Regular riding while training

Just signed up for Sufferfest. Did the 4DP and have begun the beginning training program.

Do y’all ride for “fun” in addition to the training schedule? I don’t want to overtrain, but cycling outside is a huge mental health benefit for me and I don’t see giving it up.

Don’t know if it matters but I am Male, 52, reasonably fit and try to hit 5K miles a year. My main reason for joining Sufferfest was to improve overall strength (measured FTP).



Hey @Tungstenisw,

I pretty much stick to a training plan. The reasoning I use is that the Sufferfest rides are pretty intense, more than a typical outdoor “fun” ride.

If there is ever a nice enough day for me to ride outdoors I try to strictly contain myself to no more than 5 hours a week in Z2 and an hour a week doing Recovery rides.

This gives me good volume while not putting that much more stress on my creaky old worn out body.



Thanks. I like the idea of limiting the intensity of riding outside.

I always ride outside and will never stop. It’s fun to explore and get some fresh air and it keeps your skills sharp. One year i rode only on the trainer and i was super strong but I couldn’t ride my way out of a paper bag.

I have also had good results trying to replicate sufferfest workouts outdoors; you might not get them exactly identical but if you are hitting the energy systems roughly the same amount, i think it’s fine.

The other guy raises the good point that you can overdo it. One guardrail like he said is to strictly limit the duration and intensity of your outdoor rides, another option is to adjust your subsequent workouts if you end up going real hard outside. (That’s what I do and it works just fine, although SUF could help us out by making it so you can drag and drop workouts to more easily adjsut on the fly).

Edited to add: Some people are loathe to workout outside because they have scheduled a complicated trainer workout with many changes in power and cadence. The yare forgetting that many indoor cycling workouts that are optimized for smart trainers have all that variability precisely because they are trying to mimic the variability of outdoor riding; in a race, nobody is going for 20 minutes and then resting, 20 minutes and then resting. So to me it is perverse to not ride outside because doing so you couldn’t hit your power targets on a workout that is designed that way in order to mimic . . . riding outside.


I definitely fall into the trap of over-scheduling / over-committing to indoor structured workouts instead of getting outside which, I agree, is important for mental health (especially during the pandemic).

I was reminded of this yesterday morning where I got out on my fat bike in some freshly fallen snow and definitely had a high-intensity ride not just because of the climbs on my local trails, but also the inherent resistance of the snow. I don’t have a power meter on my fat bike, but my HR was well into Z4 and occasionally even Z5. A solidly intense workout!

Even though I’m nothing more than average in terms of my bike performances, I’d categorize myself as a “Type A” personality, so for me I’ve learned that it’s important to step back and keep cycling as a fun thing to do. Getting outdoors definitely helps me … I never, ever regret it, and usually feel better compared to how I usually feel post-indoor ride (which is generally pretty good).

Enjoy! :biking_man:


Great picture!
Thanks for the input. I train indoors only to improve (as opposed to just maintain) my abilities outdoors. In Sufferfest I am scheduled for the all-around beginner which I believe will allow me time to still get out and play.


I don’t see any issue with substituting planned workouts with outdoor workouts as long as you do about what your workout called for in terms of TSS and/or change your weekly plan to accommodate hard outdoor rides if you’re doing them.

I did that all the time over the summer. Goal was to ride outside and do sufferfest if time was short or darkness was present. FTP still went up like 30 something watts over a plan. Would have been higher if I had stuck to doing more structured workouts, but that’s not all I care about with riding.


+1 on the suff supplementing IRL riding. At the end of the day, I ride in my basement to do better outside. If I have the chance to go out and ride, I take it. Sometimes I still do the prescribed workout, sometimes I skip. I try to listen to my body and not overdo it, but realistically, it takes a lot of overdoing it consistently before you really hit burnout vs some acute fatigue.


+1 to all these. I mean, i can see being very religious about a plan if you have a race that you want to do well at coming up in a certain period of time and you really, really want to arrive in the best possible form. Then, even though it’s still a little art as well as science, you want to have a plan and be disciplined and careful.

But if you are just trying to get stronger, what does it matter if you have to add extra recovery days sometimes such that you finish teh plan at week 11 instead of week 10? For your overall long term development, extra z2 volume may even be the best possible thing.

So I did a nice extracurricular ride OUTSIDE today. Anyway to manually add it to the training calendar so my weekly miles are correct?

I haven’t figured out how to do this; I use a combination of Today’s Plan (stages link, actually) and training peaks to track my workouts. I use a Stages Dash outside, so it automatically syncs to those platforms. The analytics are better there anyway, especially if you spring for a premium account.

Riding outside is great, do it as much as you like! The SUF plans are great and structure is good but I take the outside ride ones with a pinch of salt. Mother nature (or Uncle Universe) tends to throw some good training at you on the road. Wind, hills etc.

If it helps a lot of people tend to do a weekend outside approach with a Tue/Wed/Thur hard short ride. SUF is great at these hard short rides, you’re on the bike and just have to pedal and do what you’re told. I have used the endurance SUF rides for long weekend ‘outdoor’ rides and they were great but for me outside long endurance rides are just the best.

After a season of indoor Suffering, I’m having to re-learn how to Suffer outside. Yesterday, I planned to ride 100km, but blew up after 55 because I was going too hard. There’s definitely a rhythm to real riding that’s distinct from Suff’s “go hard for an hour or go home” approach.

I choose training plans that include outdoor rides at the weekend.
If I feel like a mid-week ride, I do, but I try to either replace my day from the training plan if I can do something similar outdoors, or otherwise just keep the outdoor ride to about an hour or less of z2.

I am also absolutely dreadful at not overdoing efforts outdoors, I have a puppy-dogs chase instinct if I see another cyclist. I’ve recently started cycling with a social cycling group who run two groups, one is really casual and the other is a bit more focused but not to the level of a cycling team. Their “hard” ride is about right for an endurance level effort for me, which is perfect because cycling with the group keeps me from over-doing it. There are a couple of other stronger cyclists in the group who go for the social, so we can have mini-races to stop signs etc and chucking in the odd sprint or hill effort is no harm, but having the group keeps me at a consistent level that works for what I need rather than slowly creeping up and up in power output until everything becomes a TT.