Help me choose the right plan?

Hi all, I’m sure you get a lot of these posts but I’m really wanting to make sure I get this right!

32 year old male. Been off the bike since about mid-October 2020. No injuries, just mental burnout I think. Wasn’t enjoying biking anymore! During that time I’ve been running (15-25 miles per week), yoga (2 times per week) and weight lifting (2-3 times per week) – so staying pretty active but nothing crazy. Before that, I’d been riding 8-15 hours per week for the past few years. My FTP then was about 315 or 4.15 w/kg. After testing with #HalfMonty a few days ago (first ride in four months) it was 264, which seemed a bit low because I maxed it out, but pretty close and I’m OK with easing back into things a bit.

My first week on Sufferfest (really enjoying it so far!) went like this: #HalfMonty, The Chores, Endurance+, The Way Out, and To Get To The Other Side. So mostly base stuff for a total of 6 hours indoors. Completed each ride pretty comfortably and legs feel just the right amount of tired on a rest day.

So anyway, I’m very motivated and anxious to get back into better biking shape quickly, but don’t want to move too fast and hurt myself or something. Some of the “back from time off” (does this mean years? and no activity at all?) plans seem too…easy? Only 2-4 hours per week, and I want to maximize this time without overdoing it.

As far as goals…I just want to get back to being where I was at before and maintain it or even improve upon it eventually. I don’t have any specific races or seasons to peak for, but I do mostly road/gravel riding.

Can anyone help guide me in the right direction? Really want to decide on a plan and not have to think about which workouts to do every day. I also plan to continue doing full body lifting 2-3x and yoga 2x per week.

Thanks for any help!

Hello and welcome to the real suffering.

First a clarification:
Just because you were doing 8-15h/w before does not mean that you were training the same as 4h/w.
Quality > Quantity
Unless you like endurance rides, but still quality matters.

Since you are taking it seriously and you were still exercising, i suggest the All Purpose Road, on Intermediate or Advanced depending on how many h/w you are willing to train.

Enjoy suffering!

Given your goals, I would suggest the following.

Do the FF Prep Plan and then a Full Frontal to get an assessment of where you are.

Then do the “Couch to Crusher” plan which is designed “to gain cycling fitness after taking an extended period of time off the bike.” It is also the plan that Dan Lloyd did for GCN. It will also potentially expose you to many of the classic Suf workouts: G.O.A.T, Attacker, Power Station, Elements of Style, Revolver, Downward Spiral, Joyride, Thin Air, Cobbler, 14 Vise Grips, the Omnium, the Trick. The exact ones may depend on how the plan is customized for your Rider Type.


Thanks for the reply. Good point re: quality>quantity. I was doing a lot of junk miles before for sure. Have a lot of time to train, but honestly don’t WANT to ride a lot…want to be very efficient. Thanks for the suggestion!

Thanks for the reply, Heretic. Maybe I’m old fashioned, but the idea of only riding 3 hours per week and expecting results (unless you are pretty new to riding) seems crazy!

I have more time to ride than that. But again, I don’t want to ride more than I have to. I guess I’m just wondering if 10 weeks of 3 hour weeks is the best way to go for someone who has more time available than that.

Here is Dan’s final full frontal and his discussion of his results with Coach Neal H.

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Hey Rick,
Great to see you are back to training and feeling good with it so far.
For the ‘getting back to it’ plans don’t dismiss them just for duration as there are some big key sessions in them to focus on different aspects of your 4DP to essentially get all your engines firing again.

If you want to bounce your ideas of one of our coaches, we have a team on hand ready to help too:

Cool! Didn’t know this was available. Thank you.

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