Power/heart rate/perceived exertion

Hi there— I’m a 40+ female cyclist with nearly 30 years of consistent riding under my belt (started racing at age 15). I’m currently focusing on the local cyclocross series later this year with the 24 week cyclocross off season plan. This is the second year that I’ve used this plan, but the first year using a power meter (yay!). I’m very familiar with my heart rate zones as I’ve been riding with a HRM for almost all the se past 30 years, but my power meter zones are new to me, and I’m confused by them.

My best 20 minute power is 204 watts (a little more than the wattage from a 20 min field test during which I had a small mechanical issue, so I’m thinking that 204 is a better representation of my best 20 minutes) My average heart rate was exactly the same for both sessions at 160bpm. I’ve set up my zones using 95% of 204, but now I’m confused about how to set up the heart rate zones. I’m doing sweet spot intervals via power, and my heart rate (and perceived exertion) are considerably lower than they were when I did the same intervals using heart rate alone last year. I’m fairly certain that we don’t take 95% of the heart rate from the 20 minute test, right?

One last bit of info if it’s helpful: based on my historical power peaks, and Hunter Allen’s power peak breakdown, I’m most definitely a steady state/climb phenotype, and I know that my low tolerance for high-intensities is my biggest weakness currently. I think I’m entering the “old man legs” stage of human growth and development based on how group rides generally shake out for me. I bring up the rear on climbs for the first half of a long ride, and I’m in the middle of the group for the second half. My tolerance for, and ability to spend time in anaerobic zones is not as deep as it once was.

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Welcome to the Coalition Kalli!

I took a glance at your TrainingPeaks to verify that you have your zones set up properly and you do. Now that you have a powermeter go by watts first and let your heart rate just do what it does. Sweet spot by watts is far superior.

If you have any rides where you threw down for 20-60 minutes let us know and we’ll go in an analyze that using normalized power to see if we see any evidence that your FTP has increased per this video training tip https://fascatcoaching.com/tips/video-using-normalized-power-to-measuring-ftp-improvement/