How to Get My Mojo Back?

So, roughly 6 months into my journey as a Sufferlandrian and I was doing pretty well: 4DP numbers were up roughly 50% across the board between my first and second tests.

I finished most of the Gran Fondo training and then tried to do the Volcano Climbing Plan…well, that was just too intense for me. Then kind of hit a stride just picking workouts to do on my own based off of TSS.

My second 4DP test on June 16th I absolutely crushed things. Didn’t do the full 4DP Prep Plan that SUF recommends, but I did a part of it. Well, if I sandbagged my first 4DP, I definitely overshot this second 4DP. It’s hard to complete a single workout, even those that are supposed to play to my strengths.

How do you all recommend getting back into the swing of things? Should I keep adjusting intensity down to a place where I can finish workouts without feeling like I’m dying and then slowly work back to my previous FTP numbers? If it’s a particular area that I’m weak in (FTP), should I mess around with 4DP profile individually?

Would love to hear some of your experiences/strategies for dealing with this scenario. Cheers!

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Have you tried a Half Monty to readjust your MAP and FTP numbers?
That would give you a new starting point without doing another 4DP right away.

@Hrafnkel It is common when you hit a new threshold to struggle at 1st with the new power targets. Use the chart in the attached SUF post to the extent that you need to dial things down:

Even the Badass Have Bad Days

Also check out the mental toughness videos if you haven’t already as sometimes our bodies can do stuff that our mind isn’t yet ready to accept.


@Heretic That’s a good idea, I’ll keep that in the bag of tricks if the chart @JSampson reminded me of still fails to elicit results. Thanks to both of your for your responses!

I’m generally pretty good at working through pain, so I don’t think it’s mental toughness. This morning I was able to get through the first FTP progression (6 mins / 4 mins rest). It was not easy, and my RPE was probably a bit above 7.5, but I finished the workout, albeit with an extra 1 minute off the bike during the third rest period to eat a banana.

I think I was just looking to do too much too fast (especially with attempts at climbing workouts, my notorious weakness).

Would be nice to have a specific FF workout that you could select about a week before your planned FF effort, it would incorporate all the best practices in the article about “Getting the most out of FF,” and then it would include a week or two of workouts that are specifically designed to help you get accustomed to the new numbers…

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The Mental Toughness Program is more than working through pain, the goal of one of the modules is to harness the power of positive thinking. Doing that has always been hard for me because pushing through discomfort is the technique I have always used. That technique, however, increases stress, and uses energy that is better directed to turning the pedals.

You might find the other modules useful as well.


@Heretic Agreed - I thought it was a bit corny at first but it has really helped me. Some of the breathing videos in the yoga series are also helpful for tough efforts.

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@Heretic yeah, I actually have watched the mental training series. They have some good nuggets.

Ultimately, though, what seems to have helped the most was focusing on the ratio of TSS/length-of-workout. I did Half Hour of Power the other day which was a 57/45 ratio, so now I will be looking to do workouts that are around this same ratio and gradually build back up that way.

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I have never done that workout, it looks like a good one to try in Level mode and ride by RPE.

I gather by your emphasis on TSS, and your choice of plans, you prefer longer, endurance rides?

Actually, no, preference has nothing to do with it, hahaha. I’m a 100+ kg rider with a 4DP profile of Pursuiter. The TSS/time ratio is just something I noticed on rides that I ended up not being able to finish, i.e. if I exceeded a certain ratio, I was more likely to “fail” the workout.

I do endurance rides mainly to try and work on my weakness: I want to do mostly climbing workouts, but they are all mostly very high TSS/time ratios, hence my focus on that as a metric to target good workouts for me to adjust to my “new” 4DP numbers.

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How many times per week, on average, do you do hard workouts?

Let’s say I aim to get winded 3-4 days per week and aim just for a nice sweat 1-2 days per week. Not looking to race, just to improve general cardio fitness and range/ability for long outdoor rides.

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Okay got it.

The reason i ask is because, the 6 minute / 4 min rest FTP intervals should not be “easy” but also shouldn’t exactly be hard, if your FTP is set right. If they are hard, if completion is in any way in doubt, it likely means that (i) FTP is set wrong; (ii) FTP is correct but you’re doing the intervals up at the top of your power range (e.g. 110% FTP); or (iii) something else is going on, e.g. inadequate fueling, not enough sleep, not enough rest.

So the question is trying to focus on, maybe what’s going on here is bullet (iii), i.e. maybe you’re tired.

3 to 4 days a week of hard work plus 2 easier days doesn’t seem like a crazy amount, but if you’re doing it week-in, week-out without any deload weeks, you probably will accumulate some fatigue. If you haven’t done a deload week in a while, consider taking a couple of days off or easier before jumping back in, and remembering to schedule a few days off/easier every few weeks or as needed.

3 to 4 days a week of working out kinda hard is not crazy if you’re just going for general fitness. If you used to go to spin classes or whatever prior to starting with SUF, it might very well be what youre used to. But with SUF workouts based on an accurate 4DP, you are doing something more challenging than what a lot of recreationally active people will do, probably more than you used to do in the past, and you may very well find you need to be more intentional about rest and recovery in order to keep performing at the same high level.


In addition to what @devolikewhoa said, the need for recovery also depends on the amount of life stress, and changes also as you age.

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@devolikewhoa all great points. I’m still in the novice phase of getting used to SUF and so far it feels like I’m keeping with the typical trend of “sandbag the first FF, overshoot the second FF, and then starting with the third FF you should be pretty spot-on.”

Probably none of my training is done optimally, as in I haven’t made any major life adjustments specifically meant to improve my training, but I’m getting better about it.

The half hour of power workout is done at RPE=6.5, but if I had to guess I was probably closer to a 7, so my FTP is probably a smidge higher than it should be, but I’m finding ways to compensate for that by the aforementioned TSS/time ratio (e.g. I would almost certainly fail to complete Hell Hath No Fury).

@Heretic I’m all about the recovery! If anything, I definitely err on the side of too much for the time being…


Recovery should be renamed “Period For Getting Stronger”. No recovery - no gains.


Sometimes, when I raise my FTP, I find that the workouts I managed before can suddenly be VERY difficult. I learned to view these as “plateaus” (like weight lifting plateaus in the gym) and that using the techniques described in the “Even Badass Have Bad Days” article (mentioned above) work to get over it. Specifically, for FTP related workouts, there are 3 methods I use: 1) Reduce the time for one (or all) of the intervals; OR, 2) Keep the length of time, but increase the recovery period between; OR 3) instead of doing all 5 intervals, only do 4. Or 3, whatever it takes, but keep the power where it should be. Keep good notes, and ride the same workout again next week to see what you can improve on. If you shortened all the intervals, try to do 1 of them at full length this time. And then 2 next week, or more, but the important thing is to keep the power where it should be. The time at that power will come sooner or later. At least it has worked for me. And, finally, by adjusting these workouts accordingly, you will again get that feeling of being successful, which, of course, makes you want to do it again. Good luck!


TSS is essentially time * IF^2, so what you’re realling looking at is how you fare on low / high IF workouts.

(There’s a caveat that the standard definition of TSS/IF misses a trick because it’s based on the ratio of normalised power and FTP only, yet we know that your power profile is a curve not a point, thus 4DP).