The Sufferfest & Apex Coaching

2019 ToS Prep / Novice / 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 the results identified your Primary Weakness as VO2 Efforts.
* Are new to cycling or choosing their first structured training plan
* Have trained fewer than an average of 7 hours/week in the previous ~3 months
* Only have 3-6 hours/week they can dedicate to training over the course of the next ~3 months(including yoga and mental toughness)

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).

Not using The Sufferfest app? Try it free for 7 days:

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.

Other - MTP - 1st Month Review & Improve

REVIEW & IMPROVE: A look back at the past month to see what was done well and what could be better. Set a new goal for the month ahead and learn how to keep an eye on your 'fundamentals' (e.g., sleep, hydration, etc.).

Planned: 30:00

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

Bike - Violator **Do NOT Use ERG Mode** **Read Description**

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

If NM and AC got together to throw a party, this would be it. Violator is the perfect example of how the amount of recovery time between efforts dramatically changes the amount of training stress you get. Yes, there are 64 sprints, but they're not all doing the same thing for your fitness. The first set of sprints has enough recovery that you'll be able to work your NM to the max. The second set still has enough recovery to allow you to hit high power numbers, but the reduced time between sprints stresses your ability to recover and repeat that high effort. That means you'll start to dip into AC. The last set-with equal sprint and recovery times-ensures your heart rate never gets a chance to drop down. That works your MAP like nobody's business.

Coach Notes:
You should remain seated for all of these sprint efforts (and in the drops if that is where you spend most of your time during racing) This means you need to ignore the power targets, your only goal is to give a maximal seated effort each and every sprint. This means you will likely be under target power in the first set, and maybe over power targets in the final set, that does not matter. You are just looking to go all out 64 times!

Planned: 1:08:00

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

Cross Training - Yoga: Shake off the Day

Level: ✭✩✩

This gentle sequence is designed to loosen up tight muscles and encourage good postural habits. You can practice it in the morning to relieve stiffness or in the evening to wind down before bed. We finish with a short body scan meditation to calm your mind and release tension throughout the body. Modification: If you're unable to sit back on your heels in Child's pose, you can put a couple of cushions or a pillow between your calves and the backs of your thighs.

Planned: 15:00

Bike - Cadence Builds/Holds/Single Leg Drills **After Strength**

5 minutes @ RPE 2 -- 45% of FTP -- HR <70%
2 minutes @ RPE 3 -- 55% of FTP -- HR <75%
1 minute @ RPE 3.5 -- 65% of FTP -- HR <80%
1 minute @ RPE 5 -- 75% of FTP -- HR <85%
3 minutes @ RPE 3 -- 45% of FTP -- HR <70%

Main Effort
Number of Sets
Rest Between Sets
8 minutes @ RPE 2 -- 45% of FTP -- HR <70%
Interval Repeats per Set
Cadence Build: 30 seconds @ RPE 8 -- Starting at 90RPM Build to Max RPM -- Max Power is NOT Goal
Recovery: 1 minute @ RPE 2 -- 45% of FTP -- HR <70%
Cadence Hold: 45 seconds @ RPE 7.5 -- <100% FTP -- Highest RPM you can hold without Bouncing
Recovery: 1 minute @ RPE 2 -- 45% of FTP -- HR <70%
Single Leg: 1 minute @ RPE 6 -- Single Leg Only -- <50% of FTP
Recovery: 1 minute @ RPE 2 -- 45% of FTP -- HR <70%
Single Leg: 1 minute @ RPE 6 -- Single Leg Only, Opposite Leg -- <50% of FTP (100% of FTP with both legs = 50% of FTP with one leg)

Extra Volume

Cool Down
8 minutes 15 seconds @ RPE 2 -- 45% of FTP -- HR <70%

Planned: 55:00

Cross Training - Yoga: Hamstring & Calf Flexibility

Level: ✭✭✩

Cyclists are notorious for poor hamstring and calf flexibility. But these muscles can only be properly engaged when they're flexible. This series will increase your range of motion, boosting performance and helping avoid injury when you're really dishing out the Suffering.

Planned: 15:00

Bike - Butter

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

Smooth like butter. Grace under pressure. It's what we're focusing on in this session as you accumulate plenty of time at a high aerobic workload. A good warm-up leads you into two sets of five 90-second intervals with 3-minutes of "recovery" between each. Instead of full gas intervals followed by super low intensity recovery, these efforts are hard, but the real sting (and training benefit) comes from the incomplete recovery you face between intervals. These "recovery" efforts are at the upper end of Z2, meaning you still need quite a bit of oxygen to keep that power churning. By keeping the intervals themselves under your Maximal Aerobic Power (MAP) AND not allowing complete recovery, your body will burn through your Anaerobic Capacity (AC) before the end of each set, forcing your body to produce that power aerobically. Your body goes through that same transition near the 3-minute mark of the 5-minute test during Full Frontal, but with this session not only is it less painful, you end up with more total time in that aerobically dependent state. Endurance sports are all about churning through as much oxygen as possible, and few other workouts see you churning this hard and for this long.

Planned: 59:00

Cross Training - Breathing To CALM DOWN

Level: ✭✩✩

In 4-7-8 Breath your exhalations are twice as long as your exhalations. It is a therapeutic breathing technique that can help to reduce pain and calm your nervous system.

Planned: 3:00

Bike - ISLAGIATT **Reduced Intensity 80%**

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

This is your go-to session when you need to increase your endurance and add in some threshold work but only have two hours. By adding in multiple surges and short chunks of time above threshold, ISLAGIATT overloads your system with metabolic byproducts ('the nasties') which your body has to learn to clear out more efficiently. Combining such long interval durations with these hard surges not only forces your body to cope with the effort, but it pushes you harder mentally because after each surge the effort right at threshold "feels" harder than it should. With the final intervals focusing more on short, repeated efforts you'll stress your body's ability to recover when deeply fatigued, making this more than just an "endurance builder" workout, but one that will help you keep churning out power deep into the final kilometers of challenging rides or events.

Planned: 1:57:00

Plan Price: FREE