4DP FTP seems below my true FTP

Isn’t the point of destroying yourself on the MAP section so that we don’t get an inflated FTP? The two times I have done the FF I have killed myself on the MAP… and then killed myself on the 20min test. It feels like I’m just trying to hang in there for more than half of the 20min test, and it really hurts, but that’s the point right? I have ended up with very similar scores to my half monty results doing this, and I definitely have a sustained weakness with my MAP being almost 130% of my FTP from FF results.


No. There’s a difference between doing it hard and “destroying”. You’re not supposed to be destroyed.

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Interesting…I thought it was supposed to be done to exhaustion? I don’t mean that I go out too hard and then hang on, I try to negative split it (haven’t done this properly in the 5 minute test yet), but I am still basically completely exhausted by the end.

It’s certainly a subtle line because the 5 minute is supposed to be a max effort. Max effort means, well, max effort.

I think there are two potential issues here.

One, if you’re so destroyed after the five that you can’t hold what you want to for the 20, then i think that means you tapped deeply enough into anaerobic energy stores that while your 5 minute might be a valid 5 minute test (after all, max is max) it’s not really your max AEROBIC power as would need to be reflected in the app. Coaches, check me if that’s wrong but i think that’s the reason why the app adjusts down MAP if it’s greater than a certain percentage of FTP, because otherwise why would it?

The related issue is that if you don’t go all out in the five (and hence haven’t depleted anaerobic energy stores) then you can get an overinflated 20 minute test by having those available. That’s why SUF does it the way they do and they don’t rely on 20 mins x .95, because people with different levels of anaerobic contribution to a 20 minute duration need a different multiplier (and so it could be .9 or .92 for someone and not .95).

So you’re saying that if someone ran a 1500 meter effort at the Olympics they’d be able to do 95% of their best 5Km effort just a few minutes later? Come on, that’s ridiculous.

not at all, that’s exactly the point

What point? Everyone who has done training plans before will likely have experienced the use of the word ‘Max’. It never actually means the maximum you can do.

I think we have to agree to disagree here. The test prescribes a max effort. The blog post about FF calls it “maximal”. I’m not aware ofa ny other definition of max other than as hard as you can go, and when you’re testing at a duration, a performance test normally means as fast as you can go. Is it REALLY as hard as you can go, probably not. That would require not only perfect pacing but also a preternatural ability to focus beyond your organism’s self-preservation instincts. But that doesn’t change the fact that “max” is the goal, it’s just becomes the max that you can achieve vs. something theoretical.

Note, this assumes good pacing. If you blow up in the middle of the five minute, taht’s different. But if you go as hard as you can and then die right at the very end, you probably did it right. And if you can’t recover well enough to do as well as you think you should in the 20, well then that’s probably telling you something.

Your example of the 1500 followed by 5k i think actually illustrates the point. I actually bet you that an olympian could run a max effort 1500 and then a few minutes later run a 5K at only a bit worse than their 10K pace. And this is the point: that “bit worse than 10K pace” may or may not be 95% of their 5k, which is why just taking 95% of 20 mintues doesn’t work. For a marathoner that pace might be more like 97% of the 5K, the miler might be more like 92%. THAT is the point, and FF’s method is one way of making it so that you don’t have to try to figure out that multiplier.

That said, there is no one size fits all and i’m sure it doesn’t work for everyone, but i still don’t think holding back or sandbagging on the five minute test is the answer. Like for example, if you’re a person who when you really bury yourself on the 5, you then wind up with a 20 that you don’t feel truly represents your FTP, I would do an experiment and go re-test that FTP with a long-form test, such as going on Zwift and trying to climb the Alp as fast as you can. You know, see how far off it actually is.


It’s not me that you are disagreeing with it’s yourself.

“Is it REALLY as hard as you can go, probably not.”

Is not consistent with:

“I’m not aware of any other definition of max other than as hard as you can go”

They’re not though brother. As hard as you can go still means as hard as you can go, even if you theoretically could push further if your brain could turn off. Does t mean it’s not max.

I think this (the first bit) is nailed on. I have always interpreted the test thing as going so far in to it that I don’t really want to be on a bike ever again
But it took me 4 or 5 FF’s the learn what that was and my 20min dropped a bit as I did.

