Sufferfest New Features - TR Killer?


#1

I am a TrainerRoad advocate (annual subscription). I love the structure it gives to my workouts, the calendar feature, forum, and podcast. I also look forward to its upcoming Google/iCal sync feature. I’ve mentioned this before but I’m a TR lifer for sure.

This post is with the hope that TrainerRoad addresses some of the app shortcomings, IMO, that may potentially sway subscribers elsewhere. Aside from having limited resources, I can’t help but feel some of these aren’t implemented due to pride. Just because a competitor did it first doesn’t mean you can’t either, as a matter of adopting best practices. I know TR has its niche (serious cyclists, no frills, etc.), but I seriously doubt other apps would hesitate to copy things from TR - thereby eating a share of your target market.

Here goes:
(1) Customizable screen: where you can choose which metrics to display such as current TSS, HR, cadence, power, etc. This is a feature request I’ve seen before and it makes sense to be able to customize screens depending on workouts/drills.

(2) Color-coded intervals: where sweet spot efforts are distinguishable from Vo2max efforts, neuromuscular, etc. Seems pretty standard to me. My guess is the blue screen is part of TR’s identity and branding, so management is apprehensive to change this. I sure hope this is revisited.

(3) Adjustable intervals: where users have the option of increasing/decreasing certain intervals. For example, I find the sprint efforts relatively easy and would like to increase the intensity of these. In fact, Coach Chad’s workout text is 99% spot on to what’s happening (amazing!) except for sprint efforts where he says “you’re probably cooked by now,” or something to that effect, and I’m actually smiling (I swear it’s not from the pain).

(4) Yoga? I understand you’ve made YouTube videos addressing other issues related to cycling (strength, flexibility, and more), but maybe a spoon fed approach that’s integrated to the training plan might help? Not sure about this and would like to know your thoughts.

(5) Color-coded calendar: where easy, moderate, hard days are easy to see at a glance. Here’s a workaround I’ve made using annotations:

I won’t be subscribing to Suffestfest anytime soon - and most probably never will - because I can’t seem to trust a company with a marketing spiel like “FTP is dead” and then base workouts relative to FTP. I know that’s not their point and the slogan isn’t literal, but it’s still a turnoff (sorry).

On the other hand, I trust TrainerRoad. I trust Coach Chad, Coach Jonathan, and I occasionally trust Nate. Let me be clear that I appreciate the constant improvements the TR software presents. The TR team, from management to its engineers, support team, all have been phenomenal. Here’s to TrainerRoad’s continued success!


#2

Here is my take on it, take it with a grain of salt…

All of the new stuff the “Other Guys” are talking about multiple test for multiple skillsets and limits and FTP is dead blah blah blah, really amount to a hill of beans when you have a well tested algorithm that works from your baseline and works on a predictive scale. I’m not interested in the fluff that others seem to need to complete a honest workout.


#3

Now this I would like in a plan, I know I should stretch more but if I looked at my calendar and saw today I’m following a 45 minute yoga session I’d be more motivated to do it than just thinking I should do this today.


#4

+1


#5

I don’t know what some of these features would add - in terms of making you faster…what is benefit of colour coding the intervals…how would that make me faster? In terms of intensity - can already up the interval intensity, just ride hard as you can maybe on sprints…


#6

Of all the points in your first post - this is the only one that I would be excited to see added to TR - the rest are meaningless to me

Everyone will have different tanks on each of these feature sets - but I don’t know that any of this is a Trainer Road Killer

That said - there is a constant need for innovation in a competitive marketplace, and how well TR and its competitors innovate is what will determine their success or failure. Innovation by a competitor is great for us as consumers - it will push TR to keep up and offer more functionality.

I think it unlikely that too many of these specific things end up in the product and I also think these specific features are unnecessary. My guess is that TR is currently focused on more adaptive workouts and plans such that your performance on prior workouts and within the current workout will adjust intensity and duration (similar to what Xert has been trying to do)


#7

In my opinion improving look and feel is nice but focus should be on functionality. In this regard I hope for and think of

  • including metrics / graphs for W’ Balance / MPA (!) (maybe also PMC/TSB)
  • individually adjusting training plans (I suppose sth like this to come)
  • staring weeks with own defined day (so that training stress chart is better aligned if your workout weeks are shifted)
  • exporting/importing workouts/rides directly from/to head units

So I guess everybody has his own take on this. So instead of looking at Sufferfest I would look at Xert and TrainingPeaks.

That said, I’m also happy if TR stays niche, keeps a low price point and gradually develops step by step with limited resources. So they can keep a close relationship with the community which is a big plus and I guess growing large would bring its own bunch of problems.


#8

+1


#9

+1 for maintaining the community aspect of TR.


#10

Yup. I think this is the most valid and potentially useful addition. Being able to adapt your sustainable VO2 Max Power for example to a level that’s repeatable for you, whether that falls at 125%, 115% or the ubiquitous 120% would make TR a more personal and adaptable experience.


#11

It’s the yoga and strength training that attracts me to Sufferfest. Just not 100% convinced on the plans. They’re opaque and hard for me to know how good they are at improving my FTP or VO2 etc.

They could well be better than TR, but I just can’t get a clear fix on the plans the same way I can either TR.

I’d love to see some guys test TR v SUF in terms of FTP gains or whatever. Such a hard thing to do really for all the obvious reasons.


