Trust the Plans - they really work

6 weeks through the intermediate time for a HM. Wasn’t feeling confident going in but this is so much easier to pace than Full Frontal which is always a struggle.

Numbers in from HM surprised me:

MAP up 14% 310 to 352
FTP up 5% 262 to 276

The plans have really helped to address my biggest weakness (sustained efforts) and they now feel more comfortable inside and outside.

Having workouts at reduced intensity really helps keep just the right amount of fatigue. Having said that Nine Hammers at 100% next week will be interesting!

Thank you Sufferfest team!


Hey @washsaint, thank you for sharing this with us. These are some awesome gains. All that in only six weeks means you really put some work into your training. Congratulations.

Let us hear about your experience when you finish. Good luck.

Hi @Pierre

Nine Hammers this morning was a total bust! Did 2 hammers and gave up…wasn;t feeling it at all and HR was going through the roof. So redid it tonight with more of a mental focus and got through it (albeit at 90%) but if I ever see that workout again it will be too soon!

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I was happy with the PR I logged on a local long, steep hill back in December. After all, I’d been putting in heavy miles all summer long.

Yesterday, after only three months in Sufferlandria, I beat that PR by twenty seconds.

And my heart rate was only two BPM faster than in the December climb.
And I was riding my heavier, slower bike.
And I wasn’t even trying.

I mean, I know you guys say this stuff works. But holy cow, this stuff really works!


Yesterday was the first ride of the season with my regular crew. Last season, I was the weakest cyclist of our group. While my buddies were always nice about waiting up, a major goal of my offseason training was “Don’t get dropped come springtime.”

I didn’t get dropped, plus I got some admiring comments along the lines of, “Hey, all that time you put into The Sufferfest really paid off!”

Not the most inspiring story in the world, but it mattered to me.


All of the trainer numbers improving is nice but ‘real world’ results are what we’re after. I have thoroughly enjoyed my first 3 months on Suf but lets see what happens when the rubber hits the road. I definitely ‘feel’ stronger and my pedal stroke is definitely smoother. But here’s the thing…I am not a “Strava slave” but almost every ride this season i’m picking up PR’s on routes i’ve done last season in mid-season form! Thank-you Sufferfest!!


@ronburgundy It never gets easier - you just get better.


Today, I went in for my semiannual EKG. When the doc saw my RHR of 45, he said, “This can’t be right.”

It was right. Apparently, that’s too low to get a good EKG. I had to do pushups, squat-jumps, and flutter kicks to get my heart rate up high enough for a good test. My Doc: “Clearly, you’re in fantastic shape. Thanks for making my job easy.”

It doesn’t count as a KOM or even a PR, but that’s still a pretty big win for a guy in his mid-fifties. Thanks, SYSTM!


Yep. For testing, I do the 1 week test prep plan that includes a HM 3 days in and a FF on day 7. The HM is used to set the targets for the FF which gives you something to shoot for. In the FF (level mode), I try to maintain at least the target power and maybe slightly higher. I set up gearing and the level so that I have my optimal cadence at the target power, and then up the cadence slightly. This results in a near death experience.

A one week plan just to test may seem like a waste, but it’s a very solid week of workouts so isn’t a throwaway, and you get very solid numbers out of it.


HM and MAP?

Not sure what you question is, but a HM will update your 4DP MAP, FTP and cTHR. If the HM is your very first test in SYSTM, it estimates all 4DP metrics.

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That is inspirational and gives me a goal as a fellow guy in his mid-fifties.


Similar happened to me getting hooked up for my last colonoscopy. The doc said, “Woah, you must be an athlete.” I said nah, I just like to ride my bike. Fortunately they didn’t make me do any calisthenics prior to going under.


@AlexEllermann Yup - same here. Doctor looked at me like some sort of mid 50s super star for posting a blood pressure reading of a 20 year old. It was a great feeling but also unfortunate that isn’t common among his other patients.


Heh. I’ve had similar mixed emotions. When I had a bit of a health ‘incident’ last year I found myself lying in a hospital ward hooked up to various machines. Even in the state I was in my super low RHR kept setting the monitor off. The nurses responded twice before just ignoring me. “Oh he’s fine” I heard at one point. With a few breathing exercises and I could set the alarm on and off at will :innocent:

It was a nice ego boost, but as you say it makes you very cognisant of your peers at the time.


I also wanted to chime in on the “Trust the Plans” theme. I did my first real outdoor ride for 4 months today.

Having had a few ups and downs health wise I’d been through a few building blocks of late. Today was the fastest average speed I’ve ever had, even including a warm-up. I bested my all time 60min power, got my 2nd ever 20min power reading (#1 coming from a jacked-up HHNF so not really comparable) and a whole host of segment PRs. I’ve said it before, but this thing works.

Not a bad place to be mid-March. Pleased! :slight_smile:


I share your experience (and delight). Had some dental work done with anesthesia and their HRM alarm threshold was 50. Had to tell them “normal” was 47 so don’t panic unless it goes much lower than that.

Physician did an EKG/ECG and the automated system flagged it as bradycardia with an asterisk footnote “or maybe an athlete.”


Will throw in my 2 cents (euro?) as well: 4DP always has classes me as a sprinter, with VO2 (MAP) as my weakness. This past winter has a little on-and-off - with ToS, KoS prep, etc., but my plans have still largely focused on VO2/MAP.

Did HM today for HM/FF week and saw solid gains in both MAP (+12%) and cTHR (+3bpm).

Sweet Grunter’s Ghost, could I actually be looking forward to completing FF this weekend?

Think I need to lie down.


Yeah. I get classified as a sprinter too, which kinda defies logic because that hasn’t been the type of training or riding I’ve done in years now. I’m always doing long threshold type slogs up hill, or maybe tempo rides, and never do anything remotely like sprinting. I’m guessing the reason it classifies me as a sprinter is that my FTP is even more pathetic than my pathetic sprint numbers, despite the type of riding and training I’ve been doing.

And totally agree. Whenever I get the feeling I’m on the cusp of doing something great and heroic, I lie down until the feeling goes away.