When to move up form novice

I am a 63 year old female. I have been using Sufferfest pretty consistently for close to a year now. I had to take a few small breaks for life and health issues. My ftp has increased from 101 to 150 during that time I have been using the novice plan this whole time. I am due to finish my latest plan in a few weeks. I don’t know what the difference is between novice and the next level. How do I determine when it is time to move up? Or should I just hang here for a while since the workouts still challenge me most of the time? Thanks for any advice.

For me, the distinction between Novice, Intermediate and Advanced is the time you have available for the workouts.

I don’t have a great deal more time than 4-5 hours a week for cycling. I’ve been using Sufferfest for 4 years, seen my 4DP numbers generally rise, and I’ve only ever used Novice plans.

If you are happy with your rate of progress and balance of time, then I see no need to change to a more time-intensive plan.


I think it’s been said before that beginner/intermediate/advanced is more to do with training volume, rather than you’re cycling level (to a certain extent). It’s also worth being aware that the advanced plans have a 3 on/1 off pattern rather than 2/1 on the beginner and intermediate plans. If you do plan to try an advanced plan make sure your body can cope with the increased training volume and training schedule.

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Thank you for your replies. I have just a couple of follow up questions. By increased volume does that mean the same number of workouts but each workout is longer or are there additional sessions, or a combination of both?

Also, I don’t race but I very much enjoy long distance outdoor rides. So my main focus for training is to improve my endurance for long rides as well as to improve my general fitness. Will the novice plan suffice to accomplish this or would the intermediate plan be better?
By the way, I very much enjoy training with Sufferfest. Thanks for producing such a good product.

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It might be worth looking at the metric century plan then? Or Hilly Gran Fondo plan?

With any plan if you click to view it, you can scroll down and see the workouts that are prescribed and how the plan is structured. For the plans I’ve done/seen most have 3 days of ~1 hour sessions during the week, and the additional volume comes at the weekend. There are exceptions.

Thank you for your suggestions. I think I’ll try the metric century. It will be fun to try a new plan.