Kilometers and more kilometers. That was the recipe that in the eighties followed the majority of endurance athletes. The conviction was that the more hours of training, the more performance the athlete obtained. The athlete had to endure fatigue, had to add and add, the more the better.
But one day, the professionals who prepared the IRONMAN woke up with the news that cycling had begun to use a device that measured more than the heart rate (the great reference of that time). It was a device that measured… power.
That was the beginning of the change, that contraption brought with it the possibility of starting to train differently, controlling more closely the quality (intensity) of the load and leaving the quantity (volume: frequency added to duration) in the background. From those eighties until today, the powermeter has contributed science, precision and optimization of the performance of any athlete who trains and competes taking advantage of the multitude of data released every session and every race.
History repeats and we are now living the moment in which another great advance brings the possibility of planning each load towards quality rather than towards quantity. At this moment the powermeter arrives for… runners.
Although it is a new product, it brings with it a great advantage: the science that has been developed around the measurement of the power in the bicycle is applicable mostly to the powermeter to run. Great news! Values such as TSS, CP, NP, AP, IF, RP, VI, EF, Pw: HR, Pa: HR, Pw: Pa, etc. can already be interpreted accurately in any athlete, thus optimizing their performance.
In races such as marathon and IRONMAN, this data is an extraordinary advance since the great unknown that every triathlete faces has to do with the intensity at which the 42km must be run. Now, with the powermeter, training optimally to improve performance and knowing the watts to generate when you have to complete the marathon is a reality that takes us into the future, a future in which personal records will be broken according to this advance becomes a fundamental part of the training plan of every runner and triathlete.
And to start with data (which we will explain in more detail in future blog articles), one very important: we already know the maximum difference that there must be between the power during the first two kilometers of the marathon (alone or during the IRONMAN) and the normalized power during the full 42km. Therefore, we can train each athlete precisely so that from the first kilometer you know exactly the watts you must generate to complete your best running race.
More data such as relative power (watts related to body weight) are essential to control not just the training loads but to plan and control the nutritional counseling that every athlete must follow to achieve his or her highest level.
The future is here: those training with a powermeter will have the advantage to plan perfectly every single step.