New to Sufferfest, plan confusion

Hello everyone - apologies for the long post.

I’m new to The Sufferfest but not structured training - I’d like a bit of input to validate my thoughts so far.

First, a bit of background. I’m 48, male, in the UK. From Nov 2018 to May 2019 I did a whole bunch of trainerroad plans, following their base/build/specialty progression - then has an “uncontrolled dismount” on a sportive at the beginning of June when I broke a toe. At this point my (trainerroad) FTP was about 290W.

I rode the Etape du Tour in July last year (my ‘A’ event) but a combination of a late start time, excessive heat and the not-quite-healed toe forced me to abandon at Moutiers as I had missed the cutoff to start the final climb.

Since then I’ve been completely demotivated, hardly ridden a bike (let alone done any training) and gained loads of weight.

I did a ride a couple of weeks ago with a friend and his clubmates and managed just over 100km - I noticed a couple of things on that ride:

  1. I have lost a ton of power
  2. I am mentally weak at the moment

Strangely, I have found that ride to be quite motivating in terms of restarting training.

I have a goal event of next year’s Etape du Tour (possibly on the Nice-Nice route which didn’t run this year). I’m happy to give The Sufferfest a good crack of the whip, because I believe that the integration of yoga, mental training and strength training with the turbo sessions will be very beneficial to my all-round cycling.

I did Half Monty a couple of days ago which gave me an FTP of 191 (ie about 100 W down from my peak last year) and MAP 241. I am essentially “untrained” at this point I think.

I’ve tried to understand the Sufferfest training plans but they don’t appear to really match the trainerroad progression so I’m a bit lost really. I’ve tried to lay out a high level plan from here to early July on the assumption that the Etape will run around then. I am aware that this is tentative as things will crop up to disrupt it.

Here’s what I’ve come up with:

31 Aug - 13 Sept: 14 Day Trial Plan
14 Sept - 22 Nov: Fitness Kick-Starter
23 Nov - 20 Dec: All In For Cyclists
21 Dec - 14 Mar: All-Purpose Road
15 Mar - 11 Apr: All In For Cyclists
12 Apr - 4 July: Mountainous/Hilly Gran Fondo

Any comments on the above? Do the plans make sense for me or should I look at others instead? I am aware that expecting to maintain motivation, commitment and focus for 10 months is quite a tall order but my understanding is that the All In blocks between the main plans give space to “decompress” a little bit.

Many thanks and nice to meet you all



Welcome Neil, The all purpose road plans have 3 levels, from novice to advanced, you could break it up with the volcano climbing or something, before you get into your 12th April block. Regardless of your current fitness level, a FF or 4DP test will enable the program to tailor your training to exactly where you are , and take you to where you want to be. There are a range of folks here, some mad, comical, and informative, ,but always supportive, and ready to share what they have found. I am not a coach , but others are and I am sure you will get help where and when needed


@neil welcome to the Sufferfest. I am sure the coaches will chime in here (and correct any misstatements), but here are my two cents on your plan selections:

The “all in” plan is a bit of a lower volume plan. If you look under “specialty focus” you’ll see the building blocks plan, there you can select FTP/MAP/Base or AC/MAP.

I would follow the fitness Kickstarter with the „all purpose road“ and, like @alchurch said, maybe start with a lower volume (novice) and then ramp up as you Progress to intermediate or advanced (depending on your constraints in real life…).

Once you do the Full Frontal Test (After the 14trial), any 4DP optimized plan you select thereafter will target you weaknesses with different workouts based on your rider type. The plans are, unfortunately, not yet “live” I.e. they are based on you power profile at the time they are added to the calendar. So subsequent change in your profile (I.e. rider type). The workout targets are based on the power profile of the day of, sonic you FTP/MAP etc increase, the targets in the work out increase.

The biggest difference (other than the video) to TR is the power profile and rider type information based on you 4DP test. For example TR uses the 120% of FTP as target for VO2 Max intervals, but not everybody’s MAP is at that level compared to their FTP. As a result, the plans are designed to lift those aspects of your fitness that need the most improvements.

As you probably know, the biggest impact on your fitness is consistently following a plan and improvements will follow.

Hope this helps.


Hey Neil,
Welcome to The Forum and Sufferlandria! It’s a big step to get back in the saddle and we are confident you will see positive results. Our philosophy is to focus on improving your fitness through quality training focused specifically on you (4DP numbers). You can do the one week FF Prep Plan before you do the Fitness Kick Start Plan. Here’s an article you’ll want to read:

And here’s are whole list of articles designed to give you a complete understanding of training and our philosophy:

As coaches, we do not recommend 5 training plans all back to back, but I see you’ve thought this over carefully by using the 4 week all in plans as transition plans :
All In blocks between the main plans give space to “decompress” a little bit.

I like the idea of decompression. You may want/need a little more of a break so don’t be afraid to include a week or two of just yoga and/or strength with little or no riding. We are here to help and be supportive!


Thanks all for your responses. I had figured that the levels in the workouts were adjusted dynamically based on my profile but hadn’t realised that the workouts selected for a plan would vary too - that’s pretty nifty.

I’ve got the plans on my calendar at the moment but will remove and re-add before I start each one, to make sure they are properly aligned with my goals.

I’ll have a look at the other plans suggested - one thing I noticed is that I don’t actually have a FF test scheduled for ages (end of Fitness Kick-Starter) - should I do it at the end of the 14 day plan? Instead of the planned workout (The Bat)?

I watched the video about preparing for FF last night and that seems to need a whole week - I’m guessing that in my untrained state that’s not all that important right now so long as I’m rested and relatively fresh.

Maybe this is all spelled out somewhere and I’ve just missed it.

Thanks again



One thing you might find given your previous fitness level compared to your current fitness is the need to redo FF sooner than 10 weeks. The Sufferfest is extremely effective and I would bear this in mind when planning well out in to next year.

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Thanks, good point - I’ll try to remember that as I progress.

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You can do FF at the end of the 14 day trial instead of The Bat if you’re feeling fresh if you don’t want to add another week of FF prep.

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Thanks, I will see how I feel next weekend and go from there.