I am a huge believer in training and racing with power. I started training with power 3-4 years ago and started racing with it last year. Every year I seem to learn more about power and using it to its fullest. The other day I was doing a 1 hour 1/2 Ironman race pace workout. The goal was to maintain the watts that I wanted to hold for 56 miles or about 2:00-2:15. I finished the workout and avg 290 watts. I did a similar workout last year before Eagleman and avg 275 watts. The thing that concerned me was that I only avg about 24 mph. Last year at Eagleman I avg 277 watts and avg 25.6 mph. Could my bike and position be that much slower than last year? I then realized that when training maintaining a high power # is the goal regardless of speed. Although when racing the goal is to maximize speed while producing the least amount of power. When training vs racing with a PT is very different.
A few days after I came to this realization I was looking around the web and came across Joel Friel’s blog where he was talking about this very subject. I thought he summed it up perfectly, here is a portion of what he said,
“In key workouts one of our purposes is to stress the body with high power loads and high heart rates. Speed is not critical. Stress is. A race is just the opposite. The whole purpose here is speed. And if he can produce high speed with low power and low heart rate all the better. The idea is to keep stress as low as possible while riding as fast as possible. Doing so means he will have more in the tank for the run.”