So you are training for the Etape - those 120 miles over the mountains - and you want to see how fit you are. You may want to chart your progress from month to month. How do you do it?

The traditional method is to measure your resting heart rate. It is supposed to become lower as you get fitter. This is really a rather vague method, and only relates indirectly to your fitness while cycling.

A more appropriate method is to measure how much power you put out when exercising. To be more precise, to see how your power output goes up as your heart rate increases.

The following chart indicates how training improves your power output at a given heart rate. By following a good training program, you will probably find that you will be able to deliver more power to your pedals at a given heart rate. The exact figures on the graph are not important - they vary from person to person.

If you don't have the time and patience to draw graphs - there is an easy way: click here!