I am currently in week 6 of the 12-week 'All-Purpose Road, Advanced" (with the Strength, Yoga, and Mental Strength options). It is my first TheSufferfest plan, and it is going great - I am looking forward to the Half-Monty FTP test next week, but I already know I am showing enormous improvement (for the last two weeks I have been doing all of the workouts at +10%).
My question is this: what do I do after the ‘All-Purpose Road’ program? Another ‘All-Purpose Road’? I am not a racer, and I am just trying to improve my overall riding and get the most out of my time on the bike. Do I just start picking workouts and working my way through them? (I don’t like that idea - I like structure, and find a schedule is a good motivator for me).
When you say “trying to improve my overall riding”, do you mean when you ride outdoors? If so, what kind of riding do you like to do outdoors?
Mainly outdoors, yes. Our club runs a weekly Thursday night TT in the summer, which I would like to start doing, and then general group rides (including hills) on the weekends - hoping to get dropped less (and not have to resort to shameless wheel-sucking as much). Also looking to do some longer mountain rides (not sure if there will be any Gran Fondo’s this year, but that sort of thing)
Have you done a Full Frontal yet? If you know your rider type that would give you a clue on how to progress.
Given what you say, I would imagine then your key areas for improvement are MAP and FTP with the ability to recover from repeated efforts.
Are you limited by the amount of time you can train?
If not, certainly, the Grand Fondo or Century Plans should help your endurance and hill climbing. If your time is limited, you could try a MAP or FTP blocks, or even a Tempo block. Tempo training is sometimes as an efficient way to train for people with limited time, but I have found that because of my relationship of MAP to FTP, Tempo training does not work well for me.
There is a Volcano Climbing plan as well. The Power Builder plan might just fit what you are looking for.
I did FF prior to starting the 12-week All-Purpose Road … however I had some significant technical issues during the FF (gears slipping, and a chain drop, etc - I have since replaced the entire drivetrain on my trainer bike), so I don’t think the numbers were entirely accurate. Plus, being relatively new (at least, to formal training), I am still at the point where I am experiencing large marginal gains. I expect that the mid-plan Half-Monty and the FF at the end of the plan will be a more accurate indication of my fitness and potential. Perhaps the Gran Fondo plan (with a mixture of indoor and outdoor workouts) would fit the bill (if for no other reason than not having the same workouts from ‘All-Purpose Road’ over again
I have found that the workouts suggested by the FF to remedy weaknesses may not appear in your chosen plan. If you think you need them, you may have to figure out how to integrate them into your plan.