Understanding Outdoor Cycling Workouts in Your SUF Training Plan

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As much as The Minions hate to hear us say it, sometimes you have to step out of the uncomfy confines of your pain cave and get in some good old-fashioned outdoor training. Many of The Sufferfest training plans incorporate outdoor workouts on the weekends, allowing you to work on your tan and still get a structured training session. The key to having a successful outdoor workout is understanding how to decode and read the descriptions. When you click on a given outdoor workout in your Calendar in The Sufferfest app you'll see a detailed breakdown of the session:

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Each workout is broken up into 4 Parts:  

  1. Warm-Up
  2. Main Efforts
  3. Extra Volume
  4. Cool Down

Warm-Up

This describes the riding that should be done to get your legs and lungs ready for the efforts ahead. While much of a warm-up should be easier spinning, most warm-ups also include a series of harder efforts.  

Main Efforts

This is the “meat” of the workout. The main effort description will include:

  1. Number of Sets - The number of times you go through a full “set” of intervals.  Not all workouts contain multiple sets, and there will always be recovery between sets.
  2. Rest Between Sets - This describes the riding that should be done between completed Sets.  If a workout has only a single Set, then you will see “N/A” here.
  3. Interval Repeats per Set - The number of times you repeat an interval to complete 1 Set.  Some Sets contain a single Interval, while other Sets can contain more than 6.  
  4. Interval - This describes each segment that makes up an interval.  Sometimes there is a single segment for the interval, sometimes there are multiple segments for an interval.  To complete a single set, you simply repeat the Interval Segments

Here is what a description for Main Efforts might look like:

4 sets 
4 repeats per set 
30 sec @ RPE 8.5 -- 90% of MAP (105-130% of FTP) 
2 minutes 30 seconds @ RPE 7 -- 90% of FTP 

Rest Between Sets 
10 minutes @ RPE 2 -- 45% of FTP

If we translated that into non-coachspeak, that means you would do 30 seconds hard, 2-1/2  minutes just below your FTP, repeat that 3 more times, spin easy for 10 minutes, and repeat that sequence three more times. 

 

Extra Volume

This describes the riding that should be done after all sets are completed.  If a workout does not contain any Extra Volume, then you will see “N/A” here.

 

Cool Down

This describes the riding that should be done after all sets and extra volume (if applicable) are completed.  A proper cool down is a must, especially for some of the harder sessions. Do not neglect this part of the ride! 

 

Each section of the workout is divided into a number of segments of specific duration and intensity.  The description of each workout “segment” will include the following information:

  1. Duration
  2. Target RPE
  3. Target Power (expressed as a % of one of the 4DP metrics)
  4. Target Heart Rate (expressed as a % of your LTHR as determined by Full Frontal).

 

For example, a 20-minute long effort, with a target RPE of 2, target power at 45% of your FTP, and target Heart Rate that is less than 70% of your LTHR would be written as:

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

Any questions?  Contact the minions here!

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