FREE! -- Sufferfest One Month Trial

Apologies, TR, however, in the spirit of community and helping each other while we ALL go through the pandemic craziness, I felt this should be shared. As a compromise to the TR product, there is no direct link to the SF site or offer, so if you want it, you’ll have to work for it!

From my understanding, the program on offer is designed on keeping you healthy – mentally and physically – during lockdown, rather than firing up your fitness to new heights (but you can access all plans once signed up). And it’s free, so it’s not like you’re giving TR-destined money to the competition!

I just signed up out of curiosity (and for something to do!).
My power curve derived from manual FTP input:

TR FTP equivalents:
NM: 268%
AC: 150%
MAP: 120%
FTP: 100%

Maybe I’ll do one of those weird 4DP tests to see how accurate their estimates are.

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So much for easing yourself back in gently :joy:

Thanks, but no thanks. I can’t stand their weird ‘suffer’ style.

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Neither can I, that’s why I never signed up with them in the past (apart from a 2-week free trial).
The 1-month trial also contains yoga, strength exercises, and mental well-being practices along side cycling workouts. Again, it’s designed with a focus on health vs performance.

FWIW, here’s the initial 4DP I did with them 2 years ago:

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Hey Guys,

I actually signed up to this. The 4DP profile had me at 250W FTP which is 50W lower than what I was currently using on Zwift. After swallowing my ego and moving into the workouts I found them to be really buggy. For example, on one workout it wanted me to complete 16,510W for 5 minutes in the warm up!!! Then, on another it kept on freezing. The instructional videos seem to be outdated too. Long story short, I signed up to TrainerRoad again as the good Zwift events are on right when my family needs me. I just did the ramp test and it placed me at 305W. That seems more like it (that’s my ego talking). Here are a few screenshots to illustrate my points.

I ended up contacting the Sufferfest customer service and they were lovely but I need to have faith in the work I am doing for results and Sufferfest just couldn’t provide that.

I hope these insights help a little. They are just my experiences.

4DP (Ego hit)

WTF (16,510 Watts)

TR Ramp Test
TR Ramp

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Thanks for the share.

My dirty little secret…I signed up but I’m not doing any of the cycling workouts; I’ve got TR for that. I’m using it for the yoga, strength workouts, and ‘mental’ exercises to keep me busy, entertained, and fitness/health focused while I’m locked away from the rest of the crazies for the next 2 months. If the world was still old-normal, I wouldn’t give SF a second look. I don’t like their product but I will absolutely give them full marks for putting this free package together. Well done, sirs. :+1:

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This was exactly what I was thinking when I saw your OP. I have complete faith in the TR cycling workouts so have no intention of trying a new plan, but I’ve struggled to find the right info to incorporate some strength and flexibility work (basically I need a TR-like plan to spoonfeed me it)

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I use peloton digital for those things and they have a 90 day trial currently. It is well done on there end for sure.

I’ve never used SF, nor will I start now.

Your post did encourage me to check them out… and it appears as though the way in which they establish zones is based on up-to-date science; it’s thus far better than using a bell curve to “guestimate” targets above threshold.

Hunter Allen, who (together with Andy Coggan) literally wrote the book on “training and racing with a power meter” , established four clear physiological zones according to the dominant metabolism - i.e. how energy is supplied to muscles. From most anaaerobic to most aerobic, in order:

  • Phosphagen system
  • Anaerobic glycolysis
  • Aneronic AND aerobic glycolysis
  • Oxidative system

It’s important to note that these all occur on a spectrum, and they all contribute to some degree, but the ratios change as you move through the zones and there is a relationship between time and depletion/exhaustion in each zone.

Here’s how Hunter’s zones and the SF zones line up:

Hunter: Neuromuscular Power, 5-15 seconds.
Sufferfest 4dp: Neuromuscular Power, 5 seconds

Hunter: Anaerobic Capacity, 30 seconds – 2 minutes
Sufferfest 4dp: Anaerobic Capacity, 1 minute

Hunter: vO2 Max, 3 minutes – 8 minutes
Sufferfest 4dp: Maximum Aerobic Power, 5 minutes

Hunter: Steady State, 10 minutes – several hours
Sufferfest 4dp: FTP, 20 minutes

From that perspective, the 4dp is FAR superior to a simple “FTP” based system.

