After we send you your SUFCoaching customised plan it’s time for you to start training! Here’s some information on how to read the plan and what to do when...things don’t quite go to plan.
HOW TO READ THE PLAN
What order to do workouts in
Workouts should appear in the correct order when you view them in your training peaks calendar. Whatever is listed first in your day, is what you should do first. When doing back to back cycling workouts, the titles should reflect which one should be done first.
Reading reduced intensity for workouts
When we don’t want you to work quite so hard, the title of the workout will indicate that there is an intensity reduction (e.g., The Wretched at 80%). Some workouts will also have extra info in the description with specific recommendations for reducing specific 4DP metrics for that workout, rather than the intensity of the entire workout. So, be sure to adjust the intensity in the app before you start the workout.
Why your planned TSS and IF often won’t match up in TrainingPeaks
The TSS and IF values you see in the “completed” portion of an Activity on Training Peaks is based on the Normalized Power from your workout and your FTP setting in your TrainingPeaks account.
If your FTP in TrainingPeaks and The Sufferfest app don’t match then your TSS and IF won’t match. To check this in TP, click on your Account > Settings > scroll to zones and make sure that FTP is set correctly. You do not need to worry about the zones listed below that setting in TrainingPeaks.
If your FTP settings in TP and the Sufferfest are the same, and you still see a difference between the planned and completed values, then know that is all down to the limitations of TSS and the wonders of 4DP! Find out more about that here.
WHEN YOU CAN’T DO THE WORKOUTS AS PESCRIBED
If don’t have enough time for the full workout
If you’re short for time, then the most important thing is to get the listed intervals for a workout completed. So, do all the intervals and reduce any lower intensity work as much as possible (without compromising your recovery between intervals). So, for example, if you have a 2 hour endurance session scheduled with 5 intervals then you can reduce the endurance part as much as needed as long as you keep the five intervals. If you do that and still don’t have enough time, it’s ok to remove a few intervals if it means you can still get some intensity work in.
Alternatively, you can swap the day’s session with a shorter session from the day before (if you’re planning in advance) or tomorrow’s workout assuming one of those sessions is an easier, low-intensity session.
If you can’t hit your numbers
Sometimes you don’t feel great during a workout and you’re really struggling to do the intervals. When that’s the case, here is how to handle your workout.
If you get sick
If the symptoms are only in your head (e.g., sinus pressure, runny nose, sore throat), then it’s okay to do low intensity exercise (i.e. a recovery ride or a recovery yoga session). Easy physical activity can actually boost your immune system.
If the symptoms are below your head (e.g., chest cough, any GI distress, breathing issues), then take all the time you usually spend on training to get more sleep! And make sure you stay on top of your fluid intake.
It’s often better to take several days fully off and get back to 100% in 3 days, rather than limp along at 75% for a full week.
If you miss a workout
Don’t worry — everything you need to know about that is right here.
If you’re too tired to finish a hard training block
It’s always okay to start a rest week early! This is where paying attention to trends in heart rate can be valuable. A heart rate that is slow to rise, does not go as high as normal, and is then slow to drop down are sure signs of deep fatigue (which is the whole point of training) but it’s a sign that you will need to take a few days easy soon. If you have one or two workouts left before a rest week you can see about pushing through using RPE. If you still have a full week of training left to go and just can’t bear it, then you will be better off taking a few days fully off, and then finish off the last bit of your block.
When you do get this fatigued, it’s worthwhile looking at why it’s happened. If family or life stress has been higher than normal, of your nutrition and sleep quality have taken a dive, those can be culprits. Sometimes you can do something about those issues and other times you cannot. Just remember, all stress is stress - so be mentally prepared for your on-the-bike performance to take a bit of a hit if things in other areas of life get extra stressful. This is not the time to panic and add MORE stress to your life because training isn’t going perfectly. Work on improving/changing/fixing whatever you can in other areas of your life to reduce stress and the good feelings on the bike will return.
If you miss a week or more
What do to in this situation depends on why you missed so much time.
- Life/work stress or sickness? Just drive back in wherever you are now supposed to be.
- Did you ride but didn’t follow the plan? Then pick up the plan as it is unless this was during a recovery week and you went hard instead. In that case, you need to do a rest week and then get back on the plan wherever it is on the schedule.
WHEN YOU WANT TO DO MORE
If you want to ride more than is planned
If you’re feeling good, have been recovering well and want to spend more time on your bike on a particular day, then that’s ok. Just make sure it’s nothing more intense than zone 2 riding.
