Add Level Mode Training for Pre Full Frontal Workout and Modify Targets During Test

Hi, newbie here and just got done with the full frontal test. Just a couple of suggestions for feature improvement.

In the 3 weeks of training preceding the full frontal test, there’s no training for how to use Level Mode. Needless to say on test day, I was completely unprepared when I started the workout and it told me I needed to be in level mode click here, (which I did).

The remainder of the test was a mess, with me trying to figure out which gears to be in and when, as well as not knowing which targets to try and meet or not depending on the section of the test. For the latter issue, I’d suggest only giving the targets that you need the rider to strive for and ignore or don’t show a target for those that don’t matter.

Thanks again! I’m sure even as messed up as the test was for me, it’ll help tailor workouts, but to get the most from it, I’ll need to try and find some workouts that teach level mode and then redo the pre full frontal training and retake the 4DP test.

That’s a really good shout.

With the prevalence of smart trainers these days and I suspect the use of erg now increasing significantly, this would be a grand thing to build in to a plan - even a specific plan for people new to the app.

It’s hard anyway mind you (first couple) to get power close to what we can hold. So anything to help that …
@gpsjared @chris.blom ?

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This is something I would have appreciated too! Nowadays I do one or two sessions a week on level mode - usually the endurance/inspiration ones - partly so I can change cadence and Watts and see what it does to my HR.

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Hey @toddsdonald, I upvoted this. They could call it Pre-Frontal (in keeping with the SUF humour and theme). In the past I’ve just run one of the Open Vids and tested out the various levels to see how quickly each ramps up and to fiddle with gearing. But, to your point, I do like the idea of a Pre-Frontal specifically designed to help you practice it.

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Heck, even running FF after using Level mode all the time is still difficult. Any help on this would be amazing.

Certainly it could be part of the Full Frontal Prep Plan.

Even for those of us who ride outside, and therefore are then in Level Mode all the time, it is a very different experience trying to pace during a test.

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Hi @toddsdonald -

Thanks for taking the time to bring this missing piece to the fore. There’s no substitute for practical experience with a feature or function, and I can appreciate how much of a curveball this must have been.

I’ve logged your feature request and I will make sure to talk this through with the Product and Sports Science teams because there are a number of things we can do to improve the experience here.

A few questions for you if you don’t mind? As a new user, which (if any) do you think would have been the most helpful…

  • As part of the training plan, a 10-15 minute ‘Level Mode Explainer’ video that introduced some of the basics of Level Mode as your warm up and then had you try different power targets in Level Mode?
  • At least one workout in the lead up to Full Frontal that is best done in Level Mode and encouraged you to switch to that mode (and learn on the fly)?
  • A pre-test checklist that made it clear that Full Frontal is done in Level Mode and that knowing how to train in this mode is recommended prior to your test (with suggested workouts or resources)?
  • A quick run-thru of Level Mode in the warm-up section of Full Frontal so that you can experience different targets before your heart is in your throat?

As ERG trainers become the norm, getting this right for new athletes will become more and more important. Thanks in advance for helping me understand your experience (and letting us know how we can improve it).

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There is a similar problem in the Half Monty. With the growth of power meters people have lost the ability to train in a heart range.

Wow thanks for noticing my suggestion! Totally unexpected, but very much appreciated!

I like all of your suggestions, and think the most useful would be at least one, perhaps two level mode workouts during the full frontal prep week.
Perhaps one could be for a more intense workout with several surges, hills, sprints etc. and perhaps one dedicated to a recovery ride, (since there’s lots of recovery to do during full frontal). I’d recommend the last one be done a day or two prior to full frontal, or add one 15 minute workout to the day with the “primer” in level mode with on screen coaching and a variety of practice surges, sprints, recoveries and tempo runs.

The day of frontal, I’d recommend the on screen notice prior to the workout warning of level mode as suggested, but perhaps more importantly a separate, (or extended), warm-up allowing not only getting used to level riding, but also to get thoroughly warmed up. A 10 minute warm-up might be okay for a 25 year old CAT 1 crit racer, but for most novices, intermediate riders or advanced riders over 50 years old like me, warmups should be much longer. Personally at 55 years old I seem to do my strongest, longest and fastest rides and races after no less than a half hour of easy to moderate riding, (zone 1, 2 maybe a little at 3).