EDIT: Because these energy systems to exist on a spectrum, one can still obtain some benefit from using the “guestimated” power targets above threshold… such as what TR uses… but they won’t be optimal. You may not be hitting targets that are high enough to cause the best stress-response (adaptation), and on the flip side you may be over-reaching and over-training.

Yet both TR and SF establish very similar power zones, as shown in an earlier post::

I think it’s a pretty safe bet that most of TR and SF users are going to fall somewhere under the umbrella of those general zones, thus making those zones decent enough targets. Not only that, but SF bases all their training zones off of…ready for it? – FTP!

The 4DP is definitely not a “superior” test. The first and only time I took the test, SF claimed my “weakness” was VO2max, even though according to the test my MAP was 122% FTP. Hunter says VO2max only goes up to 120%. Guess the 4DP got that wrong. My AC was also 159% FTP, yet Hunter states the AC ceiling is 150%. My NM was only 295% FTP, if anything that should have been my weakness. SF also labelled me a “climber”, whatever that means. What kind of climbing? And what kind of climber has a VO2max weakness?

Let’s not kid ourselves.

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I tried Sufferfest for a year. Initially it worked but I slowly ground down into overtraining. They make a big deal out of suffering and in the long run it just hurts you. I followed their training templates but they aren’t structured very well. I’ve found TR to be quite sensible and intelligent in the way they are structuring the training.

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Let’s see how my results rank in the Coggan/Hunter w/kg chart (you know the one I’m talkin’ 'bout!):

NM: upper Cat.5
AC: mid Cat.4
MAP: low Cat.1
FTP: upper Cat.2

Very weird that the SF identified my strongest Hunter-based power metric as being my weakness:


I wouldn’t call 4DP a superior test, by any measure. Let’s also not forget that ALL these power curve tests have been around for a long time – anyone can do any of these tests when ever they want. It’s not proprietary. All SF did was jam them all in one test as a marketing tool for the wallet-heavy time-crunched MAMIL demographic.

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@Captain_Doughnutman

While we’re busy “not kidding ourselves…”, I never said that the 4dp is a superior test. I said it is a superior system (because it is).

Do you understand the difference?

Further, I never talked about their specific implementation nor any inferences they draw in strengths/weaknesses.

The way SF uses it means it’s not a superior system, it’s the same system as most other power-derived systems because it derives all the zones from an FTP test.

If I did my own power curve tests on 4 separate days (vs crammed into one test), then yes, I might have more specificity when it comes to setting my training zones. But I don’t need SF (or TR for that matter) to do that.

From my own experience, the 4DP test is nothing special, and SF is way off base. YMMV.

:+1:

I think we’re actually in (vehement) agreement on the flaws of specific “testing”, whether that’s a 1 dimensional “FTP” test or a four dimensional “4dp” test.

Where I’ve been coming from is that the 4dp at least attempts to consider the four basic physiological systems and provide specificity in targets for each. This is far more useful than bell curve.

I personally would take my 20min, 5min, 1min and 5s power data from an up-to-date PDC (in something like WKO or Golden Cheetah), plug these into the SF app and use that app as my training interface.

I’ve been banging on to the WKO team for some time now that while it’s science is excellent and industry-leading, what the software painfully lacks is a training interface that makes use of iLevels and the recommended interval target/length that changes on an almost daily basis as the model gets more data.

I had a similar experience when plugging my data into the fastfitnesstipps chart. I think it is because they benchmark you against their userbase, and not against the Hunter chart. I could see how the SF userbase is strong with respect to minute-duration intervals (between 1 and 15min maybe), because that is what is easiest to train indoors. It’s hard to fully sprint, so low NP numbers, and few people will have the willpower to keep going for long endurance rides indoors. But 5min efforts, easy.

They maybe express them as percentage of ftp?

But they base threshold (and below?) off of FTP as derived from 20 minute test. They base higher zones on the shorter efforts in the 4DP test.

Interestingly the Coggan chart (same as Hunter?) is for track cyclists as well, who dominate the shorter efforts. Road cyclists don’t show up so well on the shorter efforts, and tend to show up best on VO2 max as less trainable than ftp. (Which chimes with what you’re saying)

No it doesn’t!

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