I Will Comply
When I first started with The Sufferfest Training Plan, I had to pay attention to planning the upcoming weeks carefully.
Going from Xert, which is "dynamic," meaning you can find the right workout for your goal on any given day, SUF Plans are pre-fixed.
Let's dwell on that for a moment:
Pre-fixed training plans are a "given." You get the workout schedule for the next ~12 weeks and follow it.
Sick child? Holiday? Business trip? Tough luck.
Yes, life always gets in the way, but you more or less have to make up for missed sessions somehow.
The Sufferfest makes it easy to figure out what to do in such a case: https://thesufferfest.com/blogs/training-resources/skip-a-workout-dont-panic.
But as a whole, you're committed and inflexible.
It's the same with training plans on Zwift and Today's Plan.
Zwift will give you a short window to complete workouts, but if you miss the train, you're in trouble.
Dynamic/Flexible training plans (a la Xert) are very convenient because they will continuously track your progress and provide a selection of workout sessions for any specific day. So falling behind will result in a tougher selection to make up for the loss in stress (XSS).
The downfall, as I've discovered, is that you may always opt for the most leisurely session or one that won't push you to those dark places. So unless you're superb at self-abuse, you can quickly stagnate on Xert. Forever in "Endurance" sessions.
I certainly made progress on Xert, don't get me wrong, but I enjoy self-inflicted pain. That's what gets me up in the morning: how will I punish myself today?
Those with other tendencies may find it harder to make significant improvements - primarily because of the 4DP, by the way.
You see, before taking the Full Frontal 4DP test, I had illusions about the type of rider I was and had no real idea on what needed development and improvement.
Sure, I "wanted" to be a better climber, but it's my 5-minute power that needs work. 4DP and The Sufferfest will identify and "force" you to work on your weaknesses, thus improve.
Other plans, such as Xert's, will ask you what type of rider you want to be ("ooh ooh climber!") then give you that focus in their suggested sessions. You then end up with a lot of work on your strengths but probably too little on your weaknesses.
If you know your 4DP, then sure, you can fine-tune Xert and focus on your weakness, but if you've already done the 4DP test, well then, stick with the Sufferfest.
Right. So having explained that, let's talk about my plan.
It's now a holiday. Kids (3) don't have school and are around the house. We went for a 3-day /2-night trip that we had planned a couple of months ago.
At that time, I was just about to start the current SUF training plan and adjusted it so that the rest day will fall directly on the middle day of this trip.
The result? No missed workouts while away for three days!
On the morning of the trip, I got up early and knocked out Yoga, Strength, and Cadence Drills.
Day 1, done.
Day 2: rest day, and I went through a Yoga routine from memory (although I didn't have to. No Sufferfest Android app yet, so memory it is.)
Day 3: we returned in the late afternoon, and once the kids were in bed, I completed the MTP, Yoga, and 90min Endurance+ ride.
100% compliance, yeah, baby, yeah.
So today is the second day of Week 5.
Week 4 was the first rest week - and it felt hard. I was tired and droopy, dragging my feet and falling off them at about 8-9 pm every day. So with that level of fatigue, rest was welcome.
Day 1 of week 5 had me visiting A Very Dark Place, courtesy of the Sufferlandrian Ministry of Tourism.
This MAP (VO2Max) session is "only" 5 intervals of 4 minutes, above FTP. Fifty minutes that's all.
"Easy!" I thought after the first interval.
"I can do this," I thought after the second.
"OMG, what is this?!" was the third.
"Please make it stop!!" for the fourth.
"________________" for the fifth.
It's not the power targets that get me; it's the cadence and sitting-standing that fries my legs to the point of searing pain. And this session had Generosity at 100%. It served me with standing up, sitting down, spinning fast, slow, sprinting, grinding, and screaming. All the while trying to keep my lunch down and gasping for air, with power well above FTP.
I did an excellent job to finish it, using every bit of focus, positive self-talk, and form-awareness I could muster.
"Your legs are on fire, you want to stop, but this is EXACTLY what you need to be stronger and faster. Keep going. Hit that cadence."
(Cadence is the only thing I look at on these rides. The Tacx Neo controls power, so I don't think about it - I focus on spinning at the right cadence almost exclusively).
BTW - a sore point with Xert - no cadence targets on any of their workouts! Xert has a "comfortable cadence" philosophy that I don't necessarily agree with. There's some science behind it, showing efficiency for various power/cadence combos, but I know that repeat surging from sitting at 70rpm to standing at 80rpm in VO2Max will hit me much harder than spinning away at +90rpm.
Week 5 also saw the Mental Toughness Program Monthly Review. A good session looking at the past month's goals, achievements, and setting goals for the upcoming month and weeks. I'm still focusing on my weight as I strive to lose a couple of KG's to reach A Cat on Zwift. I'm basically there already with 4W/Kg but want a little more margin in my power than on my waistline.
|That's me, riding in the Jerusalem foothills.|