I received this comment recently for this blog, and felt it asked a great question...
I was wondering what a pro male triathlete power profile looks like
if you don't mind that would be cool
Haley asks a great question, as many people don't know what good power values are. Many athletes think the higher the numbers, the better. Generally, this is true, especially when compared to a single person over time, but comparing person to person, this is not the case. Power is relative to two values, weight and aerodynamic drag.
Power to weight is a key value in general, but is especially meaningful when considering a hilly, or mountainous bike course. If a course is flat or lightly rolling, which allows athletes to stay in the aero position, then aerodynamic drag is the limiting factor. Weight can actually help in some instances, as the mass moving allows it to maintain higher speed much easier than a low mass person, especially on a flat course.
Also, the quality of these values depends on whether you are a cyclist or triathlete, as well as the distance or event you focus on. A match sprinter on the track would not care about their CP 180 value, and in contrast an Ironman athlete doesn't really care too much about their CP .2 -6 values.
Haley is an Ironman triathlete, so it would seem obvious she is looking for a good value to base on for that. She asked for males, so here is what I have come to find, as well as talked with other coaches to be the standard for CP 60, or what we call FTP, Functional Threshold Power. This is the value you can hold for 60 mins.
If you want to qualify for Kona as a male age-grouper in the more competitive age groups, you need to have an FTP very close to double your body weight in pounds. For example, a 150 lb male in the 30-34 age group needs to have a FTP of close to 300 watts.
If you're a male pro, wanting to be competitive and qualify for Kona, (which means top 7-8 places overall), you need to be over 2, closer to 2.2 times your body weight in pounds for FTP. For example, this year I had an FTP at Ironman Coeur d'Alene of 350 watts, and weighed about 165 lbs, giving a value of 2.12 times my body weight. I finished 7th at that race.
Heading into Ironman Arizona, I was seeking an FTP of 375, and weight around 160-162 lbs. This would give me a value of about 2.3, which would be very competitive.
It should be noted that my background is running, and this assumes you run competitively in your category, and swim middle of the pack to front of the pack. If this value of FTP to weight was the end-all, be-all, we wouldn't bother racing, we'd just all submit our FTP's and determine the results from that. So there is a lot to consider besides these values, but when someone comes to me and tells me their goals, this is a standard I use to see if their goals are realistic.
This was a very good question, and I will take the time to answer it over the course of a few posts, with regards to females and other age-groups. Thanks Haley!