Cycling – Tri: Maximum Mean Power Profile

In the same way as in running or swimming, we are able to define the best times in relation to a race distance, the MMP allows to define the best powers developed according to a interval time (more suitable for cycling on the road, cx or mountain bike but the distance can become a base on track).

This hyperbolic relation has been studied for a long time because it represents with numbers the human physiological functioning and the variable limits of our different energetic functions.

You can observe in this table the evolution of the training volume, but also the evolution of the best peak power recorded according to defined interval time.

We can also find the power profile with the form of a graph where the "visual" aspect makes it possible to target the lacks of the athlete if they are determinant for the performance.

Each interval time corresponds to a priority energy output (Alactic, Lactic or Aerobic) and makes it possible to define the CP5 (VO2 max. Power) and FTP (Functional Training Threshold). 

In France, we define 2 different thresholds:

  • 1 @80% of CP5, litteraly “aerobic threshold”: the lactate rate goes over 4mmol/kg but keeps a steady state.
  • 1 @90% of CP5, FTP: the lactate rate increased without control. 

Who is right, who is wrong? Probably nobody is wrong, just different ways to go to performance. 

If a Vo2 test or a PP Test[1] give us a good part of the data necessary to structure a training or manage a pacing in race, I prefer the progressive recording along the trainings and / or the races. Each bike ride generates peak power over a interval that most training platforms compile to generate a MMP.

In the end, it is not a question of seeing a beautiful and harmonious curve, with a progressive decrease on Training Peaks or Garmin Connect but to observe, from month to month, the marked evolution towards this or that type of effort and, sometimes, reorientate future development goals.


[1] Simulation d’un final de course pour l’établissement d’un PPR préliminaire, Rémy Deutsch - Alexandre Abel - Julien Pinot - Fréderic Grappe

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