Training with a PowerMeter or heart rate monitor?
Honestly, I always used a heart rate monitor for my training. Back in the day, the power meter options were not yet there. Today, Rachelle is training with a heart rate monitor; however, much more often, the question arises; shall I train on power or heart rate. So I did some digging. Which of those two options is better?
Heart rate and power are both advantageous to get insights into your training performances. Use both options! Let me explain. The combination of heart rate and power tells you plenty about your training. But to get good results from exercise, you need to choose one of both options as a lead for your training schedules. The choice of the majority is, in this case: Power. But to do this, I will explain the use of both monitors.
Heart rates have been used for decades. A heart rate monitor shows your body’s response to the exercise. When the activity becomes heavier, the heart rate will rise. Your heart rate can therefore show you the intensity of your training when the heart rate is well calculated. Compared to power rates, heart rates’ main benefit is the zones’ consistency.
Your heart rates can slightly differ between good and bad days, but the difference is minimal compared to power. As long as you yearly recalculate the heart rates, they will remain very trustworthy. The disadvantage of using heart rates is the delay. Your body needs time to react to the exercise. An experienced cyclist will admit that the heart rate keeps rising while the training intensity remains the same; this is just because the body isn’t ready to adapt.
PowerMeters measure the power you put on the pedals. This meter doesn’t tell you how your body reacts. It just shows you what you’re doing. The most significant advantage of the PowerMeter is the immediate response. Therefore you have a more straightforward representation of what you’re doing at that moment.
PowerMeters gives more insights into progression. You can set new records, and the values can increase or decrease. Therefore the PowerMeter is a much more motivating tool. You can monitor your Watt records and try to improve them the next time. A bit like you use your Strava. But okay, heartbeat or power, that’s the question.
If you asked me, I would use a combination of both meters, the PowerMeter, during the training and the heart rate monitor, to analyze the intensity afterward. If your heart rate zones are well measured, your power and heart rate zones should be the same. If there is a difference, then you have two options. Your heart rates are not correct, or you improved. Keep comparing your heart rates and the power. Those comparisons show you your improvement.
We are very curious about your opinion. Leave your thoughts in the comments below.