CTL question

When I m installing a Sufferfest training plan, the first thing I notice is that it s about half in volume (looking at TSS/week) than what I m used to (avg. last month was 550 tss/week)

I still have two big events coming up, Festive500 in two weeks and the ToS in February. So, I don’t want to loose too much fitness by letting my CTL drop from 80 to around 40, around the time the tour of Sufferlandria starts, by applying the AllPurpose plan ?

Or am I worried for nothing ?

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Great question. I was thinking along the same lines. I’m hoping the structured plan is simply more efficient than simply racking up loads of TSS more randomly!

My CTL has dropped from around 80 to 57 over the last month or so on the advanced All-Purpose Road plan. But the actual suffering has gone up!


When we speak about TSS in terms of our training remember that TSS does not take into account intensity. Intensity does not equal time in regard to effect on the body. Intensity, although shorter has a much greater effect on the body. The Wahoo/SUF training plan have just the right targeted intensity each week to see those numbers climb even if the duration is less than you have been doing previously.

Higher TSS does does not equate to more beneficial or effective training. Below is a link to a great article written by Wahoo/SUF coach Mas Cassin on the topic.


I ve read the article and it explains the difference in TSS and IF for me vs. another rider. What it does not tell is the difference between me and, well, me ?


What it is: TSS allows you to more accurately compare the training load of a session by considering both the intensity and the duration.

Like it says in the article, TSS is volume, intensity x time, which still leaves 500TSS/week for a Pursuiter being much harder than 250TSS/week for that same Pursuiter.

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Even though TSS takes into account both intensity and duration, I still find shorter more intense sessions require significantly more recovery time than longer endurance sessions with equivalent or even considerably higher TSS.

Over the summer months I was averaging around 600 TSS with long weekend rides of 4+ hours and loads of Zwift group rides and the odd race during the week. For the last month I’ve been on the SUF adv All-Purpose Road plan with a TSS around 400. But subjectively it feels just as hard, if not harder, on my body. I’m pretty sure adding more volume would compromise the quality of my MAP/AC intensive sessions, so I just stick with the plan.


yup - i’ve never uncovered an understanding of this … I have come to the conclusion that plans, whether SUF, or the 101 places you can get plans these days too, can only be based on what seems to work on average for a given target section of a population, and when it eventually comes down to it - to know what is truly best for an individual down to how much training they can handle etc etc either needs full time analysis by professionals, or make it a full time job oneself …

Have tried having more TSS, less TSS (both with intensity built in), custom, non-custom, learning from friends … and it’s just hard to know. I have found that after 6 weeks of lower stress overall I have declined in my capability to then ‘perform’ in a ‘test’ - but until I win the lottery and give up full time working to employ someone full time, I’ll never really know.

So I’m currently going for adding volume to the intensity.

Although TSS by definition says that it takes into account intensity it does not take into account the individual affect that intensity has on an individual. TSS is based on given time spent in FTP, therefore, this makes up their definition of endurance x intensity. Each athlete has differing strengths and therefore differing intensity needs which will have different affects on their energy systems and progressions. Given this point, TSS is not given a significant value in the 4DP world as each workout in your plan will be specifically designed to work the correct energy system to give you overall progression. If you follow a training plan that uses CTL and TSS you would not be following a plan that specifically works your needed weaknesses but gives you a basic duration and intensity based on a general calculation based on time at FTP. When using the Wahoo/SUF workouts and training plans you test before your begin and your numbers for 4 energy systems are adjusted to continually work your strengths and weaknesses so you are always working in exactly the zones and intensities you personally need to grow and progress. With the Wahoo/SUF coaching workouts and training plan you are training for what you need and not using general formulas for formulating workouts.

In summary, TSS and CTL can give you generalized estimations of duration and intensity for workouts or weekly load but they do not give you the personal insight into what demands those durations or intensities have placed on your energy systems nor has it addressed your specific strengths or weaknesses within the durations or intensities. Your 4DP numbers are used to create personalized workouts and training plans giving YOU the best possible progression and fitness coming out of your plan.

