maanantai 1. tammikuuta 2018

The Sufferfest: Structured pain


The Sufferfest provides the time-crunched cyclist structured workouts, and integrated training plans for indoor riding. Motivational video footage from grand tours and other races make it feel you're racing with others.

The frame story is about Sufferlandrians who refuse to get dropped and who value pain, agony, and misery. This is the pep-talk you better get used to in The Sufferfest.

Most of the exercises are short (30-60 minutes) and have a very detailed prescription. The 4DP or "Four-dimensional power" is a clear example of this. It is The Sufferfest equivalent to the traditional FTP test. In one hour, after the warm up you have to ride to the max two 5 second sprints, a 5 minute maximal aerobic power test, a 20 minute FTP test, and finally after all this, a 1-minute anaerobic capacity test. (see in Strava)

The Sufferfest has all the data I find useful on screen. The only minus is that the cadence reading has too many errors compared to Garmin Edge 520 or eg. to Zwift.

The 4DP fitness test represents The Sufferfest approach in good and bad: it has a sound core principle but too many bells and whistles to my taste. We hassle the exercise through. Less would be more. For example, I really don't need precise instructions when to raise my ass out of the saddle and when to sit down again. Sounds like a spinning lesson with a hyperactive instructor.

The Sufferlandrian pep-talk is there to motivate you and to create a feeling of belonging. Social pressure makes you try harder if you think your reference group is training like that, too. But why should you train like somebody else? Shouldn't you train according to your own history and situation?

Following a general training plan that has a lot of sweet-spot and anaerobic training too closely may lead to too extreme workouts too frequently, and also to forget about periodization. 

Consider consulting a coach in order to make The Sufferfest serve you. It doesn't suffice that The Sufferfest adjusts the intensity of the workouts by your 4DP results.


I have it easy. I've been riding for more than ten years actively. I ride in the masters, and do just as pleases me. I keep the big picture of my training in mind. Then I improvise the workouts, and may combine outdoor cycling, free rollers, and trainer riding together.

In this light it's easy to see that The Sufferfest is not for me. Then again, I know people who love it. Give it a try: it's free for 7 days.

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