Can She Do As She's Told? (Part1)

The idea came to me like a joke: What if I let you create a plan for me…and I followed it? LOL! The more I thought about it though, the more it seemed like “the thing to do.” I have been a Sufferlandrian almost as long as Sir Spencer (my husband and one of the amazing SUFCoaches.) We started buying and downloading the workouts when there was just one (Downward Spiral. I’ve been a KOS since December of 2017 and have been know to do Sufferfest workouts on an elliptical if the hotel gym doesn’t have a bike. What I’ve not done is follow Sir Spencer’s advice on a consistent basis. Don’t get me wrong, I sometimes ask what he thinks, and, sometimes I listen to his advice. He did, for instance, help me prep for my knighthood. But, typically, I do what I feel like doing and typically what I typically feel like doing is suffering. Don’t get me wrong, he’s a great coach and I know it. I hear him coaching people and I’m proud of the work he does. He listens, he’s compassionate, he’s funny and he seems to get results. I just don’t want to, “Do what I’m told.” Anyway, it occurred to me that it might be a fun experiment. I’m someone who is relatively fit, getting older and I don’t think I have a lot of room to improve. I’m not saying I’m in peak shape but let’s face it, I’m no slouch. But what if I followed exactly what he told me to do? Would I show improvements? Be a better cyclist? Still be married? Could be fun! Sir Spencer liked the idea and ran it by the powers that be at SufCoaching and got the okay.

I thought about writing something up at the end but then, would anyone believe me? I’m hoping this will be more fun to follow, more real in my description of challenging myself to follow the coaching and, no matter the results, they’ll be real too. So, here goes.

I filled out the intake questionnaire and scheduled my “interview.” Here is the pertinent information: I’ll be 55 years old in a couple of weeks. I’m 5’9” but men who think their 5’9” think I’m 6’. And, I weigh about 167# (75.5 Kg.) I’ve been doing 5 days a week on the bike averaging about 6 hours total. I’m also lifting twice a week. During the interview Sir Spencer asked if I wanted to do 4-6 hours per week or 7-10. I told him 6-7. Seems that isn’t an option, even for a smartass like me so I went with the 7-10 hours. My goals are to improve on whatever numbers I get from Full Frontal, crush some strength training goals and lose some weight. I figure about 10 pounds (4.5 Kg) will do it.

During the interview we talked about my goals and my willingness to do as told. Sir Spencer is especially concerned with my willingness to not overachieve during the workouts and comply with the recovery weeks. We agreed on a 3 on, 1 off schedule. Truth be told, I get a little nervous at the thought of burning less calories, but I agreed; this was my idea after all. I’m hoping with the additional volume I will be more inclined to comply. Normally he would ask about yoga, strength and mental toughness. He knows that I am not allowed to do yoga (hypermobility syndrome and a competitive streak make it a bad idea for me) and that I’ll be doing my own strength training program. I will be doing the mental toughness program. Sir Spencer uploaded the Full Frontal prep week into my Training Peaks schedule and told me he would create my plan as soon as he had the results from my 4DP test. And, I was off!

I didn’t like prep week. It’s so boring and easy, but we agreed that I would give the test my all, no sandbagging just to get good results at the end, so I needed to do the week as prescribed. Primers the day before Full Frontal were harder than they should have been and I realized I’d forgotten to take my thyroid meds since my cleaning woman had been to the house (three days.) Darn it! I took them and figured we’d just have to see what happened. Sunday morning, I had a pre-workout bar and got on the bike. Does anyone enjoy Full Frontal? My weakness has been V02Max forever (or since the awful 4DP was bestowed upon us.) I’ve been working on it, both on the bike and in the gym. Well, I improved my MAP and crushed my AC and NM results so no one can say I sandbagged. I absolutely failed the FTP test and my weakness is now sustained power. I’ll give my numbers here but before I do, let me remind you that I’m the size and weight of an average man. (Oh, and I’m using a Stages bike.) My numbers were as follows:

NM - 863 +16
AC - 386 +16
MAP - 294 +7
FTP - 221 -14

Like I said, I failed FTP. Literally stopped a couple of times. Maybe from missing the thyroid meds? Something to consider as we get into the plan. I was especially pleased with the AC since the 1-minute efforts have historically not gone well for me. There you have it. My numbers.

Once he had my numbers, my rider type and my weakness, Sir Spencer spent a few hours customizing my plan. I immediately noticed week one was easy after an easy prep week and complained (the benefit of living with your coach.) The increased volume was pointed out to me so, in the end, I STFU.

I’ll be back to post updates along the way. By the way, Sir Spencer thinks this is hilarious.


This sounds like a fantastic idea. I’m definitely following this and can’t wait to read more as you progress. :slight_smile: :+1:

Love it!

Look forward to hearing about this… it sounds eerily familiar…


I don’t think you can blame your thyroid meds though - levothyroxine is so slow acting it takes weeks for dose changes to show any effect (and it is perfectly possible to take your whole weeks dose at once rather than every day) :slight_smile:

Prenups up to date? :wink:
Sounds like type-A fun. Enjoy this experience. :metal:t3:


This is great stuff!! I believe this is the perfect sort of marketing that Wahoo should be doing for the Sufferfest App, augmenting the very important fact that very few of us consistently follow training directions (I am looking at you Saturday random Strava intervals), but look what would happen if we did.

I also think it would be great to supplement it with some YouTube videos along the way. More specifically, DameSteph seems so much like those of us in our 50s trying to kick ass on our bikes, that inspiration alone should drive getting this out to a broader audience. It is certainly inspiring me.


fair enough…maybe the lexapro or three I missed :slight_smile: Whatever it was, I failed the 20 minute test. But, now I can hold those numbers… Don’t want to make it easy for Sir Spencer to “win” so we’ll use my former FTP of 235. thanks!


hahahahaHAHAHAHAHAHA oh stephanie. poor, poor sir spencer

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This is awesome! I wish you the best on your journey and look forward to reading about your progress. :slight_smile:

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Awesome project, Dame Stephanie @DameSteph! I wish you the best luck possible and I hope to see you crush the plan and obliterate your next Full Frontal.


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HAHAHAH. LOVE THIS THREAD so much. This is the SERIES of the year!! And we need to hear from Sir Spencer as to his side of the story. Man, I need some popcorn…


now I feel really bad… I did the prep week, and when it came to the Sunday, I went all Couchlandrian and gave it a miss. Although I have decided to do a 3 week build and then try again, without the prep… anyway, I look forward to the continuation.

yes, this. we need both sides of this story!


This is a great idea! :laughing:


This is great! Definitely following this. And +1 for the Sir Spencer’s side of the story.

Is there a Half Monty at the half way point in the plan?

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not sure you’ll hear from Sir Spencer - maybe toward the end. Definitely a Half Monty at the halfway point


No worries, you will be hearing from me in early December.