Using your GPS device to manage your Bike Power/Run pacing, and recording your intervals.

Using your GPS device to manage your Bike Power/Run pacing, and recording your intervals.

One of the challenges our new clients can sometimes face, especially when not used to working with structured sessions (and having to record them for their coach), is how best to use your GPS device to manage Bike Power and Run Pacing, and recording their intervals.  In this article I hope to share a few hints to help you hit the ground running in this respect.

Bike

Most bike sessions are prescribed by a certain amount of power (watts) for a certain duration (occasionally a certain power level for a certain distance). As an example “5 x 5 minutes at 250w with 5 minutes recovery between efforts”

Most modern GPS devices allow you to view 4 data fields concurrently. Most Bike Computers will allow up to 10 data fields.  The best way I have found to manage bike sessions with power is to have the following data fields displayed on my computer: (see also picture)

1

10 sec power – this is essentially the level of power you are currently producing (it is averaged over the last 10 seconds, I typically find absolute or 3 sec power too volatile)

Avg power – lap (this will give you your average power for the current recorded interval)

Cadence

Lap time

Heart Rate (don’t worry about this for interval sessions if you are using a watch that only has 4 data fields)

Lap Distance (same as for Heart Rate, but swap this in place of lap time if the intervals are prescribed by distance)

Now your device is set up accordingly, and you’re starting the session as outlined above (5 x 5 minutes @ 250w with 5 minutes recovery) – how to record your work.

  1. Make sure the auto-lap function is removed from bike settings
  2. Ensure satellite connection is made if working outside
  3. Start your watch or computer as you begin cycling, and leave it running until your warm-up is complete.
  4. As you start your first 5 minute interval, simply hit the lap button and get to work.
  5. Once the ‘lap time’ data field shows 5 minutes, hit the lap button again. You are now in recovery mode after your interval
  6. Once the ‘lap time’ data field shows 5 minutes, hit the lap button again and commence your 2nd interval. Repeat until the session is complete.
  7. Once your cool down is complete, stop the watch and save the session. What your device will have captured is all the data for each working interval, and your rest intervals as well

In terms of managing your power, it is well established that the smoothest delivery of power is the most efficient way to do it. So if we are aiming for 250w for 5 minutes, keep an eye on your current (10 sec) power output, and your Average Power – Lap. If you are halfway through the 5 minute interval and you are sat on current power of 250w and your Average Power – Lap is 250w, all you need to do is stay there. If your Average Power – Lap is below 250w then you need to push harder to hit your target. If your Average Power – Lap is above 250w then you can afford to relax slightly.

Simple, right? – it takes a bit of getting used to hitting the right buttons at the right time, but its not rocket science!

Run

Most run sessions are prescribed by a certain pace (min/k) for a certain duration or a certain distance. As an example “5 x 5 minutes at 5.00/k with 5 minutes recovery between efforts”

The best way I have found to manage run sessions with pacing works on exactly the same principles as bike power sessions. I have the following data fields displayed on my GPS device: (see also picture)

2

Pace – this is how fast you are currently running

Avg Pace – lap (this will give you your average pace for the current recorded interval)

Heart Rate

Lap time (or distance if the session is prescribed by distance and you aren’t on a running track where you know the distances)

Now your device is set up accordingly, and you’re starting the session as outlined above (5 x 5 minutes @ 5.00/k with 5 minutes recovery) – how to record your work.

  1. Make sure the auto-lap function is removed from run settings
  2. Ensure satellite connection is made if working outside
  3. Start the watch as you begin running, and leave it running until your warm-up is complete.
  4. As you start your first 5 minute interval, simply hit the lap button and get to work.
  5. Once the ‘lap time’ data field shows 5 minutes, hit the lap button again. You are now in recovery mode after your interval
  6. Once the ‘lap time’ data field shows 5 minutes, hit the lap button again and commence your 2nd interval. Repeat until the session is complete.
  7. Once your cool down is complete, stop the watch and save the session. What your device will have captured is all the data for each working interval, and your rest intervals as well.

Again, the principles of pace management are the same as for Bike Power.  So if we are aiming for 5.00/k for 5 minutes, keep an eye on your current pace, and your Average Lap Pace. If you are halfway through the 5 minute interval and you are sat on current power of 5.00/k and your Average Lap Pace is 5.00/k, all you need to do is stay there. If your Average Lap Pace is slower than 5.00/k then you need to push harder to hit your target. If your Average Lap Pace is faster than 5.00/k then you can afford to relax slightly. NOTE – with pace, higher numbers are SLOWER! – e.g, 5.15/k is slower than 5.00/k

Swim

Obviously, you can’t use you watch to manage your swim speed, as its a little difficult to look at your watch and swim at the same time! . BUT, the recording of your swim intervals is EXACTLY the same as recording bike/run intervals.

I will simply have interval distance (just in case I lose track of laps) and interval time displayed on my watch.

 

By: Neil Flanagan, InnerFight Endurance Coach

Comments

comments