The story of failed Full Frontal - aka fatigue sets in

This community was always great at sharing both good and bad for inspiration and learning. So here’s my bit.

I wanted to do Full Frontal for quite a few days now. I haven’t done it for quite a while, I felt my Tour numbers were way too low (nuclear at 105-110%, huh?!) and more importantly after the last big ride on Sunday, I felt and also finished really strong. The Tour fatigue was gone. Or so I thought.
I took couple of days really easy, then did a Recharger and finally Primers yesterday. Everything was still good, not as good as Sunday, but I thought that’s just the anticipation setting in.

Last few days I wasn’t feeling 100%. The numbers were good - on the bike, and off the bike. Low waking / resting HR, high HRV, plenty of sleep, nutrition. But mentally - that’s a different story. Irritable, anxious, quiet, distant…not really happy bunny at all. But I thought, numbers don’t lie. So off I went with the plan.

Today I woke up not really pumped to do it - to put it mildly. Feeling rested, having enough nutrition 2hrs before, just somehow not feeling it’s the right day.

First, show no fear. Full Frontal can smell it. Steel your nerves and get ready to show this test who’s boss.

The warmup was ok. Legs felt good, breathing too, just HR was strangely high. Where I’m used to a 100 for given power, I was at 130. To a point I’ve thought the chest strap is playing up, so I’ve unclipped it and put it up again. Same numbers. I even double checked on the wrist sensor on Apple Watch. Same numbers. That’s gonna be interesting. First sprint went quite well I thought, only HR wouldn’t recover below 130 really, 1min HRRc at 22. Not encouraging given the subsequent easy pedalling. Maybe I went too hard, give it time. Second sprint. I’ve unclipped during the effort which threw me off a bit, but the first one was better anyway, so I didn’t mind that much. Just let it go. Second recovery was even worse. But by that time, happily leaving it all behind, I was mentally getting ready for the 5min interval. I knew what I can achieve from the races I’ve done, so I went in hard, able to keep the pace just by the skin of my teeth, just as it should be. Reaching the numbers I knew I could instantly felt good and I was chuffed to bits by pacing and good high cadence. But then after a rest way too brief the 20min interval came. Barely one minute in I knew I couldn’t sustain even 80% of my normal numbers. That felt just awful. I’ve tried really hard to keep up, varying fast and slow cadence, but it just wasn’t there. The tank was empty. Both legs and mind just gave up. Briefly I thought about restarting and accepting the numbers just tell the story, but then I’ve decided to bail out before I do more damage and call it a day.

I’ve done fair bit of riding last 12 months. 1000km a month, riding more or less daily, some intense online racing on quite a few occasions. Beginning of this year was busy, riding intense and relentless. But since I don’t have other commitments (no kids yet and being furloughed, so basically at home with 100% spare time) I thought - why not. But the experience you gain riding makes you realise when it just doesn’t feel right.

I’ve pushed and I’ve failed.

What I failed to realise is the mental and emotional side of all this. I might get enough sleep, good training, recovery days, not much stress and plenty of spare time, good food.

But there are lot of things that are secretly weighing heavily on my mind, I’m not gonna lie.
The job. Mortgage. Savings. Uncertainty. Survival mode. People’s attitudes. Politics. Social media. The noise.

Well today was the day when my ego wrote another check my body couldn’t cash. It’s a humbling experience.

Time for a few days off bike. Look after yourselves people and don’t underestimate that squishy grey matter in your cranial cavity. Numbers CAN lie.

8 Likes

Nothing to do with your story but +1 for the Top Gun line… :slight_smile:

It sounds like you already were able to pinpoint a possible culprit.

Hope everything will turn for the better going forward.

I doubt there is anybody here that can honestly say they crushed every Full Frontal they ever did. Live and learn. It’s my believe that it’s actually the bad experiences and how we handle ourselves in spite of them that make us stronger.

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May I make a suggestion?
It is sort of a Cognitive Behavioral approach to FF.

Next time you do FF, do not try to crush it. Just ride it with a 90-95% effort and allow yourself the possibility of failure. Keep doing FF in that manner until you feel comfortable, and then you can up the effort.

The very first time I did FF (as part of my free trial), I pushed too hard, and got really angry when during the MAP session the words to the effect of “you should try harder” came on the screen. I stopped right there and told myself I was never going to do a FF or Sufferfest again.

I took a day’s rest, did the FF again, and as Paul Harvey used to say, “and now you know the rest of the story.”

6 Likes

This is the best FF advice I have ever heard. I have accumulated a lot of negative feelings and fears about this test over the years. I am due to repeat it this weekend before starting a new plan, and I… just can’t. I am going to take your advice and run it like a workout this weekend at lowered intensity, pay attention to watts, HR, and gear changes, repeat until I feel like I have a plan for attacking the test for real, and execute it when I’m good and ready.

4 Likes

Thank you for your kind words. It is appreciated.
I hope it works for you.

1 Like