Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Post-race data analysis

By now everyone (that races) should have a race or two under their belt.  And, there is NO BETTER WAY to improve your performance than to analyze your post-race power data.  Your post-race data will definitely point-out your strengths and weaknesses.  When I analyze my athletes post-race power data I use Training Peaks WKO+ version 3 software.  There isn't a better software package on the market.  If you own a power MUST purchase this software.

If you don't know how to use WKO+ software, I highly recommend Hunter Allen/Dr. Andy Coggan's book, "Training and Racing w/ a Power Meter, 2nd ed.".  It will not only teach you how to use the software but it will define every metric that your bike computer records.  You can buy the book online or at most larger bookstores (like Barnes and Nobel).  I have used MANY bike computers and the head unit/computer I recommend is the Garmin Edge 500.   Check it out at Garmin:

What I like about the Edge 500 is:
a. the size.  It's small and the screens are customizable.
b. battery life.  I never have to charge it.  It actually charges when I connect it to my computer for downloading.
c. color.  It used to come in only blue, but now you can purchase it in black..and I believe other colors.
d. waterproof.  I even accidently machine-washed it one time and it performed flawlessly afterwards.
e. easy downloads into Training Peaks or Garmin software.
f. GPS capable.  It will save your route and allow you to upload it into Google Earth where you can generate an elevation profile of your race/route.
g. ANT+ compatible.  It talks to ANT+ power meters, heart rate monitors, speed/cadence sensors, etc.
h. easily transferable to other bikes.  The mount is one of the best in the industry.
i. solid.  It will take a licking (and keep on ticking) on any bike: Cross, Mtn, Road, etc.
j. the screen.  You can see it clearly under any lighting condition.
k. the price.  It's priced right.
l. the controls.  It's easy to work all controls/button with gloves.
m. etc.. the list goes on.

When you download your race day is what I look at/for AS A MINIMUM (all of these metrics are explained in detail in "Training and Racing with a Power Meter, 2nd edition"):
a. Average HR for the entire well as HRmax (if reached).
b. Average Power for the entire race..usually Normalized Power.
c. Elevation profile.  Was it a hilly race..more elevation than normal?
d. 5, 20, 30 and 60 minute power peaks.  When?  Where? 
e. If you got dropped...where..why? Did you burn a match?
f. How many matches did you burn (if any)?  More than your matchbook contained?
g. Training Stress Score (TSS) for the entire race.
h. Energy expenditure.  Were you properly fueled/hydrated?
i. Weather. Temps in particular.  Were you overheated?  Was it hot/humid, cold, windy, raining, etc.?
j. Quadrant analysis.  Were you in the right quadrant for the demands of the race?
k. Multi-file/Range analysis.  I like to compare laps of a Crit or Road Race.
l. Intensity Factor (IF) and Functional Threshold Power (FTP)
m. Comparison from years past of same or similar race.
n. Percentage of Zero Power.  You want to sit-in at least 15% of the race.  If not, you were probably expending too much energy.
o. Time in power/heart rate ranges.  Were you racing at Threshold Power/HR for over an hour?
p. Power profile. W/kg?

All of this data (and MUCH more) is displayed in Training Peaks Software.  In addition to this data review, evaluate/assess your race day tactics.  Did you successfully breakaway?  Did you get gapped on the hills, descents, turns, etc.  Were you able to accelerate successfully?  Were you blocked-in?  Were you sitting-in up front, middle or the back of the pack?  Record ALL of this information as it will help you assess your strengths and weaknesses.  Train your weaknesses.

BTW, I review the race day data as soon as I can so the race is still vivid in my mind. If you wait to review your data, you may forget important times/points in the race like: when breaks occurred, when you tried to bridge gaps, when you got gapped, when you were out front, when you drafted, etc. 

Remember, your race day data is the BEST data to analyze because you're (hopefully) giving it all you have.  It will highlight your strengths and weaknesses.  Again, all of this data can be saved in your WKO+ software...for post-race review. 

Power ON!  Coach Rob

No comments: