From The Coaches: Picking your Plan

Tips to help you pick and get the most out of your SUF Training Plan

As we come to the end of what has been a very unexpected year many of us are taking stock and making plans for 2021. We have navigated the challenges of quarantines, cancelled races and closed workout venues all while trying to maintain our fitness and emerge from 2020 with renewed focus and direction. In 2020 we not only have become creative with how or where to get those training sessions done but have become a quick trigger and honed those online shopping skills. Picking the SUF Training Plan that is best for your goals is not too different from using those newly sharpened, online shopping skills. Know what you want or what fits your goals, find the specific plan that will meet that need within your resources and in a time frame that will work with your schedule. Here are a few tips to help you pick and maximize the effectiveness of your SUF Training Plan to conquer new empires in 2021.

When preparing to pick a SUF Training Plan one of the most important facets to your overall success is to be honest with yourself. First, be honest with how many hours a week you have to train. To really train, not squeeze something in or jump in a training session under fueled or exhausted but fully prepared for an effective training session. Second, be honest with your goals, make sure they are attainable and measurable. Pick a goal or goal event that is plausible. In the New Year, as things unfold, we will all be eagerly anticipating the confirmation of events and races in our area and all over the globe. Picking a couple of interchangeable goals and events will give you flexibility. Third, be honest with your life circumstances. Do you have a life change happening during your chosen training plan? New job, new move, new family dynamic? The body does not identify stress as external or internal, so any stress in your life will place demands on the body that will affect your time and training readiness during your plan.

Overview of the SUF Training Plans:

  • Plans range from 2 to 16 weeks in length
  • Plans are written on the knowledge that you will begin with a Half Monty or 4DP test to establish your numbers for use within the plan
  • All plans are written to address your individual strength and weaknesses
  • Plan compliance is predicted to be 70%
  • Novice and Intermediate plans are written as 2 weeks on and 1 week of recovery
  • Advanced plans are written as 3 weeks on and 1 week of recovery
  • All plans start on a Monday and end on a Sunday
  • Plans are listed by discipline categories with peripheral disciplines listed in cross training
  • You can add Yoga and Strength to any plan by going to the Cross-Training label and choosing your level and clicking “Add”
  • We always suggest that you start with the Novice or Beginner level and progress through the levels to Intermediate and ending with Advanced
  • Kickstarter Plans are designed for athletes who are new or restarting their training and all include yoga and strength
  • With plans that have an indoor/outdoor option there will always be an indoor option for the outdoor workout
  • All In Plans are specifically written for our current period of quarantine and facility closures and have less of a load and demand on the immune system
  • Transition plans come in 2 levels transition up- ramping up your training and transition down or heading into a recovery period. Transition up will end with a Half Monty to get your new numbers for use to begin focused training and Transition down will end with Full Frontal to let you know how much rest is needed
  • Special Focus Plans are a great way to top up or sharpen up for a specific goal. Examples of use would be a Speed Demon Plan to get you sharpened up for a criterium a Volcano Climbing Plan to round out your training for a mountainous Gran Fondo. These plans work great for circumstances when events or races pop up with short notice.
  • Moving forward a brand-new content category will be a part of every training plan. Introducing the Inspiration Collection - 31 videos containing variety, motivation and a change of focus to aid your recovery and adaptation phase days. Follow the link to learn more about our new series:

Additional resource-

How to get the most out of your suffering:

  • Pick your goal event or focus point and work backwards with your timeline
  • If you are new to training, returning from a long break or master’s age we suggest that you pick a 2 week on and 1-week recovery cycle
  • You can string together more than 1 plan to prepare for your goal. If you complete a plan of 12 weeks or less, we suggest that you take a week of recovery and non-structure before starting another plan. If you have completed a plan of 12-16 weeks, we suggest a recovery period of 2 weeks. Training is about introducing new stress to the body and allowing the body to work within that stress and then allow recovery time for adaptation and growth. Recovery is just as important as your training to reap the rewards of your suffering. The week or 2 of recovery and non-structure is not only good for the body but also the mind
  • Training readiness will determine the effectiveness of your workout. Checking your morning heart rate for variability is an easy way to see if you need recovery or if you are ready to suffer!
  • If you miss a workout do not try to make it up. The training plans are written in a specific progression to “double up” or make up workouts on the same day will be an overload and cause overreaching within the progression. Overreaching will cause the subsequent training to be less effective. If you miss a day, move on and prepare the best you can for the next session.
  • Fuel your workouts before and during your training. Just as a car needs fuel and fluids to run efficiently and optimally, your body needs the proper fuel to truly run at its best.
  • Follow the prescribed intensities written within the training plan workouts. The daily workouts will be adapted to your specific testing data and to train at a higher intensity than what it prescribed will cause a plateau or decrease in progression as you will be overreaching and stressing the body harder than the scheduled progression. We have seen several SUF training plan users do the scheduled workouts at a higher intensity than prescribed leading into a test and have a less than stellar result which can be tracked back to their overreaching before testing. Do not be your own enemy in progression and stick to the plan.

The SUF offer Customized Training Plans for every discipline from 12-16-week durations if you want a truly individualized training schedule for your goals. Customized plans come with one on one coach communication and review to address your specific needs and schedule. Want to really dial it in, contact us for details.

This year has been different, our schedules have cleared, and it seems time has slowed down and we hope it has been a time for reflection and redirection in preparation for a great New Year. Take account, set those goals and let SUF training help get you there with the confidence that you have done the work and are strong for the battle to come. Have you stormed the CASTLE?


Loving the info but one thing caught my eye as it sounds very prescriptive but is not strictly true (as I understand it)…

I pretty much always shift the plan start date so that this is not the case, tends to fit my week better that way. When I want to apply a plan to start right now (because I forgot to plan that I wanted to start a plan) then I sometimes have to do this by scheduling from finish rather than start, skipping the first easy day, but that’s simple enough from the plan planner. Maybe that’s covered in one of the referenced articles but thought I’d mention it just in case.


As I can’t make time for cycling tomorrow, does that mean I’ll have to skip my prescribed Nine Hammers session😭

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For me this is the biggest thing. Any form of bike activity is third place in the priority list and the real world for me is ‘squeeze something in’
Good conversation to open up.


What do you suggest for those who’s numbers stopped increasing? I’m always on the All-Purpose Road Intermediate with Strength plan and my numbers stopped increasing sinds May 2020. I never skipped a workout, and had to take it easy with 6 weeks of Building Blocks in September, because I blew myself to bits.

Now I’m considering a SUF coach because I really don’t know what’s going on. The problem is that the increased number system works like a reward, and that’s gone now. Oh and I don’t want to sound frustrated, because I really like what you’re doing.

It may seem counterintuitive to miss a workout to gain overall fitness but actually to miss a workout and just let it go and move on will have a greater benefit for your training progression than if you tried to fit it in or “double up” on the next day. Remember, the body recognizes all forms of stress, not just training stress so if your busy and training doesn’t fit in your body will feel that stress from your day and most likely will need the time to get ready for the next days workout.


Hello, have a question for you…When was the last time you tested? I would do the Full Frontal Prep Plan ( 1 week) and then test to see where you are at the moment. I would also encourage you to purchase a Customized Training Plan so you can speak with a coach who can address your specific needs. You will get “more bang for your buck” with a Customized Plan.

If is very possible that you need more recovery or a 2 week on 1 week recovery training cycle to prevent overreaching and seeing your numbers stagnate.

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The last test was a mid-plan HM on the 22nd of November, and I’m on a 2 weeks on 1 week off plan.

There are some funky things I’m experiencing. Sometimes my legs cave and can’t reach high heart rate targets. And other times the legs are strong, but my heart rate is so high that I have to lower some numbers after my legs stops spinning.

Maybe, but I don’t know for sure, AC is way off…

Would that not depend on whether one has a fixed endpoint such as a race? Could not someone just put off their schedule by a day?

Another possibility, if the exercise that is missed develops a skill that is critical for the goal, and there is no possibility of moving the schedule, would it not be better to do that workout instead of another workout?

Hello, the link below should be a great reference to help give you more information regarding missed workouts. In short, it all depends on why the workout was missed. Stress on the body and the recovery cycle are 2 very important factors. To get in a key workout that overstresses the body will not give you a positive result and you would be better to skip and move on with the plan. Remember the plans have an overall progression that is key to your success.

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I see most of the plans that include strength says its for people that have not done a 4DP test. Does this mean they dont focus on strength/weaknesses?


