Training for a 12-year old using Sufferfest

I was talking to my 12-year old and suggested they could try out the Sufferfest, and they surprised me by saying they would!

I am wondering how to get them started, what stats to start them off on, etc. What is the minimum age for training with Sufferfest? Do they just jump on the 2-week introductory plan? What 4dp values should I put in for them?

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I bought a cheap (£50) dumb trainer so that my 11 an 13 year could try out the occasional workout alongside me, I didn’t bother with speed sensors etc and just got them to use RPE and follow the written instructions on screen. They seemed to enjoy spending some time with their dad while he was working out, they were grossed out by the amount of holy water, and were always asking questions about how hard to pedal which were quite difficult to answer while I was going full-gas. Now the evenings are lighter and the weather is warmer they prefer to go out and play with their friends.


Agree that the thing to do is RPE vs bothering will full frontal, at least until they want to give it a shot.

I doubt there’s any minimum age you have to worry about. After all, there are quite young age groups that compete in cycling and even have national championships and everything. I think the main thing, most critical thing, for any sport at this age: try to teach them fundamentals while also making sure it stays fun.

What is your kid hoping to get out of it? Just something to have fun with and dabble in, or might they be interested in cycling competitively as a sport?

So currently I have a smart trainer, and I wanted to get them using that in ERG to make it simple for them, so starting them with something like a 50 FTP or less is what I was thinking. And I think one of the things that will keep them motivated is seeing that number go up as they go through. Kind of like a gamification of getting fit.

I am a mountain biker, and bring the kids out as often as time and weather allows, and I just want to gently encourage them to do these things if they like them. When I suggested they try Suff I was expecting a flat refusal! I also don’t think they will really do RPE well, so wanted to give them something they can gauge themselves against to learn more how far they can push themselves.

i think you might be surprised how well they can learn RPE. After all, what are your priorities with kids in sport, it’s probably fundamentals. And a fundamental of training is learning about RPE. Maybe start with level mode (then you don’t have to worry about FTP setting), and if you were to give them something like “Revolver”, RPE would work great–go hard, go easy, go hard, go easy, doesn’t get any simpler than taht :slight_smile:

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@j3p0uk Perhaps share the RPE chart with descriptions so they have an idea how each level might feel.

Training By RPE

For kids I’d simplify the RPE chart, maybe like this one:

it’s found here


Unfortunately our Terms of Service were updated in 2020 stating that you must be 18 years or older to use the app. It used to be that 17 and 16 year olds could use the app with special wavers filed by their parents.
As far as coaching recommendations for a junior at that age. Main concerns should be making sure fun and enjoyment is the number 1 priority. Finding a grass roots local Jr program is always recommended because of the social aspects and added fun/community that brings.
For ‘training’ again fun is key, do not focus on volume until around age 17/18. The years between 11-18 are the most important for improving VO2 Max, so short and hard (which is what most kids like to do anyway). And ease into it. Start with maybe 90 min of riding a week, and grow that steadily by 10%. Don’t just jump into a 7 hour week just getting into it.
Not exactly the answer you were looking for I am sure, but hopefully there is enough here to point you in the right direction! Junior riding and racing remain some of the best experiences I have had on a bike, and will always encourage younger kids to give it a try!