Measuring your MAP “at home ”
MAP – the most important determining factor of endurance performance – can only be measured in aerobic activities where real-time feedback on power (watts) is displayed.
To display power on your bike, there are many options :
- a home trainer (Wahoo Kickr, CycleOps…)
- a power cranks (SRM, Stages, Quarq…)
- power pedals (Vector, Look, Garmin…)
- rear hub (Power Tap)
On a rowing machine, you can use the concept2 Watts Calculator.
The « one-minute incremental » protocol
- Start the test at a very low intensity (one you’d spontaneously choose to warm up),
- After every minute, increase the intensity by 10 watts, until you cannot maintain it,
- The power at the last one-minute increment completed is your MAP.
With a good training program, a mid-level athlete can generally increase his/her MAP by about 20 to 40 watts in one season. I personally increased my MAP from 380 to 440 watts in less than three months doing 2 to 3 high-intensity interval training workouts per week.
To better gauge your personal results, here are MAP averages of cyclists :
- the average Joe : usually below 150 watts
- those who regularly train : 200 and 380 watts (men and women, respectively)
- elite cyclists : 420 . and 380 watts (men and women, respectively)
- great champions : 500 and 450 watts (men and women, respectively)
On a hill, weight matters !
On a flat road, cyclist A (80kg and a MAP of 350 watts) will outperform cyclist B (50kg and a MAP of 300 watts). But going up, weight comes into play and the cyclist with the higher MAP/weight ratio will be the ass-kicker !
On a hill, cyclist A (relative MAP of 350 watts/80kg = 4,375 watts/kg) will now lag behind cyclist B (relative MAP of 300 watts/50 kg = 6,0 watts/kg).