Failing Full Frontal by overdoing MAP?

I had my first, I’ll-fated, rendezvous with Full Frontal this morning at the end of a block and after a recovery week. I felt great, prepared, motivated.

I went into it hard, scoring 1250 on NM. The first minute of the MAP test I was doing 400+. I was aiming for 370 as my last Monty was 366. This obviously didn’t hold, but with shifting to standing for the last 2 min I finished without dropping too much: 358W.

But then, the recovery before FTP was just not enough. I was exhausted and could only push out ~200W while killing myself for a minute. And then I had nothing left and quit. HM FTP was 292.

So, I take it my problem was with pacing the 5min. But how do I follow the instruction of giving it MAX without being completely unable to take on FTP?

I will take HM in a week or so to have a baseline for the next block. But I am not sure how I will ever give MAP my best and still complete FTP! Has anyone else found themselves in this situation? Did eventually getting the MAP pacing right resolve it?

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Not failing FF, just learning. Your first one so don’t be too harsh on yourself.

As regards the 5 minute MAP - yes, it sounds like your pacing could have been better (what were you pushing out in your last minute?). It’s a tough 5 minutes and hard to get right. I pace myself up or down (usually down) from my last HM MAP - I never start higher. Starting at 400+ was too high if you were aiming for 370 and you proved that to yourself. You want to try and avoid a crash and burn in the MAP section (reserve that for the AC!!!).

That said, you gave your all and that means you “prepared” yourself perfectly for the 20 min FTP section. If you hold anything back on the 5 minute you’re sandbagging it and, in theory, you’ll land up with an FTP that’s higher than it should be. So even if you had a perfect steady level 5 minutes you should still have nothing left in the tank at the end of it. FWIW the first 5-8 minutes of the FF is always the hardest for me. I question why I’m doing it, if I should be doing it, am I sick, am I way weaker than I’ve just achieved on my MAP, on my last HM; I beg myself to stop. But somehow I get through those first 5-8 minutes of mental anguish and physical pain/ exhaustion and get into a rhythm (I don’t mean a comfortable rhythm here, just a rhythm of turning over those pedals at the same cadence and mentally holding back the demons!). Part of what I tell myself is that it is an assessment of where I’m at and, if that’s 50% lower than my last FF then so be it. That takes me off the hook for not achieving outlandish numbers, but keeps me on the hook for rotating that crank. Frees me to perform. Different people have different mental strategies but I find that works for me.

If you search through this forum you’ll find some great advice form many. Ian Boswell in his Breakfast with Boz podcast also has a great episode on it.

Rest and recover. Next time you’ll take the learnings and crush it!


Thanks for the support! I am in awe of the mental and physical effort it must take to push through. I read a lot about how hard it would be and how to make it possible, but it was way harder :).

The MAP effort was split into minutes of 392, 366, 350, 330, 350 average power.

I did something similar the first time I ran FF. I went in too hot and didn’t pace the intervals properly. It was a good learning experience. The 2nd time I hit it I went in with a plan. I knew what I wanted to hit my FTP at so I set a plan (5 min increments on what I wanted my power to be with what the average could be if I hit those targets). By the end of the 20 min I couldn’t have ramped it up if I tried so my pacing was pretty much spot on. I learned to pace hard but not blow up my legs at the start. There are some great articles on how to target it on the wahoo website.

That’s not a crash and burn at all. Not perfect but not a huge drop. Now you know what to expect you’ll do it next time. There is a learning curve.


I’ve done that too. I think the key is to put out full effort by spinning fast even if the number generated isn’t the maximum. I also wouldn’t stand. I personally start at 110rpm and it drifts down through the interval but never gets that low. I’m pretty sure the instructions relate to perceived effort and not useful work done, so just try your hardest, not necessarily do your hardest. If it’s your cardiovascular system that takes most of the hit from the 5 minute effort it’s got to be easier to recover from than muscular injury.

Can I suggest that it was the NM that was overdone which led to the problem in the MAP section? I did something similar recently: absolutely nailing the NM and then being utterly exhausted for the rest of the session. I came out as a Sprinter which I know I’m not - “Plodder” would be more accurate

I know that the test is designed to get the most accurate figures for each power type E.g. there shouldn’t be any anaerobic contribution in the MAP section. Therefore draining it beforehand makes sense but IRL it’s not a all or nothing thing. The contribution from the different muscle types/groups is more gradually applied and really has an effect as fatigue sets in

Anyway, just a thought. Good luck in your next attempt :wink:

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The aim with the MAP section is to keep the power output as flat as possible for the 5 minutes.
If your aim was ~370w then starting at over 400 was set to burn you out completely.
You’re better off starting at the mark you think you can sustain and then stepping it up very slightly if you feel you can rather than dropping it down.

