The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”

This may be similar to other posts, but cannot quite find the right answer, plus a couple of additional questions. This post could also be called “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”

Just completed my first 12 week All Purpose Road indoor+outdoor and did the Advanced (probably foolishly). However, managed 95% adherence rate, although the 3rd week of each block I found really hard. (I suppose you should). Managed FTP +15.5% MAP +18.9% AC + 15.8% NM +11.9% and really really pleased with the gains.

So, if it worked, why not just do another 12 week road??? Any reasons why not?

I figure, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. I presume Sufferfest just adjusts to the new 4DP profile and off you go. I would assume that using the same plan is fine until I stop making gains?

Background info, I’m 52 and I’m getting fit again. I did quite a lot last summer and into winter and completed the Rapha 500 before a rest week and taper week before my very first 4DP and 12 week all road. So, I was not unfit to start with so pleased with the gains.

I have read that over 50s should probably do the intermediate with 2 weeks hard, 1 week recovery and whilst I did find the advanced very hard especially in the third week, I did manage to complete almost all sessions. So I presume I should just continue with the advanced?

I am short on time, coming into a busy couple of months work wise, but know I can keep to the schedule. I like having a plan and schedule to follow and try to follow it religiously.

On last thing, with the weather getting nicer (at times - I live in Belgium after all, I presume substituting the odd session with smashing it on the road would be fine.

Working myself up to long term (post Covid - hopefully next year) dabbling in some Vets racing if I can find some and trying to keep up with a strong and growing 13 year old who gives me a hard time on the hills.

Your collective thoughts greatly appreciated.

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My 2 cents. Consider your goals over the next few months and see if this, or another plan might better help you achieve it.


I suppose my Goals are to carry on generally getting fit, so I can enjoy some weekend rides until Covid is over (if ever). I was hoping to enjoy some A group club rides if social distancing ever allows and in summer I wanted to do a race up a mountain I did last year and see how much I could improve. Getting fitter again has given me the glimmer of hope that I could maybe race in Vets next year post Covid. It is hard having a specific goal when the goal posts of post Covid keep moving. I was just wondering if doing the same training plan would continue to reap similar or the same rewards. Thanks for the feedback.

I would consider mixing it up with some of the other plans to vary the stimulus. I enjoyed the All-Purpose Road Plan (I also did advanced aged 53) but I wanted to increase my volume going into the summer months. So now starting the Mountainous Gran Fondo Plan with outdoor option. I also did Tempo and FTP blocks in-between. In hindsight a base block may have been better as I struggled a little with the intensity, especially the FTP block. There are lots of other plans to consider too, all of which would continue to build your general fitness.

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Your basic assumptions about the plan are correct. If you do FF as the end of the plan and then do a new 12-weeks of the same plan, the plan will be adjusted to your new rider profile, strengths and weaknesses, and new 4DP numbers. So, yes, you could keep riding the same plan over and over if that fit into your future plans. if your rider type or strength and weaknesses change, you could end up doing different workouts than you did during your previous plan. And if not, you’ll at least ride with updated 4DP targets and should continue to improve your fitness, yes.

Like others have said, it can be helpful both mentally and physically to change things up with different plans - especially if you have a new fitness goal. But no, there is nothing wrong with doing the same plan over again. It that’s the plan that best fits with your fitness goals, it will adapt to your changes in fitness.


The rewards may start to become smaller but they’ll definitely be the same since you are giving your body even greater stimulus with your new numbers. You mention a race up a mountain in the summer. In Canadalandria, where I am, summer is just a few months away so maybe consider the Mountainous Gran Fondo plan or something similar and maybe even supplement with the Volcano Climbing plan. You could time it so Volcano ends on your “Event” date or you could time it so the MGF ends on that date and skip the Volcano plan. To round out the time, pending the actual date you choose, you could use the building block plans to fill in the time gaps.

All that said, I’m not sure if matters too too much cuz whatever plan you choose is gonna be tailored to your weakness so you will improve no matter how you look at it as long as you keep putting in the work. Like @Peteski says, you might just want to consider mixing it up to vary the stimulus.


IF I get to travel to Austria, it would be a race up Nassfeld purely to see how much I can gain. I’ve lost 10kg since the race and slowly losing more.

