Power Profile Questions


As the outside season is coming to a close for us in the northern hemisphere, I’m looking back at my season and thinking about what type of training to focus on next. I’ve been looking at my power curve in Personal Records and entering them in a power profiling app based on Coggan/Allen’s power profile assessment. I’m actually quite surprised that my 5 min power is relatively high compared to my 1 min and 5 sec power. I always thought I had a pretty good “snap” as I love the occasional sprint to the city limit sign at the end of a group ride. On Strava my times for short segments, for example under 1 minute, are usually not that bad comparatively. But numbers don’t lie.

I have a few questions and would love to hear some thoughts or even see some power profiles from other riders.

  1. Is it relatively normal to see a power profile like this for non racer, “just for fun” cyclists?

  2. Does it make sense that a higher 5 min power is a result from group / club rides and typical “Strava segment chasing”

  3. Is it worth taking a real max power test and will I see better results or can I assume the power curve has got my best numbers for the season?

  4. Can I expect to see 5 sec and 1 min power go up with targeted training or could this be my muscle fiber type / genetic limits?

  5. Will increasing 5 sec and 1 min power make me a better “all-rounder” cyclist and hence add more fun factor to my riding?

  6. If I’m considering entering a few local crits next year, will I need a better 5sec / 1 min power to compete?

To clarify, my 20 min power is from a very recent 20 min outside effort on a group ride (4.0 W/kg*0.95 = FTP 3.8W/kg)
My 1 minute power (7.3W/kg) and 5 min power (5.0W/kg) is from a group ride about 8 weeks ago
My 5 second power (14.5W/kg) is from a group ride where I “won” a sprint to a city limit sign :laughing:

  1. Everyone has a unique profile, no matter what your level.
  2. Not really, it depends on what areas you’ve been working on.
  3. No harm in testing various areas of your Power Profile. It gives you a good baseline for areas to work on or comparing your numbers in the months / years to come after training.
  4. Yes
  5. No
  6. Depending on the course, yes, but you have to be in the right place at the right time, tactics play a big part.

Ultimately don’t over think it. Following a good training plan will bring gains in fitness. The numbers are only a small part, for example, sprinting at the end of the ride is a lot different than at the beginning as fatigue plays a huge part.