#12

First - competition is good and its great that there are a few different quality apps/programs available. It will help with innovation overall and result in better products. At some point we may see some consolidation take place, but in the meantime “a rising tide floats all ships”.

Sufferfest has done a nice job integrating the yoga, mental strength, and now strength training into the app. While these can all be done separately, having it integrated into the app likely helps a lot of people who are not that experienced in these areas.

The color coded intervals and customizable screen are nice touches, but really not essential, at least for me.

The one area where I like Sufferfest is when I really tired after a long day and have a tough workout scheduled, I find substituting a Sufferfest workout for a Trainerroad workout helps me get it done. The music and race footage gets me going and more often than not I get through the workout. Probably if I did Sufferfest all the time the effect would wear off, but dropping them in once in a while is a great way for me to stay on track.


#13

I used Sufferfest last year…I like the video footage and music…that really helps get me through workouts. The things I didnt like was the very limited workout library…you end up repeating the same workout many times. I also tried to do the yoga, while the instructor was easy on the eyes, her voice was very annoying. The mental program was interesting, while I did learn some mental tenacity from it…the whole video series came across a little like a comedy.


#14

I actually found TR via Sufferfest years ago when SF was just videos and didn’t even their own app and you would use TR with the SF videos.

It wasn’t long until the benefits of TR were clear over the SF videos, and then were was no reason to use SF (for me).

I would LOVE having yoga/strength built into TR. I did try the yoga in SF last winter and I did like it, but since it’s not my “go to” app, it made it difficult for me to build a structure with it and instead I just kind of went rogue doing my own thing.

The TR calendar is helpful in letting me add planned “yoga” sessions, that I then go out and find on YouTube. The truth is, I don’t ride my trainer much through the spring/summer/fall, so I don’t follow the plans that much then. But I would absolutely follow a year round yoga/strength plan if TR offered it.


#15

I used Sufferfest when they let you download the videos and have like 12 of them. First time I did one the time went by super fast and I really liked it. Over time I was still entertained and liked the music for most. But what I love about TR is the actual race plans and coach developed workouts. I even ended up dropping my coach and feel like still able to improve. Now it’s not the same thing but I at least get the plan.

SSB has been great for me and even though I know I’m doing SS riding five days a week it keeps it mixed up for me. 7x10,3x30,5x15, etc. whereas if I was doing sufferfest I would be doing something like Angels of Hell Hath No Fury 4-5 times a week I’d really struggle. Even several years ago I was using A Very Dark Place or Revolver twice a week I was ready for something else after like 8 weeks.

I’ll use TR to get better at racing because that’s what’s important to me. I don’t need all the random stuff because my Garmin records the workouts and I can pull up a bike race on tv while training. Some people need other things but I know I’ve become a lot stronger wirh TR then I would have with Zwift or Sufferfest.


#16

Why? If you have no idea what you’re about to do…absence of fancy colours should be the least of your concerns.

Again…if you can’t be bothered to concern yourself with the details (or simple graphics) of your workouts…

Yes! But duration and duplication, intensity function is already there.


#17

On the one hand I have considered adding Sufferfest as a subscription to get regular access to these things… on the other hand every other time I’ve looked at “yoga / strength training for cyclists” it’s like they’re so centered on the “for cyclist” part that they don’t address my interest, which is both improving / staying well as a cyclist, but also generally having a healthier, more capable body for everything off the bike. And so I have continued to almost completely ignore all the advice for much specificity in strength training because my whole life isn’t very specific to cycling, and I a) can’t justify subscribing to Sufferfest for it and b) don’t feel like I want/need it from TrainerRoad.


#18

Boom. Here ya go: http://www.yoga15.com/

Exact source that SF uses.
Search under ‘Pose Library’ for performance and/or recovery, it’s all there.


#19

I used sufferfest for about a month about a year ago. Here’s my take:

Pros: I liked the videos and music that played with the workouts. They helped with motivation and distraction and helped the workouts go by quicker. I also liked the yoga segment. Yoga/stretching is often overlooked by many cyclists (myself included). It’s benefits can greatly help you on the bike, and seeing it on my daily schedule helped me get it done more often.

Cons: I didn’t care for their “full frontal” fitness test all that much. I don’t think you can get an athletes 4 power numbers (5 sec, 1 min, 5 min, 20min) out of one test if they are truly giving 100% in each effort. The lack of integration in regards to a calendar was also a knock. I didn’t mind the pdf format, but the move to training peaks was a step back in my opinion. I also felt like their training plans were a step back compared to trainerroad. They weren’t really clear in regards to progression, how far out to start, how to taper, etc. The sufferfest’s workout library is also lacking compared to trainerroad. Doing the same workout multiple times would get boring rather quickly.

There are some things that I would like to see trainerroad implement, like a stretching/yoga segment of some kind and an actual power profile with workouts that scale to these different numbers rather than just ftp and ftp based workouts. As things stand though, trainerroad is the superior training application out of the big 3 (zwift, trainerroad, sufferfest) of you are looking to truly get faster on the bike.


#20

I’m super impressed you can do Palisade, Mills then a Half Marathon. Nice :+1:t2:. I do 10k runs between my TR workouts but couldn’t comprehend a Half. Palisade is my current nemesis, that and Mary Austin. Kudo’s @Dan_Dima-ala