So, I figure lose weight, up power and see how quick I can go up the mountain. Ironically my then (12 year old son) took 15 minutes out of me and spurred me on to get fit again.

I suppose I should do FTP based workouts really as I am hoping to crack an hour and so it would basically be a one hour time trial. BUT, I want to improve all round and put in the building blocks for next year. Ironically, I do have a couple of months busy at work, but would still like to get out on the weekends, which is what I like about the All Purpose Road. I suppose in reflection, I should do the 12 week time trial. Thank you for all your thoughts and insights


FWIW, our over 50’s bodies also don’t recover as quickly as they used to – fit or no – so non-stop hammering w/o ample recovery built-in will leave you susceptible to injury and illness.

You and I are very similar in age, cycling, and regaining fitness. I’ll say that I too trained hard but solid last fall and winter, and I used multiple SUFF plans leading up to a solid (though non-nuclear) ToS. After a week’s FF prep, new numbers, and a “rest” week I launched into hammering a 12 week advanced plan. Within the first couple of weeks I could feel myself breaking down and opening myself up to getting sick. The irony being that due to COVID measures – immunization (yay) and masking/distancing – I wasn’t GETTING sick, but I could feel that I COULD be sick, were I to be exposed to something, if that makes sense.

So I guess advanced or intermediate, depending on your personal feel for where you are, but don’t make the mistake of skimping on the recovery. And the harder you go, the more R&R you should plan for.

My two :euro: :euro:


Personally I find age is only a number, it doesn’t correspond to fitness (I am fitter and fast than in my 30’s and I am now 58). Chose a plan that fits your needs for upcoming event, races etc. If it turns out to hard and you are not completing or say getting 95% compliance then seek another plan that isn’t quite as hard. The best plan would be to spend the $100 or so and talk to one of the coaches here and get a plan customized to you.


@FatSprinter Welcome! You bring up some great content here. Although you managed the training and load quite well you might find that a 2 /1 training schedule may actually see larger gains. With the added work schedule you will have more overall stress that will impact your training. Stress is stress whether training or work and will affect your training readiness. Checking morning metrics can be a great asset to determine need for recovery and training readiness. It may not be broken and may not need to be fixed but could it be improved? That is always the question? Is your training best for you? Of course, anytime you can ride outside in Belgium it’s a great thing! Who wouldn’t want to be there this month? When you do get outside, be sure to follow a similar duration and intensity as what is scheduled for that day to protect the integrity in the progression of your plan.

It does get back to your overall goals but like a few others have mentioned, I would recommend changing up the plan to either the Mountainous/Hilly Gran Fondo or the Volcano Climbing Plan.

Happy Training!


Thank you all for your input on this. My further observations are that any of the plans would obviously give gains. They all have a variety of stimulus at various points and all have the same or similar work outs at various points.

They all have progressive overload with all having weeks with three sessions that get your attention. e.g. The trick, G.O.A.T, Shovel in a week (All purpose road), Violator, Attacker, Who dares (Mountainous Gran Fondo).

The subtleties I have not worked out, but have trust in the science behind them all. (what I’ve done so far has worked, so… empirical evidence there).

I think I take on board most the point of being 52 and considering a 2 week on, 1 week recovery followed by the Intermediate plans. I’m interested to see if less is more.

The only concern is I managed the Advanced All Purpose Road - (just) - but did manage it. Looking at volume of training though, the Intermediate Mountainous Gran Fondo has more indoor hours than Intermediate All purpose road, but less than Advanced Road (obviously)

Mountainous Intermediate Indoor 33.30 - Outdoor 49.12
All Purpose Intermediate Indoor 28.36 - Outdoor 37.06
All Purpose Advanced Indoor 39.28 - Outdoor 47.17

So I think the Mountainous Gran Fondo is probably the way to go as it looks to give greater training stimulus on the indoor trainer - therefore more intervals, but has a 2 week on 1 week recovery phase. (unless I’m missing something here?). Also the extra outside hours is good for the soul and will help with my weight loss.

