Is it possible to do full frontal too well?

I used to be nervous about the Full Frontal based on the stories people told. I’ve done it twice now, and both times I am confident I did the best I could at the time for my level of fitness.

I did all purpose road (intermediate) between my two attempts, ate well, recovered well, good half monty increase half way through and it went as well as it could have. I made it through each session, just on most occasions.

Now I am two weeks post new 4DP numbers and I don’t think I’ve finished a session yet. 3 hour endurance rides, I cave in at 2:30, AVDP - heart rate fine but lungs and legs on the limit, had to stop 3x.

Even with the big increase mid-plan I could scrape through to the end of hammers. Now, I find the warm ups are leaving me with pools of sweat on the floor and I’m struggling to get half way through a session without pausing/stopping.

Did I do too well on my last full frontal or will this get easier after I finish my first recovery week in the plan?

I don’t mind suffering, but this just feels excessively hard right now. Full frontal doesn’t fill me with apprehension, but the weeks after full frontal are now on top of my “things am afraid of” list.



I wish I had taken a bedtime drink before my last FF. I find it hard to understand how I hit such high numbers for the 20 mins. There have been a few workouts since where I have struggled with the warm up. Revolver comes to mind

Has anything else changed? Still eating, sleeping well etc? Has overall volume increased on current plan vs. prior all purpose road (intermediate)?

If you are doing ‘2 weeks on 1off’ then I guess you’ll be feeling much better by the end of week 3 going into 4th week.

I’m fairly new to SUF too and from my limited experience the first few sessions on new numbers are pretty daunting as your suddenly in new territory for the wattage targets and the confidence you felt towards the end of the prior plan is just replaced by intimidation!

Everything else is consistent. The weekend rides at zone 2 are a bit longer. But I’m not even getting halfway through the 45 minute to 1 hour sessions that are intentionally harder.

I will persevere with failures for another week, do the lower intensity recovery week then see how it feels. Hopefully I can get some confidence back.

I like barely scraping through the workouts. I dont like barely making it past the warm up.


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I have been wondering exactly the same thing! I totally nailed my last FF test in Feb and the resultant suffering has been pretty intense, with several major blow-ups recorded. MAP intervals within long threshold segments in particular now just seem insane!

Maybe it’s a mental issue? I really get psyched up for FF tests and am prepared to totally destroy myself to get the very best result. But when it comes to a regular training session I will tend to bail before going quite so deep as I would in a FF. I probably just need to HTFU!

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Did you take a recovery week after FF?

Exactly the same as me. MAP targets are nuts, and where I used to be looking forward to some rides, I am now dreading them! Of course I get on and attempt them nonetheless!

As we approach our theoretical max for each of the 4DP profiles, is it possible that the ratios used for tough MAP intervals start to get out of alignment to what’s actually possible?

Also, we can’t expect to reach the max of each of our 4DP profiles at the same time. In other words, I may have room to grow my FTP 10%, but due to genetics, my MAP may only has 2% more growth until max.

Also same story with my AC. Omnium wants a 616 watt minute from me at nearly 8 watts per kg (after the other events). Yes it is achievable, but very unlikely on a week to week basis!

Just my thoughts!


Not a full week. But I did take a day off, then a 30 minute ute recovery ride, a day off, then recharge. Then back into a plan.

I guess it could be not enough of a break. But my trainingpeaks said I was in good form and I certainly felt fresh.

I’ll persevere till the recovery week and see how I feel after. And will take a few extradays off if I need it. Will also take a week off after my next full frontal.

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In short, as long as there isn’t something dodgy going on (pm calibration a suspect), it sounds like the symptoms of sympathetic overtraining. Even a 20 percent increase in ftp (which for a trained athlete is like years of development) shouldn’t make a warmup effort impossible.

SF is a lot of intensity, pretty regularly. The plans don’t scale well in terms of TSS and often front load it in the on weeks.

Take a recovery week.

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This is also why I don’t really agree with “preparing” for a fitness test. You should test in your normal state - that way your training numbers are reflective of what you can push in that state.

If you take a week off or drink extra coffee or whatever and do all you can to hit your highest numbers ever, you are only cheating future you.


I think that’s a very good point. But it is nice to hit those peak numbers in the test!