Lungs burnt … as an asthma sufferer I do find I’m a bit bronchial after the 5min, and means I really have to have a good prep week so that lungs can take it.
I hope that feeling doesn’t happen all the time Evan :frowning:

Sounds like you’ve been crushing FF’s


Oh and the definition thing generally - our numbers are our own and how we interpret and use them is our own.

End of the day we don’t have a pro coach and a bunch of lab kit and someone monitoring exactly what they want to see from us consistently.

But we all have fun and enjoy doing our own thing on a stationary bike…


Yes it does. There is nothing ‘theoretical’ about saying you could go harder in a race you care about. Hardly anyone who has ever raced would ever say you can’t go harder than you thought possible during a race. It’s reality and millions of people know it. Loads of plans use the word ‘max’ in them: doesn’t mean it’s actually the maximum.

I had asthma as a kid but grew out of it, and I had pneumonia a number of times. I often wonder if that hinders me at all, but without significant medical testing (or any reason to perform it) I won’t ever know.

Doing max cycling and running efforts it’s not hard to get to that level where I get that feeling of my throat or lungs burning, but it’s definitely not normal that they feel burnt for a long time afterward. Fortunately, that was the one and only time my lungs ever felt that way during an FF. But at the same time it was the only time so far that I felt I got the gearing and my fitness level right so that I could hold a true max effort. And I also felt I was working extra hard from a breathing standpoint with lots of effort to breathe deeply to try to bring in the most oxygen to keep from dropping my power. So hopefully when I improve my fitness, again, I can hit that max effort again but without that burnt feeling.

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You certainly have to pace the 5 min effort to get your best possible result, but the idea is clearly to go as hard as you possibly can with no regard to saving yourself for the 20 min test.

On screen note just ahead of the 5 min test states “don’t hold anything back for the 20 min test. Think only of doing your best now”.

Following this instruction, at the end of the 5 min test I am completely wasted, gasping for air. But I still manage to recover just enough for the 20 min. Obviously I can’t hold the same 20 min power as I could when fresh, but that is the whole point of this test protocol. Any form of sand bagging in the 5 min test will just make your FTP look artificially high.


I forgot about this part of your comment. lol.

No I haven’t. I think yesterday’s FF was the first one I’ve actually done all 4 tests properly. Usually I messed up at least on the 1 minute. Last time I messed up the 20 min, but nailed the 5 and 1 minute. Always something going wrong. If there was something I didn’t get right yesterday it was the 5 minute, but it was close enough. I think the thing i did right yesterday was not worrying as much about my numbers and just letting myself ride what felt doable, but still at my max. That definitely helped.

As always, it’s much easier to give advice about FF than to actually ride it correctly. :crazy_face:


I’m not sure I’ve ever got all four parts perfect either. Usually it is the ‘snap’ at the start of the sprint is from the wrong cadence but sometimes it is overoptimism that leads to poor pacing.

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I guess i just don’t really get what your point is then. Max is max, you go as hard as you can (operative words, as you can), if you can push harder then great, if you can’t because motivation fluctuates, then that was still as hard as you can (“can” being the operative word).

If you’re saying that what counts as “max” can vary, then i think we all would agree with that. But again, it’s not really relevant because it still as as hard AS YOU CAN.

If you’re saying that you should intentionally hold back a bit on the five min, then i think you’re wrong. But as i said, literally all along, we can agree to disagree on that.

“If you’re saying that you should intentionally hold back a bit on the five min, then i think you’re wrong.“

Where did I say that? You’re so keen to have a disagreement that you’ve built a strawman to disagree with.

@devolikewhoa and @Eerke:
Gentleman, I believe the two of you are at an impasse. :slight_smile: There is no point in trying to convince the other party. Your numbers and the way you approach a fitness test is yours and yours alone.

I’m pretty sure you are both doing your best to crush the Full Frontal and there are a lot of approaches to victory.

Please, let’s move on. Thank you very much.

To quote the FF SUF article:

A well-paced 5-minute effort is one where 2.5 minutes in you start thinking, “I might just be able to hold this, but it will be close”. If you get to the 2-minute mark and start questioning whether you’ll make it out alive, you went out a little too hot. If you get to the 3-minute mark and think, “I have some energy left in the tank, I need to up the pace” then you didn’t start out hard enough. That said, starting a little bit easier will get you closer to a perfectly paced 5-minute effort than blowing up spectacularly 3 minutes in.