The NM bursts are short enough that they’re just spin it out as hard as you can.
Otherwise, the AC section at the end is the only one you should see as throwing yourself at it as hard as you can and then just maintaining it as best you can as the power declines.

MAP and FTP you should be aiming to be as high as you can, but also for the bar on the graph to be relatively flat come the time you’re done. Starting at 370 and finishing at 380 or 360 would be okay. Starting at 400+ and finishing at 358 is a big drop.
If your last HM was 366, you’d have done well to start there, see how the legs felt and then try to creep it up to the 370 while just powering through, rather than blasting out of the gates too hard.


Hey David,

Nice job on completing Full Frontal!
Like any fitness test, it can take a few times to get used to the protocol and sort your pacing strategy.

Here is some additional reading you may find useful:


I would never get as high as 110 during 5 mins, prefer to keep it under 90

110? What is the unit here?

I did Half Monty yesterday (36 hours after the failed FF). It went OK, within the margin of error for the test a few weeks ago: 292->291 FTP, 366->364 MAP. LTHR went 268->262, not sure why.

Will try FF again in a few weeks!

You’re enjoying your FF’s then? Time to see a doctor - or go for a knighthood…

Definitely looks like time to see a doctor…

Two hearts? !!! :open_mouth:


Just to clarify, there is definitely anaerobic contribution to the MAP portion and for some athletes it can be meaningful. The sprints will use your stored creatine phosphate in the muscles but two sprints are not nearly enough to fully deplete the anaerobic stores especially given the recovery afterwards (i think really by “deplete” what we mean here is, fully exhaust the larger motor units that predominately make power anaerobically). Remember that motor unit recruitment and how those motor units generate power are a continuum so “MAP” is really just shorthand, partially functional shorthand for a set of power targets for certain types of workouts, not a discrete “energy system” that can be measured. Other way to think about it is, if there were no anaerobic contribution to your MAP, then it’d pretty much be your FTP.

So here’s what i think is likely going on here. You might have overcooked the MAP portion of the test and you could definitely eke out a few more watts with better pacing, but you didn’t really do it wrong in a way that you’d expect to blow up your FTP. After all, max is max, whether you start to flag at the very end of minute five or you flag earlier because you paced it wrong.

Rather, ramp tests are known to often overestimate FTP for anaerobically strong athletes. Ramp tests do not generally measure your FTP; they measure your performance on the ramp test, and then apply a formula to it to estimate your FTP. My understanding is that with HM, they’ve tweaked the standard ramp test to make it spit out a more accurate estimate, and that’s probably true, but still doesn’t mean it’s a perfect estimate for every person who tries it.

So, where am i going with this, you might ask? I don’t mean to come off as dogmatic but in my view there is one really good way to test whether what you think is your FTP is actually your FTP, and that’s the long-form test. On a day that you’re fresh enough, decently rested, fueled and hydrated, hop on the trainer and do this:

i. try to ride at 292 for 35 minutes
ii. if you succeed, bump up the power by 10 watts or so every five minutes

if you can get through step i and maybe even a couple additional bumps in ii, then it’s likely that your FTP is 292 or thereabouts, OR potentially that your FTP is lower but your time to exhaustion (TTE) is fairly long, so you were able to work above FTP for a good chunk of time (35 minutes!). If you’re very well aerobically trained, this could be the case, and to get more accurate, you dial it in by trying to extend step i longer (to like 45 mins plus) or raise the power, and see how it goes. This part is more of a judgement call, because FTP has no set TTE that holds for everybody (i.e., it’s not 60 minutes, that also was just a way of estimating it).

Alternatively if you can’t hold 292 for the duration of step i, then 292 is probably not your FTP. Which is fine, you need an accurate target to work at, not an ego number.


sorry for hte long post

I was commenting on @Eerke recommending 110 rpm as credence.
To me this totall shocking as I will be below 90 at all times

yeah cadence is super individual. Mine is more like yours, 85 to 90 on the MAP portion (although it starts out a bit higher)

Hahah, yeah. 16x.

This sounds like great advice! I will try it out. I think you’re probably (unfortunately) right that my FTP is a bit lower in reality, and maybe even the MAP. I will give your testing protocol a try.

FWIW, the 292/366 numbers worked pretty well for me though: I haven’t encountered any sufferfest videos I couldn’t complete at 100%, at least. Maybe a little lower would have allowed me to make more progress for the last few weeks though?

Immediately following the HM test yesterday, I did “The Best Thing In The World” (which was scheduled for the first day of my cyclocross block) and I just made it through.

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