Maybe the answer is to simply scale back the intensity to say 90 or 95% following a FF test and then build again from there. At the moment I think both my FTP and MAP targets are a little too hot in regular training sessions. “Thin Air” was on my plan last weekend. 0.91 IF for an hour with no recovery. I went into it pretty fresh but it was just too much with my current 4DP numbers. It was hard enough maintaining the over/under targets, but the MAP bursts were soul destroying! “Angels” was another that recently destroyed me by half distance. I know these are tough sessions, but they feel OTT right now.

You have to ask yourself, what’s the goal? Is it to win bike races or to post a good ftp? The training plans for the two of them are surprisingly dissimilar.

I’m not sure exactly what you mean by that? The training plans are what they are. I’m currently training for hilly GF’s this summer so I’m about to start the Hilly GF plan. I did my last FF at the end of the All-Purpose road plan, then did Tempo and FTP blocks with a few days rest in-between. It was those blocks I really suffered on more than I would have expected. I was already suffering enough on my previous FF and HM numbers! It doesn’t feel like over-training as the volume is relatively low by my standards and I feel fine. I just think that maybe I dig a bit too deep on FF tests and then make life hard for myself thereafter. But I’m only following what the SUF training recommends in terms of FF prep etc. The last test was built into my training plan, so I was literally just following the plan.

I think your idea of not specifically preparing for FF has some merit, but then it could make the test inconsistent with slightly different levels of fatigue. So I’m thinking that adjusting the workout intensity slightly down instead might achieve the same result. Just enough to take the edge off my actual FF result. I’m going to try this approach anyway, otherwise I fear I’m going to fail too many workouts and lose motivation.


Your original post said you were struggling with warmups. Have you considered that you have had insufficient recovery?

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Yes, I have considered that. I felt fresh before I started back on a plan, but maybe my “fresh” wasn’t reality.

I’ll see this through the week, do the recovery week in the plan and see how I feel. For full frontal I followed the taper plan so was itching to get back on the bike.

It’s normal to struggle in the 2 weeks after a fitness test (especially FF) for three reasons. First, if you’re not new, you’ve just completed a training plan and need to recovery. Second, you just did an all-out fitness test and you need to recover. Too often we jump right into a new training plan without enough recovery from the fitness test. Recovering from HM only needs 2-3 days. But a week is usually best after FF. Third, if you are just coming off another training plan and did FF and have new improved numbers, your workouts are going to be harder. So, if you just did FF and got higher numbers and jumped right into a new training plan, then you will likely need a full week of recovery before starting your new plan to let you legs recover and absorb your gains. Otherwise, you’re working on higher numbers with tired legs and that’s a recipe for overtraining and a loss of motivation and confidence. Proper recovery after FF will flip that negative cycle in the other direction.


@Peteski Reducing the numbers for now sounds like the right solution to me along with a rest day or two and really focusing on your sleep and maybe one of those guided meditation videos. While the volume in the AC and FTP plans might be less than what you are used to it could be that the intensity was higher or maybe it is just some life stress creeping in as well. You cranked on the FF - those are your numbers and you can do them - but your body and mind must also be ready.

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I think there’s something in the “mental issue” explanation - it seems to apply to me anyway. I really push myself on the tests (though I’ve only done 1 x HM and 1 x FF), whereas I think I am more likely to give up during a regular workout. Even if its a sub-conscious decision, it’s probably just easier to give in on a workout.

That’s exactly how I feel. I will push myself that bit deeper in a FF test.

I’m pretty sure I get enough rest and my sleep is usually pretty good. Unlike Fezzek I’m not finding the warm-ups an issue or the tempo work. It’s really just the high threshold and MAP intervals I find a bit too much. They just feel a tad high compared to the workout descriptions. “The Rookie” is a good example. From the description “These race simulations steadily get harder and harder as the workout progresses, so don’t be too keen to increase intensity after the first 10 minute effort if it felt too easy”. Now for me the first 10 minute effort already felt pretty close to my limit, the 2nd one was right on my limit and then I broke down in the 3rd. If I had started off dialled down at 90% I think it would have felt more like the description and I may have got through to the end. But it was simply too hard at 100%. Maybe doable if I had specifically prepared for it like with an FF type prep week. But this was just within a normal training plan.

So next time a really tough session comes up I will dial it down to 90% and see how that feels. I’m on a recovery week at the moment, so that will be next week.

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