From Triathlete.com – 3 Ways To Become A Better Cyclist

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Great article that I summarize with one word – Sufferfest at http://www.sufferfest.com


Confirmation of my theory: Training Troubleshoots With Sebastian Kienle

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This is exactly what I am trying to do for my bike workouts. Sufferfest Nine Hammers and my local “Nine Hills” match the recommendations here at Triathlete.com.  I am also keeping up with a weight-lifting routine that I like and is showing improvements


I like the associated swim workout for something new to replace my “drills and kicks” workout.

For the run, I really do need to some bricks. I havent done any all year.

Big Training Block using a different theory

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Coming off the Tour of Sufferlandria and seeing spring kind-of in the air already, I am pushing into a big training block for the month of March that will add intensity intervals and some weight training into the mix.

In the last two months,  I read Matt Fitzgerald’s “Racing Weight,” and I am currently about a third through Matt Dixon’s “Well Built Triathlete.” These books got me thinking that I need to change up my “more is better” training focus on volume and build in some intensity. That requires a nice balancing act in planning and execution.

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The book reading is nice, but I also have some recent, specific experiences telling me to add intensity to my routines.

I am not training for a specific race right now, and I found the intensity levels of the Tour of Sufferlandria to have a huge effect on my running. Then, a friend posted the ladder workout for swimming on our Snake River Tri Club facebook page, and I really liked that for the change of pace (literally) and the mix-up of lengths to keep it mentally interesting.  I am also realizing that I really should keep lifting weights all-year round.  Finally, a switch to yogurt/berry smoothies for breakfast and basic oatmeal with pure cane sugar for snacks has me finally seeing some progress in losing body-fat as shown on our Aria scale.

Thus, my new training philosophy will be to have a long/easy, moderate, and short/high-intensity interval workout for swim, bike and run each week. I will add in a really easy 1.5 mile run to and from (3 miles round trip) the gym to get in weight training, too. Interestingly, that easy run to/from the gym creates the extra runs I needed to get in line with the BarryP run program on Slowtwitch that I like to refer others to when determining a run training program.

So what does this training plan look like?



The above training calendar from Sporttracks.mobi shows three identical weeks of the following workouts as a building block focused on an undetermined 70.3 triathlon in a few months.

Monday morning: Swim moderate

Monday lunch: Easy run to/from gym to lift weights (very simple routine takes 20 minutes).

Tuesday morning: Sufferfest Nine Hammers, which I think for me is definitely the best way to make gains on the bike.

Tuesday lunch: Tempo run for 10k. This is a relatively hard run on mostly trashed legs from the Sufferfest video in the morning.

Wednesday morning: Sufferfest Local Hero (or other one hour vid like The Hunted followed by Long Scream) to get a good 90-minute threshold with high intensity intervals workout on the bike.

Wednesday lunch: Swim 2,000 for intensity. This will be the 1,600 ladder. 

Thursday morning: Jog to gym and back (about two miles round trip) for quick lift routine.

Thursday lunch: High intensity running local hills.

Friday morning: Jog to gym and back to lift, again…two days in a row….or take a break.

Friday lunch: Long swim of 3,000 yards straight. I like 3,000yds straight because it sets me up to be fresh and ready to go after a 2,000 yard / 1.2 mile swim during a race.

Saturday morning: Sufferfest ISLAGIATT or Blender for a long bike.

Sunday morning: Very easy 9 miler, building to 13.2 in third week.

This will create a lower volume for me in terms of miles, but I think I will make up for it in terms of overall intensity and consistency. I am excited about this plan, and that will drive my ability to actually do the workouts as scheduled. I might not hit the whole workout as scheduled, but I will definitely at least start it, which eliminates one my main psychological enemies of dropping a workout under the guise of “I need to recover more” or “I’m just too tired right now.”

