How often you should test with Full Frontal

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How often should you expose yourself to the Full Frontal Fitness Test? Like most training questions, the answer is…..“it depends.” We’ll assume you’ve already done Full Frontal once and are now asking yourself if you should test again. There are a few reasons you might be asking yourself this question, such as:

  • You feel that the workouts have become a lot easier (or harder) lately.
  • A lot of time has passed since your Full Frontal session.
  • You’re trying to make plans for the future and want to know when your next test should be.

With those reasons in mind, here are our recommendations on when it makes sense to do Full Frontal again:

Whatever the situation, don’t do it today.

Whenever you do Full Frontal again, you should only ride it when you are properly rested and fresh. That means 5-10 days of reduced training volume and intensity. Don’t be stubborn. Testing while fatigued or right after a hard training block will almost guarantee that you won’t perform your best.  Full Frontal is unpleasant enough. Don’t make it worse. Follow our lead-in plan for the week before the test.

New around here? Expose yourself every 4-8 weeks.

Generally speaking, the newer you are to structured training or consistent riding, the more frequently you should front up to Full Frontal. Why? Because the early stages of training are when most people see the greatest improvements in fitness. For some, that means getting in 2-3 weeks of training after a test, resting up and testing again. For others it can be a bit longer. If you are still new to suffering and feel your fitness is increasing quickly, then you won’t want to go longer than 8 weeks without testing.

Experienced cyclist and making incremental fitness gains? Hit Full Frontal every 9-12 weeks.

For most Sufferlandrians who are already fit and making solid, but less dramatic, gains, we find that testing every 9 to 12 weeks is ideal. As you now know, proper testing requires proper rest, and that means a reduction in training for a week. If you’re training hard, you can’t afford to have a bit recovery week every four weeks or so as you need that time to keep building your fitness.

Going to do one of our training plans? Test before starting and test at the end.

Since our new plans take into account your rider weakness, you need to complete Full Frontal before starting one.  For best results, follow our prep plan before testing.  Once you start one of the new plans, you will retest at the end.  Our new plans have been specifically designed so you can string them together directly.  That means you can run through the Novice Plan, and upon completion go directly into the Intermediate.

On another training plan? Wait until you’re rested.

If you’re not on one of The Sufferfest training plans, the best advice we can give is to only test when you are fresh and well-rested.  That might mean testing after every recovery week, or every 6 months.  As long as your test comes after roughly a week of reduced volume and intensity (and you properly pace all of the efforts), the results should be accurate.  

More than just a test

Remember the old adage, “Training is not always testing, but testing is always training.” Putting yourself through 5 all-out maximal efforts over an hour is a great workout. Even if the numbers aren’t exactly what you hoped for, you still just bagged a fantastic day of training that will make you faster in the long run.

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Thinking of skipping the Full Frontal fitness test and just manually adjusting your 4DP values? Then you better read this first.

 

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