Also lastly, I’m not sure if you noticed the part about omitting targets that don’t matter. That would be a huge improvement. Instead of saying the targets don’t matter in the beginning of the test, unfortunately the brain is trained to try and stick to those targets. So, if you want a 350 watt effort, but don’t care about the cadence, turn off the cadence target at that point. Or for the sprints, give a little more warning, turn off the targets and just say go as hard and fast as you possibly can. Perhaps a target speed would be better for that. I know outdoors when I sprint I’m usually targeting 30+ mph, and I could care less about power, cadence or heart rate. For recoveries, if only heart rate matters, turn off the cadence and power targets. All that blue to red and various targets are way too confusing during something that’ll drain your brain like the full frontal.

Thanks again! Definitely a pleasure for you to even ask my opinion.

PS: Adding a thought here, something else that threw me off mentally while doing the full frontal test… Sometimes the video changes from chasing or riding in a pack, to some other view like looking at the peloton coming towards you. The test should be always chasing or in the pack… Otherwise you lose your sense of direction. Not that its likely you’ll get turned around or lost, but it messes with your head when you’re full gas, or hitting an effort hard and suddenly you’re looking at the peloton from the back of a motorcycle instead of drafting.

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Sorry to hijack - but for me as a newcomer choosing beteen FF and HM - links to demonstrate/let me try out both modes would have been great - e.g in the check list - not everyone wants to do a pre-test plan!

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As you come to the end of a plan, Primers is a good workout to do in level mode as the MAP and FTP efforts on that will require a similar gearing to that used in FF.

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Agree that Primers in level mode is excellent for matching gearing with applicable power prior to FF, which is something that could be put more emphasis on for newcomers.

As for target power, the test will be “easier” if you have an idea of the target power to aim for within each power level, then manually adjust them in the Settings prior to starting FF.

As for cadence levels, I am pretty sure the instructions during FF tells you to ride at whatever you find “comfortable”.

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Not at all, my ideas were intended to stimulate replies. You’re right in saying that not all athletes/users want to do a pre-test plan (though they really should, but I digress), and we need to take into account several different user experiences and surface relevant information across each experience.

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I need more warm up than you get in ff or hm, so do igniter @80% intensity before. I find that gives me the right warm up / etc to actually hit numbers on the tests.

I had trouble too in my first ff and hm, you actually have to learn how to use the levels etc. I’m on a mtb, so basically I have to use level 6-9 to get anything like the resistance I need - but it took me time to learn that. Also the gears and levels respond differently. For example - level 6 on 5th gear is not the same as level 7 or 9. And the transition between gears differs. I’ve worked out what works for me, on my setup - you’ll have to do the same (sorry).

Don’t sweat it. Just adjust and as you get more experience you’ll learn what works / doesn’t work.

I’ve been doing this a while now, and totally screwed up my last ff last week. Not sure why - it happens to all of us. But that’s part of the process - learning, adapting…

And suffering (of course ;))

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Some sort of level mode explainer plus some targets to try out would be great. I ended up just doing a short recovery video a couple days in advance to test out gearing on my SB20 and wrote it all down. A cheat sheet like there is for the swimming and running workouts would be great

Extra bonus points for some guidance on which Level you should be at. One thing my wife and I struggled with before getting the SB20 was planning out our gear shifts to avoid changing the front ring right before or after the NM and AC tests. Something to guide you that says if you’re in the middle of you rear cassette and go down a level you can stay likely stay in the same front chainring.

Obviously this has a lot of personal preference and bike setup involved here but thats something I struggled with it at first and my wife still still has me help plan out her 4DP or tries to avoid it for that reason.

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I honestly can’t see how this can be achieved given the massive diversity in equipment, not only the trainer but the bike and gearing and the individual’s preference.

I really believe that this is something that you figure out on your own with practise.

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Yeah, its a tough one. Is there general guidance on how much resistance is added with each level? Just a coaching tip with that would suffice

I imagine that will be dependent on trainer model and that information may be better found from the manufacturer rather than Sufferfest (although the Minions are incredibly helpful).

In any case, it’s probably easier to simply put on Open 15 and play around for a few minutes.

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Having been new to Full Frontal (and even the ramp in Half Monty), I greatly appreciate the need to “play” with Level Mode since most SUF training is done in ERG Mode. Riding in Level Mode is an acquired skill. “A quick run-thru of Level Mode in the warm-up section of Full Frontal” is always helpful but not the same as actual experience. I may be slower than most; however, doing a few “Open 30” sessions in Level Mode allowed me to learn to shift gears and get the hang of different intensities in Level Mode. I often think that some of my Full Frontal improvement was the result of learning how to pace myself while in Level Mode and not entirely (but mostly) related to all the hard work and intense aerobic sessions. Like so many other life skills, the more you do it, the more accomplished you become in the execution.

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For those of you who want to see how different smart trainers deal might deal with level mode here is an example using the Wahoo Kickr:

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