Since I have started with Sufferfest less than a year ago I have done the Mountainous/Hilly Grand Fondo training plan, then the All Purpose Road Plan, then the Mountainous/Hilly Grand Fondo plan again.
Since race reason is over is it okay to keep doing plans like this with high intensity year round or do I need to get off Sufferfest for the winter and focus on only Zone 2 rides, or is there a Sufferfest plan that I am not seeing that tones down the intensity throughout the winter months?
I am not necessarily looking to tone down the intensity unless it is unproductive to keep going as I have been on the current plans.
You could do one of the new transition plans (specifically transition down), or try the base block. I’ve just done the 4 week base block before starting a new plan. I certainly feel ready to start working hard again but I have no idea from a sports science point of view whether my “off time” has been long enough or easy enough.
I would listen to what your body is telling you at this point. I think a lot depends on how fatigued you are coming off your last plan and what your goals are for your fitness over the next year or so. Personally I prefer to train consistently throughout the year, but naturally reduce volume in winter simply because I’m not doing long outdoor rides. My focus this winter is to bump up my FTP and strength, while improving my flexibility off the bike - I can’t even touch my toes! I still feel fresh after all my target events this year got cancelled so I don’t see any point in backing off training just because it happens to be winter. I think if I focused on only Z2 rides throughout winter I would just end up de-training and lose ground. It’s different for pros who have smashed themselves into the ground racing during the season. They obviously need some rest!
I am currently on the transition down plan but would like to know a bit more about the science behind, specially about the length of the program. I am 2 weeks in and the body and mind is recovering quickly and knowing the science behind would help take the right decision to stick with it or change to the base build with strength training and extra yoga.