It would be good for Sufferfest to total the hours in each plan for you, not just the weekly hours, but total hours for the plan. AND to split this into time spent in each of the 4 dimensional zones. I presume this is a trade secret though. I suppose I ought to get saving for a personalised plan. I do like having a plan to follow and commit to it 100%. It is great to follow the steps and see the overall results.

Many thanks again for everyones thoughts and insights.

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Oh, sorry, missed saying this whilst getting lost in planning the next training plan. Sufferfest is awesome. It works and is interesting and has got me excited to get back into training again. So a big thank you to Sufferfest. I may even end up racing again next year if Covid ever allows!! I feel as though I shouldn’t tell anyone about it as it is like having a secret weapon, but will certainly extol its virtues to anyone who is open minded enough to listen, oh, and is prepared to suffer. I will at least be honest about the suffering. You will suffer. Cheers again.


It’s not surprising that the Mountainous GF plan has more volume, since it’s aimed at preparation for long endurance events with plenty of climbing. The All-Purpose plan is more of a general build. I used it for my winter plan ahead of the MGF plan. I’m doing both in advanced, as I don’t have a problem with 3/1 training (yet!). Even though I’m 53, 2/1 training just seems like too much down-time for my liking. It’s only a very general guideline. It’s not like you hit 50 and have to suddenly make that change from 3/1 to 2/1. I’m sure at some point it will become obvious if/when I need to make that switch. To be honest I hate recovery weeks!

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Interesting that you are within a year of my age and you still do the 3:1 training plan. How do you find the third week? I suppose it is meant to be hard? I find it hard but I get through, helped by the occasional lunch time power nap and recovery drinks after hard sessions. Just intrigued by the less is more principle. But, going back to my original message, if it ain’t broke don’t fix it. I think maybe I’m overthinking it.

Just had a look at the MGF in advanced and that ramps it up again. Not sure I can do that on advanced. I suppose I’m looking at the MGF on Intermediate or the All Purpose in Advanced.
I was even thinking of building a custom plan myself based on the All Road advanced and adapting it to 2:1 if at all possible, not sure it would work, but was looking at it.

Interestingly, the MGF and All Purpose in Advanced have Week 3 as a recovery week before a further 3 week block that has the 4th (week 7) with a Half Monty - so that week is not quite a recovery week, then there are only 3 more weeks (weeks 8, 9, 10) that come before a rest week (Week 11) and a taper week (week 12). Perhaps knocking a session out around the Half Monty week would ensure less fatigue and more success later in the plan (although I did the full monty half way through instead of the half monty - will have to reconsider this next time).

Looking at it further and generalising with the weeks, the MGF in Advanced and Intermediate both have 8 hard weeks over the 12 week period, along with the Road Advanced and the Road intermediate having 7 hard weeks if I have interpreted it correctly.

Again, I think any of them will give gains based on the 4DP profile. That is the killer fact here that makes Suifferffest and any of the plans worthwhile and work.

I suppose it is also worth keeping an eye on fatigue as Coach Simon B stated. Considering I barely (I don’t think I did miss a session - although a couple of them I turned down to 95% and 9 hammers I was hammered after 7!), then it appears that a more challenging plan might be worthwhile, but not to beat myself up if I miss a session if I’m tired.

Good to get your feedback. Many thanks.

Well I went into the All-Purpose plan this winter as fit as I’ve ever been. Even on the advanced plan, the volume was still a big step down to what I had been doing all year before (away from Sufferfest). Literally half the volume on some weeks. But to counter that, the intensity was generally higher, so my level of fatigue felt pretty similar overall. I was already used to a 3:1 schedule from my previous training, so it just felt normal to me. I’m one of those people who struggle more with recovery weeks than build weeks, so a 2:1 schedule isn’t very appealing to me at this point. I seem to thrive better on short recovery periods with the occasional longer break. Basically I find the 2 days of rest built into most weeks adequate and rarely crave more. But at the end of a long training block I do sometimes enjoy a full week off just to reset my head again.

I’ve just started the Mountainous GF plan this week after a bit of a break and I think the increased volume at slightly lower intensity (more endurance focused) will suit me well and fits in with my summer riding goals (basically Mountainous Gran Fondos!). The All-Purpose plan is quite intense at certain points and I did fully suffer on workouts like Nine Hammers, but everyone does!

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