Some of the expected results:

1. Higher overall power output on the same Sufferfest videos, showing an increase in lactate threshhold.

2. Faster times on the hills interval run segments that I have already established on Strava, improving strength and reminding me what pain really feels like so I can remember that during a race I really do have an extra level to attain.

3. Slightly faster times on the standard lunch 10k route that I have run many many times and usually get faster as spring turns into summer.

4. Weight drops to 180 on March 21, from 185 on March 2. That’s a lot for three weeks, but I think it will happen.

5. Body fast drops from 19.8ish to 18.2 on the Aria scale. Who knows how accurate this scale is, but it is consistent and I can use that to measure objectives. I don’t know if this is really doable or how it relates to the weight loss, but it is something to think about and will drive me to complete the training plan as I chase this goal.

This training plan is probably best for an Olympic distance triathlon rather than 70.3 because of the lack of bike and run volume, but it is what I will be doing to build to more distance at the newly gained and higher threshholds on the bike and run. My swim is what is, and that is where I want to be with it (28:00ish 1.2 mile). I need to get much better on the bike and extend my endurance on the run.

I will be reporting back at the end of each week. The great thing about Sporttracks is that it automatically tracks missed workouts, so I will be showing those graphics, too, in an attempt for accountability.

Sporttracks provides great charts for complete triathlon training loads. Strava and Garmin Connect don’t do this so well, so I am using Sporttracks now.

Below you can see a nice progression ladder in the training load for this three week block:




And below you can see how my performance stat goes from 283 on March 1 to 307 on March 25. That is objective improvement that I can feel good about.


End Tour Review: Tour of Sufferlandria 2015 (Sufferfest Videos)



This year’s tour was really great. I missed last year’s, but in 2013 the Tour was very much an individual thing. This year…so much more group interaction via Facebook. And it was more in terms of riding, too! Thanks to all who posted on FB; it was great to see all those.

This is one of the best in-depth training focus events you can do to improve your cycling!

A few of my thoughts on the tour:

  1. #damealissa and others and peace and comfort for their families.
  2. People suffering from Parkinson’s and the researchers working on help.
  3. Stage 8 gave me a completely new idea of sustainable pain on the bike. I wasn’t particularly interested and certainly not excited about the stage, but it proved to be the most difficult and the highlight of a great week of improvements. Will definitely do this stage again for the awesome physical and mental affects.
  4. Elements of Style has crept into my daily biking thoughts. When I remember the checklist, I get about 5 more watts with no additional effort.
  5. ISLAGIATT (Good Idea) is still my favorite Sufferfest video.
  6. Nine Hammers is a new second favorite. It will be impossible to not get faster if I do that video regularly. Nine Hammers bumps The Hunted to number three fave.
  7. The garmin vo2max for bicycling without a powermeter worked well for me. Glad I found that somewhere deep within the comments on trainerroad or sufferfest posts.

For fun, here was my race bib:

ToS 2015 Race Number 189 minion

Here are the overall cycling stats from the Tour from Garmin Connect. One of my biggest bike weeks….at 223 miles in nine days, in a long time, probably since July, and certainly one of the biggest on average over the past few years. Yes, I know my cadence is way low; it’s something I work on but don’t make much progress.


I use a Jawbone for the silent buzz alarm (keeps my wife happy!), and it also gives me sleep data. I average about 90 minutes of sound sleep on a regular basis. My prior record was 2hrs 46 mins of sound sleep. This week, I broke three hours of sound sleep..TWICE!


My Trainer Road TSS shot up incredibly from this Tour. It is usually a bit lower as I end up travelling a bit and mostly just run on those trips. I ran only three miles during this tour, instead of an average of 14-18 miles during winter months.


My sporttracks training load spiked a bit but is certainly not as much as what the Trainer Road TSS chart shows. This is why I moved to paying at Sporttracks only; it figures the training load of triathlon training the best. I continued swimming this week, with three swims, all in hot water (86 deg Fahrenheit).  Not sure that was good for me.



