Phil’s plans are structured so that you can use power to follow your bike workouts in real-time. However, you can easily follow the sessions using Heart Rate and Rate of Perceived Exertion too.
If you have the opportunity to use several methods to measure your intensity, this is the order in which you should prioritize them:
- Power output in watts (for all workouts)
- Bike Threshold Heart Rate (steady-state when power not available)
- Rate of Perceived Exertion - RPE (interval when power not available)
Many of our athletes don’t have a power meter and can easily achieve quality training and outcomes. So don't worry if you don't have a power meter or smart trainer.
You should still do the FTP test to establish your cycling heart rate zones. Take your average heart rate for the 20-min effort (not including warm up and warm down), then subtract 6 bpm to get your threshold bike heart rate.
Guidelines for Different Sessions
- Use heart rate for your long endurance rides and steady-state efforts (including the long sub-threshold intervals). Check you have entered your threshold and zones into your training device to match your TrainingPeaks settings (for instance, Training Zone Settings in Garmin Connect)
- For speed sessions with shorter intervals, you are best to use your Rate of Perceived Exertion RPE (see table below). This is because the heart can take several minutes to fully reflect how hard you’re riding. For example, your effort might go from Z1 to Z4 in one second. But your heart rate would not reflect this unless you sustained Z4 for at least 30 seconds (probably more). You can use heart rate as a backup measure of intensity for these intervals.
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