The Sufferfest & Apex Coaching

2019 ToS Prep / Advanced / VO2 Weakness

Plan Length: 14 Weeks

This plan is designed to prepare you for the 2019 Tour of Sufferlandria (Feb 2-10).
It includes the Tour stages, as well as a post-Tour Full Frontal fitness test on February 24.

Choose this plan if you:

* Have taken the 4DP Full Frontal fitness test and your results identified your Primary Weakness as VO2 Efforts.
* Have previous experience with structured training plan or have been riding consistently for more than 2 years
* Have trained more than an average of 10 hours/week in the previous ~3 months.
*Have up to 10 hours a week to train.

This plan includes Yoga for Cyclists and Mental Toughness sessions to provide you with comprehensive training on and off the bike.

You can (and should) add The Sufferfest Strength Training for Cyclists programme to this plan. Choose either the Beginner or Intermediate progressions designed to integrate with the ToS Prep plans. Be sure to select the Strength Training plan that corresponds with the level of your cycling plan (Novice/Intermediate or Advanced).

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Plan Price: FREE


Note: These plans are designed to be used with The Sufferfest Training System. You will need to download and install The Sufferfest for iOS, macOS or Windows to access the workouts associated with these plans. To get started:

  1. Go to and download the app for your device.
  2. Create your account to start your free 7-day trial.
  3. Use promo code SURGE30 to get 30 days free or $12.99 off your annual subscription.

For questions about The Sufferfest please email

Sample Week of Training

Below is a week of training from this plan which represents the type of workouts you will be doing.

Bike - The Tool Shed

Four Dimensional Power Focus:
- NM: ✭✭✭✩✩
- AC: ✭✭✭✭✩
- MAP: ✭✭✭✭✭
- FTP: ✭✭✭✭✩

*Because you're not the sharpest tool in the shed.* Simply put, this is a session for those looking to see how deep they can truly dig - or for those who think they might need to update their 4DP metrics (If you finish this session with minimal swearing and without stopping it's time to re-test). You might be looking at the profile and say to yourself, ""Only doing the 2nd set from the Shovel sounds like cheating. You would be right. That's why we would never do something as crazy as letting you start the 2nd set from The Shovel Fresh. Instead, you get to be the Nail for the first 3 efforts from Nine Hammers. Once you've done that and wrapped up that second set from the Shovel, all that stands between you and that massive pit of exhaustion and GLORY are 2 more Hammers. Did we mention they were Hammers 8 and 9? No? Good, good. Forget we said anything. Just pretend you have 3 Hammers and 1 Shovel to contend with. Those last 2 hammers are ""Future You's"" problem - let that chump deal with that nightmare. When looking at ""will this make me faster"" the answer is YES (and, at least in the short term, quite miserable). The Shovel packs a massive AC punch, with inverse-micro intervals that dish out ever higher the power the shorter the interval. While 9 Hammers packs a huge MAP/FTP punch, it also helps drive up your sustained power regardless of what your rider type or weakness are. Facing the first 3 Hammers gives your Aerobic (MAP/FTP) system a hefty load to deal with, and will just about fully deplete your AC stores. Which makes this the perfect time to start the 2nd set from the Shovel. With depleted reserves, starting with the short 5 second sprints ensure you are just fresh enough to push your NM system, but fatigued enough that your AC never fully recovers for the duration of these intervals. With your AC depleted, heart rate pegged and breathing rate through the roof, the last thing you WANT is the final 2 Hammers. This isn't about what you want though, but what you need. By the time you start this set of Hammers your top end power will be feeling completely drained, any ""snap"" you might usually rely on to make it through these 3-4 minute efforts will be long gone. That means you are facing down the final 2 Hammers relying solely on your MAP and FTP. The higher your FTP the faster you will recover, the higher your MAP the greater the punishment you can handle. Once you pick yourself up off the floor from Hammers 8 and 9, you will have pushed your body to its absolute limits across almost every 4DP Metric, which will send you down the path to be a faster and more badass Sufferlandrian. "

Planned: 1:02:00

Cross Training - Breathing To CRUSH THEM

Level: ✭✩✩

Perhaps the only people more Badass than Sufferlandrians are Navy Seals. And this is the breathing exercise that Navy Seals do to calm down and focus themselves before major operations. Learn and use this technique before heading into your own major events and races.