  • Riders who have NOT taken the Full Frontal fitness test in The Sufferfest app OR for those who wish to base their training on RPE / FTP-based metrics”

Couple of things here…

Why do you feel your AC is off?

There are a couple of factors that can influence what you describe. First, would be dehydration which can effect both heart rate and functionality of extremities. The lower fluid levels cause lower blood volume which in turn can cause heart rate fluctuation and the inability to effectively clear lactic acid in the extremities. Secondly, the need for recovery will manifest itself in both heart rate fluctuation and “heavy legs”. Be sure you are well hydrated for the workouts (start at least 24-36 hours before workout is to begin) and if your morning heart rate is over 5-7 beats higher than normal take a recovery day.

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That is the quandary isn’t it for most of us. To be honest with your time to train is essential for the success of your chosen plan. Creating a truly viable schedule of our daily activities takes practice. The unexpected will always happen but planning is a vital tool to success!

Wow thank you so much for guiding me in the right direction!

I think AC is off because during the second half of the micro intervals in Revolver is Easy I couldn’t hold the AC power targets. It was almost impossible, the only thing that I could do is to raise cadence to 120 rpm and then fade.

My daily fluid intake is 4 times 500ml water with protein powder. And in the morning a glass of water (300 ml) after that 2 or 3 cups of coffee (200/300 ml). During the day roughly 1 liter more. The total intake is between 3 and 4 liters.
Oh and during workouts I don’t drink, because heart rate will climb and I really need to recover between intervals.

Maybe what follows is causing to much training stress and leaving me far more fatigued than planned.
In January 2020 I super sized the strength training plan, because I wanted a more challenging strength plan. In stead of the standard Intermediate lvl 4-6 I do 3 times Intermediate lvl 5 and 4 times Intermediate lvl 6. Lastly in week 11 Intermediate lvl 2. During recovery weeks I follow the standard strength workouts as planned. This “feels” good, and I’m 2 years with the Sufferfest by now.

PS there is nothing, really nothing out there that provides what you’re providing. And wow… After the Sufferfest merged with Wahoo it took off like a rocket. New forum, new videos, more articles. And what I read is there’s even more to come. Really jawbreaking! I’m really happy with you guys…

What are your thoughts on moving a rest day forward or a session back a day? i.e. if I wake up and my HRV is terrible, but I’m meant to have ‘The Shovel’ on deck today, and a rest day the following day. I’ve been trying to listen to my body a bit more (with good results so far on this plan) and wanted to make sure that’s not a crazy approach as long as I’m not creating either multiple days of heavy load with no rest day, or multiple sessions per day.


If your plan is not aimed at a fixed end(i.e. race on on a certain day), I see no reason not to insert a rest day and push the schedule back.

If you do have a fixed end and you have to insert a rest day, it would seem you have to skip a workout. Nothing wrong with that as doing a workout while fatigued may not achieve the goal for which the workout is designed, or perhaps even cause you to get sick.

The workout you skip, however, might not be the one scheduled for the day you miss. I would adjust the schedule so that the workout you skip that week is the one that is the least critical for your success.

Hi! I am currently suffering through the Preseason Mountain Bike program but would like to do more outdoor riding with a Fat Bike in the snow. What do you recommend I do within the scheduled workouts?

Does this mean that if we were to be at pretty much 100% compliance we should be extra careful to watch for over-training? If we felt we needed to plan an extra day’s rest in the week, which workout should be omitted? Or is it a see if keep going and if resting HR gets out of hand, them change to a rest day?

Great question! As long as you have tested within the last 6 weeks or at the beginning of your plan. The plan is written to prevent overreaching even if followed 100%. There are a certain number of key workouts per week working your strengths and your weaknesses to give you the perfect mix without extending you too far. Training impact is very individual and to that point, this is what makes Wahoo/The SUF Training more beneficial in that each training session is based on your specific 4DP profile and needs.

Monitoring training readiness is vital to your plans success. Everyone should monitor hours of sleep, stress levels, morning resting heart rate, hydration and fueling before beginning a workout. If your MRHR is 5-7 beats above average you may be in need of recovery. Take a day if you need a day. You will gain more than you lose. Training stressed, tired, under hydrated or under fueled or not feeling well will cause a large deficit in your energy systems that will have an impact on future workouts. Once you do the work, recovery is where the gains are made!