It can be tricky to understand and as cliché as it might sound, “Trust the process” and watch your numbers climb!


This explains perfectly why I’m finding lower TSS on my SUF plan more challenging than the higher TSS I was training on previously. It is definitely targeting my specific weaknesses and stressing energy systems I was previously neglecting.

Approaching the halfway mark on my current 12 week plan I’m pretty sure my weakest 4DP metrics (NM, AC) are significantly improving while my stronger metrics (MAP, FTP) are at the very least holding firm.

Overall I’m pretty sold on the relatively low volume, high intensity approach to training. It does seem far more efficient than traditional winter base training.


sorry for my english :grin:
very nice topic ! in my case i use Trainingpeaks to have an annual plan and an idea about weekly tss (e.g 600 TSS per Week).

then i pick Sufferfest Workouts 3 times per week for intensity. the rest of the week is for endurance workouts or group rides on zwift/outside. so i get a 3+2 structure for example a MAP oriented Week:

Monday: Sufferfest Core Training
Tueday: Butter
Wednesday: Endurance Group Ride Zwift (Blue only)
Thursday: 14 Vise Grips
Friday: Sufferfest Core and Recovery Ride
Saturday: No Vid MAP 10x2
Sunday: Endurance Ride + (min. 3h)
After 3 Weeks + rest week you can switch the focus on AC/FTP or what ever you need
What do you think about this system? SUF Coaches comment welcome !


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so, I wasn’t easily convinced. I started the ToS Prep plan and followed it.

At some point I put it to the test:

What I like to do is pick a route of about 3hrs and ride it as fast as I can and then see what my peak power over 90min.

3 weeks in the SUF and I came back with my 7th best 90min power OF ALL TIME !!


Another way to think about it is, all TSS is equal in the model, but not all TSS is equal in its effect.

Imagine you’re looking at two training weeks, each with 500 TSS. One sample has five rides of toodling around at zone 2 until you hit 100 TSS, the other sample week has three days like that, but two of the days are 100 TSS worth of extremely hard intervals.

Same total TSS but would you expect identical impact on your fitness? I don’t think I would.

I think of it like, CTL is not actually “fitness” in the sense of adaptation. The latter is not directly observable. Rather CTL is your fitness, modeled. And the model has strengths (simple, reasonable correlation with performance, more descriptive than just looking at time or miles) but it also has weaknesses, and this is one.

My 2 cents is the SUF plans play mostly with insensitive and frequency rather than duration. So if you are going add more duration / extra time, definitely introduce it carefully. It’s easier to push yourself over the edge when you have that many workouts that are hard, even if they’re short.

@Peloton , I am doing similar here, increased the volume with z2 rides and have Tuesday and Thursday high quality intensity workouts. On Saturday I also have a structured workout (focusing on quality) with extra endurance volume. Plus a long endurance ride on Sunday.
I am very careful to spend time in z2, not z1 or Z3, and it seems my body is accepting it well.
For example, I had 1h38’ this morning (5 am) with a 70 TSS and indeed it helped my legs feel better for the 14 vise grips that I did at evening accumulating additional 84 TSS.

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I have news on the results of the changes I performed for my plan.
Today (Thursday) I decided to do a HM as training and to evaluate a new smart trainer.
However I kept tracking power with the Assioma Duo, so the reference for Sufferfest is the same.

I reduced an extra kg of weight and had that improvement in MAP and FTP, in less than 4 weeks.
Most interesting I was not fresh for HM, I did 14 vise grips and 100 min of endurance on Tuesday and GAWI yesterday.

Now I am starting to believe I can reach the 4W/kg this year, it is almost 3.9 now.


@Alvaro_Santos_Neto Congrats - way to stay focused on your Mt. SUF!

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