What is normalized power and what is it for

Training 15/12/20 18:16 Migue A.

When it comes to training, when it comes to getting in shape and then measuring yourself in competition, there are many ways to do it. The most common is that which considers average power. But the most complete and optimal is the one that takes into account the normalized power. Why? What is the difference?

Why normalized power is better than average power

What is normalized power and why is it better to consider it to reach your peak form rather than the average power is a question we have all asked ourselves at some point. The difference lies in a fundamental aspect: you can achieve your fitness peak by training with both power measurements, but you will only achieve optimization with normalized power.


Because the average power is not real. At least, it is not real in the sense that the ground is not just an average. The terrain is variable, dynamic, sometimes unpredictable. By unpredictable we mean two fundamental elements: the weather conditions and the course of the race.


In this situation, why does it make less sense to train with average power? This answer is also simple: because except for running a flat time trial, without variables and alterations, your average power does not reflect that running dynamism. That up and down. That turning or going straight and riding.

But normalized power does.


What is normalized power and how to train with it

The normalized power is the power that considers these power variations in a run. The average power falls short: you can try to go to your average power on a route, which if it is dynamic will be impossible to achieve. When you go up, you print much more power than when you go down, no matter how much you hit the pedals.

Normalized power, on the other hand, considers these variations, this dynamic unevenness, and values effort and expenditure on the basis of this formula. It is not easy to define it, and the algorithm is not completely clear. Garmin explains it, but does not provide the exact data either.


The average power is a very simple value to assimilate and apply, but often, if you want to be a more complete cyclist, it will fall short. Because the differences between one and the other increase as the dynamics of the stage increases. On a flat stage, they can even coincide, but on a mountain stage, or with a pass, the difference can be around 40%.


That is why normalized power is not a simple value, and that is why we use potentiometers and big data to specify it. As we say, it is not the average, it is not simple. An algorithm determines it because it is altered by the terrain. In other words, its value is more real with the effort that the route demands, because it takes into account more factors, factors that it measures and gives you. It is very valuable information.


Because it's not worth the trouble for a cyclist to average a few watts to know just that, the average. If that average is on the flat, he has a pass. If that average is on dynamic terrain, it is not useful. Normalized power is, because it takes into account this variability of effort. If you go up to 400 watts for 5 minutes and down to 0 watts for another 5 minutes, do you think the average, of 200 watts, is real? Not at all, it is not the same as doing 10 minutes at 200 watts. It is not the same.

How to measure it? Well, on other occasions we have given you formulas. But in this case it is very difficult to do so. Normalized power is a value that the vast majority of potentiometers provide, and our aim today was for you to understand it a little better and see its importance. From there on, guide yourself more by it, especially in dynamic stages.



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Qué es la potencia normalizada y para qué sirve


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