Weight change was minimal during the tour. I ate and drank whatever I wanted, which was still pretty healthy. I am in the midst of changing to fruit smoothies in the morning instead of processed cereal like SmartStart, and I think that might have made a difference.


I got a few new TrainerRoad records this week! That doesn’t happen often, and it is clearly the online community that provides the motivation for this.  I will probably beat the longer time frames sometime end of February when I do a three hour ride. New medals come very hard for me, and it is surprising to see these during a Tour when I am constantly thinking about keeping a bit in the tank for the next day(s).

Several finishers commented on feeling good the last stage. That was me, too! I got a new 30 and 60 minute medals out of the deal. Didn’t expect that; in fact, I double-checked my tire pressure and resistance at the one-hour mark.






Starting a Tour of Sufferlandria

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Why wait for the annual Tour of Sufferlandria?! You can do one any time of the year. I love it as a motivational factor to get some consistency in my bike schedule. Just riding every day for 12 Days means big gains for me. And it is fun….and the prospect of the videos gets me out of bed in the morning.

So this time I went with the 2013 schedule, although 2014 us out, scheduled for late January if you are interested.

I raced with the girls this morning I’m “Hell Hath No Fury.” Felt good. And I got some medals for 10, 15, 20, and 60 minute wattage I wasn’t expecting that!

I am doing this Tour with the pacing set at 100%, versus normal of 90% because I want to see if I can maintain the intensity level and the daily grind. I will also be doing my regular run and weight lifting ( while the pool is still broke).


Tour of Sufferflandria Second Time = DUN!!!

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Yeah! I finished the second tour! I want to do finish it with “Blender” tomorrow, but that just isn’t going to happen in the scheduling. I’m just glad I did all the videos on the original timeline (minus a Saturday miss but double-up on Sunday…I wasn’t sure I would recover from that!).

“Local Hero” went alright tonight. It was an anti-climatic finish like last time.  I finished hard, but not necessarily strong. But it was stronger than last time, I’m pretty sure.

Complete wrap-up coming later, including a review of a new Isagenix protein that I used this time…good stuff!


Tour of Sufferlandria: There Is No Try and Revolver

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Honestly, I lost track of what day I’m on. But I’m on track because I doubled up days yesterday. You think doubling up a Sufferfest workout is tough? Try doubling a day of the tour. I slept in this morning cuz I needed sleep/recovery. I didn’t run at lunch cuz I needed to do anything but give my legs a workout. Not so much that they were really tired (they were, though!), but because I knew that “Revolver” was on the docket tonight. Last time, it hurt me really bad. And I wanted that same effect this time.

I did “There Is No Try.” It wasn’t really painful. I remember the middle sets being very difficult last time. But not this time, and I’m running at 240 FTP instead of 230, with the tour workouts set at 90%…..anyway…that was a nice warmup to “Revolver,” which I had been looking forward to all day, hoping for a way out at the same time.

Revolver hurts because it is so simple. I suppose it’s like the Tabata workouts, although I have never done them, but I hear that they are max pain in minimum time. And they are basically the same setup. One minute on, one minute off. At rep #4, I knew the music on the video wasn’t going to cut it, so I looked for something else during a break, which was MUCH SHORTER than normal, so I missed part of the next rep. I wanted Tesla “Mechanical Resonance,” specifically “Little Susie’s On The Up,”  but I guess it’s not on my computer. Quick check…not on my phone, either (how can that be?!??!!?!?).

So I settle for “Great Gonzos” from Ted, followed quickly by ACDC “Long Way To the Top,” which by the way has the most awesome bagpipes ever in a hard rock song….and it’s how I got my last two reps above 400 watts.

And I am now doing the races at night. These are longer vids at 1:20 – 1:30 for today’s two rides together, tomorrow’s Local Hero, and then 1:40 for Blender on the last day. I just can’t get up at 4:30am to do these workouts. Thus, do them at night when everyone’s asleep. My ability to get more intensity is significantly better.




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