Planned: 3:00

Other - MTP - Focus Exercise

STRONG FOCUS: Quick pre-workout exercise to improve your ability to focus and help you get the most out of your training sessions.

Planned: 5:00

Bike - Cadence Builds **After Strength**

Four Dimensional Power Focus:
NM: ✭✭✭✭✭
AC: ✭✩✩✩✩
MAP: ✭✩✩✩✩
FTP: ✭✩✩✩✩

One of the best sessions there is for neuromuscular training and a regular session in The Sufferfest Training Plans, this drill asks you to progressively build from a cadence of 90 RPM to your MAX over 30 seconds, recover and repeat several times. Cadence builds improve the way you recruit your leg, glute and core muscles throughout your pedal stroke by progressing to your maximal cadence. By reaching your highest cadence possible, you are training the 'on/off' switch in each muscle group to not only work faster, but have less overlap with your other muscle groups. You're training your hamstring muscles to 'turn off' when your quads 'turn on' and vice-versa to achieve a more efficient pedal stroke.

NOTE: As a drill session, this video does not have music or a storyline like 'normal' Sufferfest videos. Just fire up a playlist on your favourite music app and you're away!

Planned: 1:00:00

Cross Training - Yoga: Mobilize and Activate I

Level: ✭✭✩

This routine is designed to loosen up the entire body and take you out of your habitual movement patterns. We flow through a series of standing yoga poses to simultaneously challenge your strength, flexibility and range of motion. Modification: If you find Triangle pose difficult, you can rest your hand on a block for support

Planned: 15:00

Bike - Defender

Four Dimensional Power Focus:
- NM: ✭✩✩✩✩
- AC: ✭✩✩✩✩
- MAP: ✭✭✩✩✩
- FTP: ✭✭✭✭✭

You've got the leader's jersey, but then disaster strikes: A crash, an injury and you're forced to defend your position until the end of the race. Can you hang on under a barrage of attacks? Based around four, ten-minute efforts around threshold, Defender is designed to give you the most bang for your buck, or in this case, the most Watts at FTP for your Suffering. There are both psychological as well as physiological benefits to this tremendous workout. Mentally, Defender will improve your sense of pacing for longer efforts near FTP. That is because each effort starts out above FTP, and since you're fresh you'll feel as though you can hold that pace all day. Every two minutes, the pace gradually declines so you are finishing just below FTP. As the time ticks away, the power targets will drop little by little, but your discomfort will remain about the same. By the fourth effort, you'll be find the same efforts far more difficult than in the first. Bystaying tuned-in to what your body is telling you, you'll learn more about how to manage your efforts around threshold and why it's so important to manage your efforts well at this intensity. The physiological benefits follow the same lines as those found in Who Dares, or Fight Club. Overloading your legs and lungs with efforts above FTP before settling into efforts right at or right below FTP forces your body to clear out as many metabolites as possible and process as much oxygen as it can. What sets Defender apart is how that overload is delivered. While Who Dares achieves this with short sprints, Defender forces you to spend minutes above FTP before simmering back down. This allows your heart rate and breathing rate to get much closer to what they are during a long steady state threshold effort. This ensures that "overload" comes in as a steady drip, rather than the sudden burst like that in Who Dares. The lower intensity of this overload also changes the types of metabolites produced and the ratios they occur in. Not only does this keep the enzymes in your body focused on aerobic metabolism, your body will also respond with fewer stress hormones. This means you're training your aerobic system by overloading it, but doing so in a way that leaves you more ready to hit tomorrow's training just as hard.

Planned: 59:00

Cross Training - Yoga: In Couchlandria: The Office

Level: ✭✩✩

If you're spending a lot of time sitting down in an office, stiffness, tension and soreness can creep into your body. That can affect your performance on the bike. This routine will counteract the damage done at the desk and ensure your body is ready to Suffer properly once you get on the bike.

