Last year I used a power meter, loved the progress and the tool. I am trying to set some power goals for Maximum 5Min and 20Min.

What are some good goals to aim?

Last year I had 16% increase in Power Output over 5 minutes from April to August, around 13% for 20 minutes.

What about 8% over what I had last August?


Looks like more information is needed. My 5min all out Power output was 340W and 20min all out power was 296W, that happened last August while my weight was around 67kg.

There is some room for improvements for my body composition, I estimate around 12-13% body fat based on some measurements I made with various scales using bio-impedance.

My endurance was top, was able to complete rides of 5/6Hours with total work of over 4000Kj, or do rides with over 2000m+ climbing. I was able to do them as part of my training, I was aiming for 285W for 20 minutes.

While I have bigger cycling goals, I need to break them down and assign individual sub-goals as Vo2Max power or 20 minute power. I just don't want to assign an overly optimistic goal of 20% increase in Vo2Max power and just be disappointed with maybe a 10%.

Update again

Looks like people feel the need to have higher goals, like completing a route in a certain amount of time. How about this route: https://www.strava.com/routes/4048253

Strave is estimating around 5h50m for me, what is a good goal for such a route for someone that is training for a couple of years now. I was thinking about 5h30m, but I am not sure. It is also harder to quantify, I can get lucky with a tail wind and do the same course 10min on the same power output.

  • 4
    my preferred goal is "enjoy riding my bike". Beyond that it's all about what you want, without knowing an awful lot about you we can't really make useful training suggestions. "try to do better" is about it. What are you training for is important. If you're racing criteriums then sprints are important, if you're going to do the PBP then they don't really matter.
    – Móż
    Jan 25, 2016 at 22:38
  • Moderate and steady improvement should be your overall goal. There will be good days and lesser days, but the trend should be a bit better over time. Strava shows me how my segment times are dropping, but traffic lights and headwinds mix it up a bit.
    – Criggie
    Jan 25, 2016 at 22:49
  • 1
    Simply measuring power isn't a cycling goal. It's a number on a screen. Your cycling goals should be real world targets - like racing, local hill climbing, endurance events or Col conquering.
    – OraNob
    Jan 26, 2016 at 8:48
  • 1
    @OraNob, power output is an almost direct measure of performance, at least at duration of 5min and 20min. I do have higher goals, like doing a 1800m+ climb in less then 1h40m, still there is a maximum capacity one can adapt year over year. I am simply asking what is a good goal that would stretch me and force me adapt without being unrealistic. Jan 26, 2016 at 11:54
  • 1
    @OraNob - Or simply enjoying the time you spend on your bike. Jan 26, 2016 at 13:28

1 Answer 1


Power output by itself is not a good measurement of performance. Performance of 300W for a 130Kg rider compared to a 80Kg rider is completely different. You should be looking at a combination of

  1. Power to weight ratio
  2. Time to complete a regular route/segment on garmin connect/strava.
  3. Heart rate
  4. How you actually feel during your cycle
  5. How well your bike transfers your power to the road

In addition to number 2 above, some routes/segments can have wind advantages, maybe you get to draft behind buses etc so it's not a real reflection of how you've actually progressed physically/mentally in your approach to cycling.

For me, without a power meter, the best way for me to test how I've progressed is to do some climbing up some category 3/4 hills (not the steepest but a good test for me)....you can't cheat gravity .. much anyway. In 12 months (duration I've had my first road bike), I've managed to:

  • Lose 15-20Kg - don't have exact measurement but it's >15Kg for sure.
  • Get a better set of wheels - rolling is a lot easier now
  • Improve stability on the bike: only lower body moving and consuming energy, upper body stationary.
  • Focus on staying comfortable and tucking arms in when possible for aero effect
  • Improve shifting technique and get better at knowing gears on my bike

A category 3 hill segment on strava with 300metres of climbing, took me >33mins11secs 12 months ago, it took me 24mins29secs a few weeks ago. It was a combination of weight loss, better equipment, better technique and being mentally stronger ... these are the areas you should be targeting instead of just simply power output.

  • Thanks for suggestions, I especially like the #1, #2, #5. However #2 is not going to be the main focus as it is too much weather dependent. Regarding #3 I don't really care, my avg. HR can remain the same if my power output goes up, I prefer higher output at same Power then lower HR at same output. Regarding #4, last year I felt very good, I plan to keep it that way. Jan 26, 2016 at 11:49

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