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Watch Setup: Power


Now that you have the basic concepts when using power (see here) it’s time to set up your watch for training and racing. With all of today’s watches it is possible to set up lots of data fields on the display units.

On bike computers you can have up to 8 fields on one page and wrist watches most have 4. But you can scroll through to different pages and have as many fields that you need.

What I am going to focus on are the fields that are important for training and racing.

The Garmin pictured above is set up with 7 fields:Normalised Power Lap or NP LapLap PowerPwr 3sCurrent Lap TimePWR% FTPHeart RateCadence

The Garmin screen is set up in this way so that you can hit lap on the watch and everything will be reset to zero. It means that if you are doing an interval set you can focus on exactly what is required for the interval, hit lap at the end of the interval and start again.


Normalised Power measures the true value of your effort. By setting up NP lap on your watch it allows you to reset it to zero for each effort once you press lap.

For sets where you have a number of intervals at different intensities its important to hit lap and reset this number.


This gives you the reading of actual power for the lap.


Power fluctuates and spikes up and down during cycling. So having just power on a screen will be very difficult to see a constant power number. To take into account some of the fluctuations you can smooth the reading a bit by looking at a 3s average of your effort. It’s just something to keep an eye on.


This is the current time for the lap. Once you hit lap it resets to zero. This should be on your watch all the time particularly when you are doing intervals.


This displays current effort based on FTP. It is handy to see so you can see where you are based on your FTP. It is only good if you have set up the zones in your watch correctly.


Although power is where the focus is during the interval it is always useful to see your HR. This allows you to not only see the impact of the interval on you HR but also how environment like heat and wind impact you.


You will need this for low cadence work.

This is how you might consider setting up the data fields on your watch. If you are using a watch and only have access to 4 data fields then I would suggest that you set it up as follows:Lap NPCurrent Lap TimeCadencePwr% FTP

It is a personal choice and you can have many fields and different screens to scroll true. Keep it simple and see what is works for you.

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