Sufferfest New Features - TR Killer?


No need, it’s something we’re looking into :slight_smile:

Long thread, but you can get an idea of where we are going here:


I only used to use the Suf when the videos were available for download, I soon got bored though as I need something structured.
Whilst I love the structure of the TR.
I feel that it misses out on the possible suggestions that you should a core session this day (even if it’s just like 5 sessions as recently shown on GCN) , or during the winter how about a couple of weight session per week.

I looked at XERT the other day, (I was an early adopter ages ago, when I got my power meter, but got bored due to now structure at the time) and I liked the Dashboard it presented with me at the beginning, showing if I’m heading towards over / undertraining, and how it suggests alternative Training sessions based on recent performance.


The only thing I find tempting about Suf is 4DP and the idea that the training plan is adjusted according to your strengths and weaknesses (even though I have no idea if that is actually the case on Suf, since I haven’t tried it). I know my weakness is VO2max and I have relatively litlle trouble completing the SS Workouts while soemtimes failing on the over/unders and VO2s. It would be great if a test could detect that and adjust the plan accordingly. Once again, I have no idea if Suf actually does that but it sure sounds like that’s what they are aiming to do.


I thought 4DP was an excellent feature until I saw the recent GCN-Sufferfest video ad with Dan Lloyd. I think a HUGE flaw was inadvertently revealed.

The SF Full Frontal test classified Dan as a sprinter - most likely because his top end power had the least drop - but with the benefit of hindsight, we know Dan wasn’t a sprinter. If the plans are in fact tailored, then the wrong plan would have been recommended.

Thoughts? :thinking:


what about ading a song* or a rythmic sound adapted to your cadence when reaching a certain heartrate or resistance, user adjustable ? I think this would be a great asset for trainerroad
(*: or coach Chad screaming his lungs out)


I wouldn’t want to be classified by this test in the first place. Rather choose my plan like I currently do on TR but have emphasis and intensities specific to my weeknesses rather than simply scaling the same plan according to FTP. In my case that would probably mean more VO2 Max work at slightly lower intensity. In Dan’s case maybe more SS to (re)-build his base.
If Suf dictates your type of plan and thus your training goal, that would indeed be quite a large flaw.


The training plan recommended would be to address his weakness which was identified as sustained power. As you have said his top end power has deteriorated the least, aerobic power the most so the it seems that the correct training will be suggested?


So people identified as sprinters get sweetspot/threshold work and vice versa? Seems a bit strange to me. I would much rather pick a plan myself based on my events. If you are a reasonably well trained TT specialist you might not want to get a plan which raises your 5 second peak power.

The utility might come in determining your high end intervals (i.e. when FTP based thresholds don’t line up with VO2 capabilities), but plan choice shouldn’t be determined solely by a ‘rider profile’.


Plan choice isn’t determined solely by rider profile, they can be chosen by rider profile and target event (TT/Grand Fondo/Tri/XC MTB/Cyclo X or whatever. You could choose to do something other than what is recommended of course.

I would say that the training plan road map that TR use is much more long term than those offered by SUF. The SUF plans are 10 - 12 weeks. They seem to be more aimed at more casual riders who do training blocks for a specific event before reverting to their usual riding. The plans don’t seem to string together to well over the long term.

Just my opinion though.


Thanks for the info @Peter_Graham. To me though a flaw in 4DP was still shown in the video. Whether a rider’s goal is to build on his innate strengths or improve on his weaknesses, the rider then acts in relation to the rider profile he was given.

We have the benefit of hindsight in Dan Lloyd’s case, and that is he wasn’t a sprinter. If, for example, he didn’t know this and worked hard to “build on his strengths,” then he would’ve trained to become a sprinter.

I guess the takeaway is that 4DP is a snapshot of your current abilities but that you shouldn’t pigeonhole your training to it. Sure does eliminate a lot of the appeal SF was hoping to market it with. :slight_smile:


It has been suggested before. The problem is with different tastes in music and TR people think it is not worth the time.


Yes, this is one of many reasons why we don’t do this. Tests like these show how you’ve recently trained, not what your genetically predefined to be good at.

We train you for what type of cyclist you want to be, rather than continue to train you the way you have been.

It seems like a subtle difference but it’s a big deal.


I think we agree.

When I did the 4DP test (many moons ago) it identified that sprinting was my weakness which was not unexpected (61.2Kg/135lb climber! here). The issue is I have zero interest in improving my sprint as it is not the limiter in the events that I do (mountain/hilly gran fondo/sportives) so that insight is not especially relevant. The rider profile is a bit gimmicky but maybe the adjustment of the intervals to match the riders profile has some merit?


Sure, but some poor man’s iLevels would be the real value. Even if they’re not done on the fly, as ppl have suggested. I find it challenging (logistically) to get max 1 min and 5 min power out on the road. But I can work in a Ramp Test regularly. Why not just enhance the Ramp Test to get shorter power durations? FTP to drive threshold and sub-threshold workouts, some other test similar to 4DP to drive supra-threshold.

And yes, the “grand tour” style rider categorizations don’t serve any purpose for me.


I think we have a great solution that doesn’t require additional testing. It’s being worked on now. Many people in the forum have said a few variations of it.

I don’t want to announce this until it’s out.


Rock on!


I used SF all last winter, and I think the 4DP has a lot of merit, and in fact I think it’s the way all programs should structure workouts. It’s certainly not a requirement to get a good workout, but it makes it easier to know what you should set the hard intervals at. For me, I’m really good at the top end power (relative to FTP), so I have to go a little over on sprint & VO2 max intervals. It’s the “should the program hold your hand and tell you what to do” or should you figure out what you need and do that, debate.

I will fully agree though, that classifying riders only causes problems, and that’s a huge drawback to their program. I ended up doing a ton of VO2 work, because of VO2 weakness, and my FTP stagnated.


Thanks Nate - totally agree - think I heard you cover elements of this on one of the Podcasts when discussing the then new Ramp Test.
Would love to know how much The Sufferfest is paying GCN for this as well as Elite for using the Drivo. With over 1.5M subscribers it must be substantial and they must be confident of a return on this investment?? And also it shows the strength of the indoor training commercial opportunity - note the investment of Zwift / Peloton pre video advertising.
For me there is nothing in the new features that have even turned my head. In fact, after a brief flirt with Zwift again in November I have stuck to my New Years resolution of better TR compliance and have binned Zwift yet again for the joys of SSBII !! Then time for some Century prep to try and get to 4w/kg for my A Race in Jun with each session giving me confidence in the Plan.
However, on a wish list front, a better Workout Builder / tweaker will be great when it is launched.


to me, the best thing about Sufferfest was the music.

But maybe it’s my personal taste in music matching David’s. I don’t use it any more, I think the plans on TrainerRoad are better, and I can search for the Sufferfest playlists on Spotify anyway.


I have never used sufferfest and my first exposure was watching the GCN video. I have to admit after being a TrainerRoad user for six months, sufferfest seems like a bit of a low-grade fitness plan. There is absolutely nothing I saw in their program that would ever consider me switching off of TrainerRoad. In fact GCN’s video was a bit of a turn off for their product.

Maybe I have just drank the TrainerRoad Kool-Aid and I am too familiar with what they offer because of the podcast and this forum.