Analyzing your powermeter data is as important as training with power. In my previous post I made an overview of what actually a Training Analysis Software (such as Golden Cheetah) does behind the scenes so to speak.
After you install Golden Cheetah there are couple of important things you need to take care of before you can use the program – here is a quick start guide.
First you need, to set up you training zones. Go to Tools > Options > Athlete.
Click on the Power Zones tab. Enter your (estimated) Functional Threshold Power. Golden Cheetah refers to FTP as Critical Power (CP). If you have no idea what your CP is, 3W/kg body weight is a good starting point. Golden Cheetah can help you estimate better (more on that further down). Also enter the date when this CP “starts.” For example if you started training in January 2012, enter January 1st, 2012.
Similarly you can setup your Heart Rate (HR) Zones, however, knowing your Lactate Threshold (LT) heartrate (NOT your max HR) and such takes some testing and/or understanding training with a HR monitor. In my experience estimating your max HR using the 220-Age formula is not very accurate so if you want to setup your HR zones, guesstimate as best as you can, you can correct it later on, after you have collected some data. My Resting HR is a total shot in the dark. I should measure it one of these mornings just out of curiosity…
Remember that Golden Cheetah is a Power analysis software so HR is not as important.
NOTE: If you correct your LT HR or CP (let’s say your starting season CP was 330W instead of 300W), Golden Cheetah will update ALL your training files automatically from the date of the new HR/CP.
Optional Setup Steps
You can change the colors of pretty much everything inside the program. Go to Tools > Options > Colors. I am not a big fan of the default theme so I changed some things to something that looked better.
Uploading a Ride (File)
Golden Cheetah supports file formats from all devices (.tcx, .fit, etc) so all you need to do is connect your Garmin Edge, etc to your computer and Go to Ride > Import from file or press CTRL+I. Select the file you want to upload, wait for Golden Cheetah to verify it and click Finish. You are done. You can enter ride notes (I highly recommend doing so) just like you would do in a training diary. Golden Cheetah recognizes some keywords in (the first line) of your notes like: Endurance, Tempo, TT, FTP, etc., and assigns a color to your ride based on them. You can see them under Tools > Options >Settings > Ride Data > Notes Keywords. For example a TT or a Race gets colored red, a Z2 endurance ride appears light green, etc. I find this a nice perk so you can just glance over your calendar and easily find your last race, etc.
Manual Ride Upload or Estimating Variables
Sometimes things go wrong – your powermeter or bike computer run out of batteries mid ride so at best you are left with a broken datafile. Usually though it is not salvageable so you have to manually import the ride. Also workouts on the indoor trainer I find are better judged by perceived effort and heart rate because the power is lower than what I see on the road. Therefore you can also manually import so you are at all times on top of your training progress. Go to Ride > Manual Ride Entry or CTRL+M. The key here is consistency. If you import one file and make the program estimate based on time, every time you need to estimate using time not distance and vice versa. As you train and collect enough files you will be able to get a feeling of what a 1h Z2 ride is in terms of Bikescore etc. In my case a 1h Z2 is ~40 Bikescore and ~20 Daniels points, etc…
NOTE: There is one caveat though. Golden Cheetah uses all your data to estimate your training stress. Therefore if you have no other files, GC cannot give you a number.
The Performance Manager (PM)
How hard did you work and how did your body respond? How tired are you after a week of training? Are you fresh/fit for you important race? That is what the Performance Manager shows you. More details on how everything is calculated is in my post here. In general Blue is fitness, Purple is Fatigue and Yellow is freshness (I changed the default colors). Fit and fresh is the best state to be for races, however, you have to be fatigued to get fitter. Balance is important!
There are 3 metrics in Golden Cheetah – Bikescore and Daniels Points (both using power to estimate training stress) and TRIMP, based on heart rate.
The third tab in Golden Cheetah is the so-called “Critical Power” (CP) or your Functional Threshold Power (FTP). I find that part being quite useful. If you do a good amount of hard group rides, intervals in your daily training etc, Golden Cheetah puts all the data together and estimates your FTP and as you get fitter it adjusts accordingly. Basically you need to do a little bit of everything (threshold riding, tempo, endurance, VO2 max) and the software connects all the dots to give you a number.
I found it to be good within 5-7W which is less than 2% on 300W. Of course the best way to determine is by testing, however, there is no single best way determine your FTP it besides doing an all out 1h time trial – LOTS of pain. Also doing a test every couple of months/weeks might not be feasible so if you keep checking the CP screen you can see your improvement and adjust your training zones. The black line represents the ride you have selected from your calendar. If you click and hold anywhere on the screen you can see your best power for a given interval (in this case 20min), your current ride 20min best and where does the CP curve fit. As you can see my 2012 season 20min best and the CP are within 4W of each other.
That’s it – the most essential information regarding analyzing your powermeter data.
In a later post I will cover more advanced features of the software such as (Aerobic Power) Metrics, Predicting Training Stress, etc.
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