Retesting FF using Current 4DP Profile

Sufferfest videos just don’t seem to kick my butt as much as they used to when they were straight videos and I relied on RPE to set power targets. Now I use virtual power and my 4DP profile sets targets for me. Even before SUF became SYSTM and the workouts were ‘full strength’, RPE allowed me to experience the very dark place that AVDP takes you to. Today I rode AVDP and it was a nice workout, but nobody had to pick me up off the floor. My suffering was not up to the level depicted in the video, which I had experienced previously.

I probably need to do Full Frontal again. I’m confused about the targets during the segments of FF. The targets are obviously based on my 4DP profile. But the point of retesting is to get a more up to date profile, hopefully with higher numbers than current, since I have plenty in the tank after working out. So how should I be interpreting the targets served up during FF? Is there any value in turning off the Power display, but keep RPE visible?

Another possibility might be to increase my 4DP metrics by 5%-10% per week until I feel I’m suffering appropriately. But that flies in the face of sports science, which I respect greatly.

What have others done in this situation?

I think the FF targets are just that, targets. If you can go above them you should!

I also think there’s a weird relationship between the cadence you self select in a ff test, and the cadence you use to get by in erg. I have a suspicion some of us self select too high a cadence in ff in the mistaken belief we can get more watts out spinning, when in actual fact we would get more watts out pedaling a bit slower in a bigger gear.

I suggest this because I quite often find myself below cadence in erg mode but able to get to the end of the session. I would love to see if average cadence across the cohort of ff testers varies in proportion to watts??

They’re not targets. Not really. They’re just a guide based on your current profile.

My best FF result ever occurred when I turned the Power numbers off and used HR and cadence instead.

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Yep agreed. I’ve never once looked at the power “targets” in FF.

@jkorngold I generally ignore the targets and have my own idea as to what the correct pace should be going into the test so that I don’t over or undercook myself. Keep an eye on your workouts in the weeks leading up to the test and you should be able to do the same.

As for increasing the workout targets manually - definitely try that in the app if you feel that you have made gains between tests but keep the changes small. Ideally you only want to move a few percentage points at a time and then reevaluate.

Great suggestions all!

I’m going to ride a few workouts with only cadence and RPE displayed, and see how they feel and what kind of power results I get compared to following 4DP power targets. I’ll proceed from there.

I’ve always liked the concept of personalized workouts based on my 4DP profile. Especially the over-unders in Angles, for example.

Today I rode AVDP with the power display turned off, but displaying cadence and RPE targets. I recorded virtual power, and I could see on the display that I was consistently exceeding virtual power targets based on 4DP profile. Yesterday I rode AVDP with power display on and consistently hit those targets.

I did a quick comparison of the summary data for the two rides and here are the results:
TSS up 51%
IF up 23%
Distance up 9%
Cal up 23% (same as IF)

Average Power up 23%
Normalized Power up 23%
5 sec up 26%
1 min up 21%
5 min up 30%
20 min up 22%

Cadence up 5% avg and max
Speed up 9% avg and max

My 20 min power today was an exact match to my 4DP FTP 20 min power.
5 min power was within 3% 4DP, 1 min was 7% lower than 4DP, and 5s was 12% higher than 4DP.

The suffering was glorious today, yesterday not so much.
Maybe I sandbagged FF when I did it last, who really knows?

What do you think if I increase my 4DP numbers by 20% across the board and carry on?

Or, stop training with virtual power and just go with RPE? Gosh I’d hate to ignore all that science though.

You’re probably going to say redo FF, but how do I avoid sandbagging or blowing up?

Any value in doing Half Monty here?


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Yes. I would do this rather than simply apply 20% across the board (although this won’t change your NM or AC numbers).

There is no issue with using virtual power (I used it for years) as long as your setup is consistent.

you might want to use virtual power and RPE. As people have said virtual power is fine and certainly good enough, but it can shift over time even if you think you’re keeping your setup consistent. If you pay attention to RPE you’ll get a good workout regardless.

Can you elaborate on this please?

well like, your tires lose air pressure over time, right? There’s some very, very slow leakage that always occurs, plus if temperature goes up or down then that shift itself can change the tire pressure.

I admit i’m not familiar with how to set up virtual power for SYSTM but when i used it way back in the day for Spinervals, it was based off of rolling resistance and if your tire pressure changes for a wheel-on trainer, rolling resistance changes.

So what i mean is, you may need to periodically re-check your setup to make sure it’s consistent, leaving it alone may not be enough.

If it’s just tire pressure and temperature you’re talking about, those are controlled.
Thanks for clarifying.

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If those are controlled, then it sounds like what happened is you got a lot stronger.

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