Planned: 15:00

Bike - Standing Starts **Before Strength**

Four Dimensional Power Focus:
NM: ✭✭✭✭✭
AC: ✭✭✩✩✩
MAP: ✭✩✩✩✩
FTP: ✭✩✩✩✩

Standing starts closely simulate a lifting session on the bike because it requires the engagement of your core, upper and lower body. Standing starts will train your ability to generate force through the pedals by forcing you to recruit all of your musculature. No matter your prefered discipline, these efforts are key to teaching your body to recruit all of the muscle fibers in your legs. The saying "Use it or Lose it" actually does apply here. All of the benefit in this session comes from hitting these 20 seconds effort as hard as you possibly can. To do that, you need full recovery between each sprint, and you need to respect that recovery! These efforts should see you start at super low RPMs with very high torque, as the effort continues your cadence will naturally increase. Your goal is to get your cadence as high as possible by the end of each 20 second effort. To maximize your muscle recruitment you want to both push down and pull up on the pedals at the start. Proper core engagement is a must, your legs need a good strong backboard to push against. We understand that not everyone's trainer has the necessary resistance, or the required stability, to perform this workout as described. For stability issues you can get much of the same benefit by doing these efforts seated. If your trainer can't handle the rapid change in speed, or does not have high enough resistance at super a super low cadence then you can start the efforts are a higher cadence and simply treat them as "normal" all out sprints.

Coach Notes:
This is a session that can be done indoors or outdoors. If done outdoors, come to a slow roll in your largest Chain Ring and your 3rd or 4th smallest cog on your rear cassette. Complete the same set of 4 x 20sec maximal start efforts, with 6-8 minutes of easy spinning between.

Planned: 45:00

Bike - Fight Club **Reduced Intensity 95%**

Four Dimensional Power Focus:
NM: ✭✩✩✩✩
AC: ✭✭✭✭✩
MAP: ✭✭✭✩✩
FTP: ✭✭✭✭✩

The Fight Club is scrappy, messy and unpredictable. Like a real bike race, you're working hard to stay with the leaders while fending off attacks and doing your best to make the race by attacking as well. With significant time spent at power well above your threshold, this is a solid session to improve AC. The fact that all those surges take place during sustained efforts right around threshold makes this one of the most difficult (yet beneficial) workouts in the Sufferfest Library. Repeated surges followed by sustained riding near your threshold stress your body's ability to clear metabolites (like lactate) and your mental ability to "deal" with the extreme discomfort all those metabolites cause. You're going to come out of this one a bit battered, but a lot stronger for it.

Planned: 59:00

Bike - Hell Hath No Fury **Reduced Intensity 85%**

Four Dimensional Power Focus:
NM: ✭✩✩✩✩
AC: ✭✩✩✩✩
MAP: ✭✭✩✩✩
FTP: ✭✭✭✭✭

This takes one of the oldest FTP building workouts, the 2 x 20, and makes it exciting! Forcing your body to churn out power right below, at and just above threshold for 20 minutes at a time dramatically improves your ability to generate sustainable power. It's great for building that FTP (unless you have an unusually low which case you're going to struggle!) By itself, the 5 minute effort at the end would not be much to deal with, but after churning out threshold power for 40 minutes, hitting this 5 min effort at 100% will ensure you stress your MAP enough to give this session a slight edge on other "FTP Builder" workouts.

Planned: 1:04:00

Bike - Endurance +

5 minutes @ RPE 2 -- 45% of FTP -- HR <70%

Main Effort
Number of Sets
Rest Between Sets
Interval Repeats per Set
1 Interval Steady: 3 hours 10 minutes @ RPE 3.5 -- 55-65% of FTP -- HR <85%

Extra Volume

Cool Down
2 minutes @ RPE 2 -- 45% of FTP -- HR <70%

Coach Notes:
Steady Endurance/Base ride. Power should remain between 55-70% of FTP the entire time. Aim to keep between 75-85% of LTHR This is a ride that can be out doors OR indoors If done inside, you can play OPEN 60/OPEN 30 and adjust the intensity to 64-81% Another option is to select any Video of a similar length, ignore the power targets (meaning running slope mode for those with smart trainers) holding power between 55-70% of FTP and only following the Cadence and Stand/Sit prompts in the video

Planned: 3:15:00

Plan Price: FREE