Using Suf Plans over a year

I’m really interested on how the Suf sports science division suggest we use the training plans over the course of a year.

I was aiming to do some road racing this year (obviously the plans changed!), mainly crits/1-2 hour road races. My initial plan was to complete advance 12 week general road plan, and move to speed demon/in season criterium during race season. In the end I changed to the All In Plan due to COVID and then e racing plan. I did plan to do a few e races again but in the end I just enjoyed the plan and the focus on MAP/AC has helped sharpen me up to attack our club‘s hill climb competition on strava.

I’m hoping I will be able to pick up racing next year, but I’m not sure how to structure the time up until then using the Suf plans. I’m 3 weeks into the general road plan but I’m not sure where to go after that. I’d be grateful for any advice :slightly_smiling_face:


I mean that very well might end up being the best way to do it but i don’t know that it really makes sense to plan in that much detail, that far ahead. Because you might know where you expect to be or have an educated guess at what’s the best next step, but you won’t really know until you arrive.

I like to make an annual plan around my competition dates. But it’s very high-level and very bare bones. It’s not laying detailed training plans back to back to back, it’s giving you a 30,000 foot view. It’s to give you an idea of like, when you should you start, when you should expect to shift from cross-training to general prep to specific prep, where are the decision points where you expect to evaluate, see if your training is working, and decide on what needs to be done next. You can do the same thing for your strength training. You can also include planned vacations or other times that you know you’ll be doing different training or resting.

I use a spreadsheet that i made myself. TrainingPeaks has an annual training plan builder and it’s slick and all, but i don’t like it. It’s married to the training concepts and limiters from Joe Friel’s book which is fine, but not what i use. And even it’s “planning by TSS” concept is a little too in the weeds for me. it might work fine for people who do traditional base or otherwise follow a consistent intensity mix year over year, but for me, planning what my TSS will be in April is pretty useless. At most, i’ll identify planned load weeks vs. rest weeks, but that’s about it.


Hey @Alistair_Brown,
Great question. I’d say that your were pretty close to the mark on this. For where you are now I recommend that you finish out your general road plan and then take a little break. Either a few weeks off with some non-structured riding at reduced intensity and volume to give your body and mind a rest or jump back to on of the All-in plans.

All of the plans are purpose built and will continue to challenge you progressively even thought there are recovery weeks built into them. Therefore, doing more than 1-2 plans back to back can be a big challenge physically and mentally. The All-in plans are meant to give you a refresh and get you ready for the next block.

Some folks like the structure and the rhythm of knowing what to do and what is on the calendar. It it perfectly logical to do a 12 week build and sharpen things up with speed demon or volcano climbing. Then to hit an All-in or recovery block and jump back into another build. It really depends on your season and if you are still having fun with the structure.

You do bring up a great point about how to put the puzzle together. Would you benefit or find value in a longer (10-12 week) structured plan for the off-season that focuses on recovery and strength and mobility with just enough “hard” stuff in there to keep you on point?


Thank you for the reply. The information you’ve give sounds great.

My current plan will finish at the end of September, so having a 12 week plan to take me from Oct to Dec does sound good, as I could then aim to build into next season. I think I could do that with a mix of the Base blocks and All In Plan, but I’d appreciate any other help or guidance.


@Alistair_Brown - great question - I’ve been toiling with this issue myself having done 2 full plans this year:

INTERMEDIATE Cycling / 4DP Weakness: Repeated Efforts / with Strength Training (Intermediate Level 1-3) = 12 Weeks.

Followed by:
Mountainous Gran Fondo 12 weeks

I’m presently ‘free-riding’ and enjoying the (sometimes) sunny & open roads, but thinking about how I pick up my training again in the Autumn and into the New Year…


Coach Jeff, you guys should consider adding an Annual Training Plan (ATP) builder feature. It doesn’t have to lay all the plans out–but maybe people could do that if they get comfort from it. Rather, it could give people a framework for organizing and periodizing their season.


I agree with having annual general training plan!


I have my workouts loaded into the calendar a year ahead, but it is assessed after completing each plan, it is easy enough to delete plans and adjust them as necessary

Oh wow. I have been doing Suff for years, and hadn’t come across this piece of advice. I always just rolled straight into the next plan. It seemed to make sense as often week 1 was (kinda) mild.
I just finished the XC MTB plan, took a week off and am doing it again but with higher numbers (yay!) and up to the next Strength level (yay - ouch!). I am feeling pretty trashed, and had to drop the numbers a lot for There is No Try last week, but I did GOAT at 100% today so hoping my body is adapting. :slight_smile:

I had lined the plan up to finish on the day of a big local MTB race, but I just found out that’s been cancelled, so I will see how it goes!

I like the idea of an overall annual plan. The problem would be lining it up with events. Especially for those of us who race more than one discipline (XC, road, CX, Grav Enduro) and often race all year round (barring COVID of course).


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I don’t know if an annual plan would be needed as so much can change over a year, but guidance on how to string plans together, and how to structure the off season, would be a great addition to the Suf.


well that’s exactly the purpose of the annual plan. So much can change, but you do want to keep track of “known knowns,” like competition dates. It’s a balance between having some idea of what you expct to have happen vs. over-planning.

To each his or her own but i personally fall on the side of wanting to build a rough outline rather than a detailed plan. I put in the competition dates, known vacations or travel, and from there, i can identify decision points: when to reduce cross-training and do more sport training, when to test to see how the training is working / reevaluate, stuff like that.


Great point and noted. As we move forward we are working hard to help put the most relevant variables in perspective in order to guide more optimal decisions as well as gather data to support these decisions.