The forty minute climb you begged us NOT to make...

it was a dark and stormy night

It all started off as a bit of a laugh really. One cold, dark and miserable evening, while bouncing ideas for new workouts around SUF HQ, I turned to David "Chief Suffering Officer" McQuillen and said "You know what's really missing is a 30 minute climb." To which he replied "Why stop at 30 minutes?"

(Incidentally, this is a prime example of why the man is continually brought before the United Nation to answer questions about Human Rights violations.)

As soon as my legs stopped twitching in the conditioned fear response our videos inspire in me, I naturally agreed that a 40 minute climb would be an AWESOME ideas. So, we set about making this twisted idea into a reality.

After Sir Neal Henderson got involved we settled on our first 'summit finish' video, a session truly designed by Sufferlandrians for Sufferlandrians.

it's all well and good to dream up this stuff...

...but then you have to follow through with it. Once you realise that "If we make this we're going to have to do it too!" you start to understand why the average resting heart rate of a Minion is 220 BPM...

The story for the climb began to come together as we worked with footage from the 2016 Giro d'Italia. The race was packed full of attacks, breaks and amazing scenes of epic Suffering. Once GvA knit the footage together and the Minions programmed the workout into the app. it was ready for initial testing. Dave, being the brave one, was first.

While doing the workout, he looked like he was being beaten with a sledgehammer on fire. As soon as he got off (and that did take a little while) and stepped into the not-insignificant pool of Sufferlandrian Holy Water beneath him, he said only three words: "It's too easy.

The Minions knew what they had to do.

The surges became longer and harder, the attacks more frequent. More testing and more refining took place. Then, one day, it was my turn... 

Altitude sickness

I found myself in Hobart, Tasmania for a test run of Thin Air at one of two local Sufferlandrian Embassies.

The instructor that night was a real hard ass, but he kept the class motivated and focused on absolutely CRUSHING the climb, dropping Fireball and destroying The Shark (you'll find out who they are in the video). With Courageous Sufferlandrians by my side I knew I had to put my best effort in. Holy water was shed, curses muttered, efforts grovelled, lakes of Sufferlandrian Holy Water filled... it was sublime!

here's what your fellow sufferlandrians are saying about thin air

It may take awhile before you feel the full effects of Thin Air...

When you're compared to one of cinema's all-time best villains, you know you're doing something right! 

Allow us to paraphrase for Kelly: "I'm not crying! Pain is just leaving my body through my tear ducts!"

the workout 

Thin Air was unleashed onto the world after countless emails and posts on social media BEGGING us not to make anything like it. This inspired Sir Neal Henderson to no end.

A hallmark of Sir Neal's workouts are that you are constantly brought to the edge and walked back just a bit. Then you're shown that edge again, walked back, to the edge again, maybe over it, then back...and so on. Here's how he does it:

  • Thin Air features a generous warm up with a few brief efforts to stoke a Sufferlandrian's legs & lungs.
  • The warm up graduates to short, punctuated supra-threshold efforts as you battle for the Misery Prize in the foothills of Mt. Sufferlandria.
  • The 40 minute climb, the piece de resistance of Thin Air, features long efforts at, just below and just above threshold. GVA threw in multiple surges for good effect.
  • As you begin to fatigue from the repeated attacks, surges, cadence changes and cumulative effect of this endless effort, that's just when it starts to get HARD.
the story

We won't give much away, but just be on the lookout for The Shark. If he senses blood in the water he'll attack and shred every chamois in sight... and remember, Sufferlandrians don't get dropped! 

the footage

This year's Giro d'Italia featured some epic climbing stages and attracted some of the world's strongest climbers, including Esteban 'Chavito' Chaves, Steven Kruijswijk & Vincenzo Nibali. Here's a sample of the action:


 the music

If you're not in a hypoxic state you'll love the soundtrack for Thin Air, which is dominated by one of our favourite finds of late, the artist Paris Burns. "Bombs Away" kicks it at just the right time. Enjoy!


Why you should do thin air right now

It's your duty as a Sufferlandrian to soak up as much pain, misery & agony and convert it into honour, glory & VICTORY. Thin Air is 60 minutes packed with the goods, so stop reading this and start SUFFERING!

Seriously, Thin Air is great for...

  • ...calorie burn. Right up there with The Long Scream & The Wretched for burning kcals.
  • ...triathletes - we all know how much you slow-twitchers love to grind one out in the "big dawg". This 40 minute effort has your name written all over it.
  • ...mountain goats AKA "stupid skinny climbers" - you know, the kind that just float away when the road tilts up? Well, all Sufferlandrians are on equal footing with Thin Air. #EverybodyHurts
  • ...time triallists. Build up some serious strength and threshold tolerance with this beauty.
  • ...non-Sufferlandrians! Convert one today by introducing them to The Sufferfest #MiseryLovesCompany
tips for getting the most out of thin air

This is the STEEP SIDE OF MT. SUFFERLANDRIA PEOPLE !!! Prepare yourself mentally and physically for a lung popping, leg burning, teeth clenching, fist pumping rollercoaster of a ride. You'll feel so bad it'll start to feel good, we promise!

Here's a few things the Minions have learned about 'conquering' Thin Air...

  • ...fuel up early and often. Drink up during the warm up because when those surges and attacks come fast & furious you don't want to be grasping for your bidon (though you may be praying for a sticky bottle!)
  • Know thy systems check! By staying composed and by focusing on efficiency not only will you have more energy to jump The Shark but it will give you something else to think about besides the abject terror of knowing there are still 39 minutes left of this climb! If you asking yourself, "System's Check - what's that?!" you need to check out Elements of Style.
other ways to ride thin air

Let's face it. The road to glory is paved in many ways and sometimes "less is more". If you need a good tempo or sweet spot effort after a hard day or during an easier phase of your training, don't hesitate to dial down the intensity.

OR, if it's been a while since your last visit to the Doctor and you're feeling particularly fresh and frisky, you can turn it up to 11 and test your limits (and sanity). Grunterspeed! 

now what?

Destroy the inner Couchlandrian with Thin Air! Thin Air is exclusive to the Sufferfest Training Centre app. Learn more and start your free trial today.



Jared McClintock
Jared McClintock


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