Oh — and during a rest week, extra volume is NEVER ok. If you really want to ride more during a rest week, then resist the temptation and save that energy for the following week...you’ll need it!
If you’re feeling great and want to increase intensity
Rather than raise your targets, turn off erg mode (if you’re on a smart trainer) and ride by perceived exertion (RPE). Just keep a close eye on how you recover and whether this extra big day affects your following workouts.
If the workouts start to feel too easy
If workouts start to feel too easy and you think it might be time to raise your targets, then here’s some advice on what to do.
ALL ABOUT OUTSIDE RIDES
How to get your outdoor workout on your head unit
All the instructions on how to do that are here.
Doing indoor workouts outside
Depending on the indoor workout you’re supposed to do, and depending on the terrain around your house, some workouts will be easier than others to simulate outside.
So, check out the workout profile in the app. If the terrain and roads allow you to roughly simulate the workout then go ahead and memorise or write down and tape to your stem what you need to do. Just don’t stress about hitting times and intensities exactly (alternatively, forget about the workouts and just go ride to have fun).
That being said, be mindful that you should avoid doing this on a regular basis as the plan is designed with a specific progression and training load in mind. Straying away from that too much can be detrimental to your training goals.
Doing outside workouts inside
Any outdoor workout we assign you will have a corresponding “NoVid” in the app with the same(or same-ish) title as the workout.
So if your outdoor workout is Tempo: 2x20, then find the same or similar workout in the app and do that.
If you don’t have a Heart Rate Monitor or Power Meter on your outdoor bike
No worries. Just do the workout based on perceived exertion (RPE). Here’s how to do that.
If don't have a stretch of road that works well for the prescribed workouts
You should bring this up during your call with your coach! They can tweak the weekend rides to fit your terrain, but only if they know about it!
There might also be instances where the best option is to do the interval inside, and then get in your extra volume/ride time outside afterwards.
If you want to do a group ride instead of a workout
Riding bikes is fun, and few things can be more fun than going out and smashing it with some of your cycling friends. With that in mind, we understand if you want to add your weekend group ride into your normal training, and since we wouldn’t stop you, we ask that you try and follow these guidelines:
- Swap the scheduled "harder" weekend ride with your group ride. On the other weekend day you should aim to complete an Endurance+ ride that keeps your total weekend ride time close to plan.
- If the group ride leaves you holding on for dear life, then replace one of your hard weekday rides with an easier recovery/Endurance+ session. What ride to cut out? The ride with the lowest star rating in your Full Frontal determined Strength.
- On rest weeks you should do your best to avoid your group ride altogether. The key to getting faster is hitting the training hard, and then hitting the recovery hard. If you want to be the hammer of the group ride you need to be smart about when you give your body time to rest.
If you can’t keep your power steady outside
There will always be times when riding outside that you can’t hold the desired power target for one of many reasons - but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try and be steady the rest of the time.
Like playing a piano or touch typing, riding steady power outside is something that can be trained as long as you actively work on improving it!
Your first step should be doing some workouts inside on Level mode if you have a smart trainer. While ERG is great for keeping you “honest” it can un-train your ability to actively control the pace yourself. Once you can master pace changes in level mode, you can start working on it outside.
The first step to improving it outside is to break your workout into smaller chunks, just like an interval set. Start by alternating 5-minutes of trying your hardest to keep the power steady, and then the next 5 you can ride as your normally would. Repeat this for the full duration of your outdoor ride (unless you have an interval to complete outside). Later, you can do this 5min steady/5 min regular during the warm up, rest between sets, and cool down, while trying your best to stay steady during the specific intervals.
Just remember, it takes time to master steady riding! The steadier you can ride outside, the more effective your workouts and training will be.
ABOUT THE CROSS TRAINING
What to know about Strength Training before starting
You really ought to read our STR FAQ here. You can expect to feel “off” on the bike for at least the first 4 weeks of a new strength routine. That is completely normal, and we will have modified the first month of your plan to take that into consideration.
If you want to do a different yoga workout
Often different individuals are tight in different areas, and if you find a certain series of videos leave you feeling better than others, or you just want to change things up, go for it!
Just use this table and try ideally swap your planned yoga session with another session from the same group, or that should be done at the same time (some yoga sessions are designed to be done after, other designed to be done before a workout)