewers that are unable to attend live, the teaching is made available for all to review afterwards.

Here is the summary for April 12 from ride leader Taylor Thomas.

Power based training is becoming more and more accessible to cyclists of all abilities. With the wide availability of both smart trainers and more affordable power meters, most cyclists are at least familiar with power. However, do you know what to look for in a meter, what to do with the data, and how to use it in your training?

What to Look for in a Power Meter

With so many options available it can be hard to know what you need in a power meter. Decide first if you want one that only reads power on one side, or takes a reading from both left and right sides.

Where are you going to be riding? What type of bike is it going on? What types of rides will you be doing? These questions will help inform your decision and choose the best meter for you.

Analyzing Your Power Data

What information is going to make you a better rider and help inform your training? The tools that you use should allow you to gain access to the insights you’re looking for.

Looking for insights within a single ride or race is good, but tracking adaptation over time is also critical. Understanding that it takes time for your body to adapt and compensate to the training load you’re applying is key. Don’t make judgements based on small data sets.

Keep track of your historical data. Once you begin training with power, log that information, and reference it consistently. Knowing how far you’ve come, and how your body has historically responded to training load, stress, duration, and intensity will help further inform your training decisions.

Your metrics are only as sound as the validity of your data. The importance of a properly calibrated power meter can not be overstated. Power spikes and erroneous data can dramatically impact your core metrics. Zero and calibrate your meter, as well as delete any data spikes to ensure you’re working with reliable data.

Using your Head Unit

Cycling computers, or head units, are more robust than ever. They offer tons of information to the rider in real time, but what’s important? Don’t crowd your screen with data that’s not useful. Hone in on 4-6 fields that you need visible during a ride.

Set up different screens for different types of rides. The information that’s valuable during an interval workout could be much different than during a group ride, or casual spin around the neighborhood. Know what you need, and when you need it.

Set up one of the data fields to register 5-10 second Normalized Power for interval sessions. Your computer is registering a power reading every 1/10 of a second, and that can make it hard to nail down a specific effort. Using a longer time period can help to “normalize” the data and provide a more consistent and usable number.