Comparison of Methodologies

The “dominant” market training strategies are Joe Freil’s Cyclist/Triathletes “Training Bible” and 80/20 Endurance. There are many articles inside The Sufferfest about their methodologies, but can you provide sort of an explanation and comparison of the differences between The Sufferfest’s approach to training, Training Bible, an 80/20 Endurance? I am most interested in the triathlon perspective, but also the single sport.


To be honest, they’re all pretty similar, in that they mix up a variety of high intensity and low intensity training.

We must bare in mind that SUF is GENERALLY aimed at those who aren’t putting in 10-20+ hours per week, and it has been shown that to get the best results then it’s better doing a little more high intensity stuff.

If you are riding 20 hours a week then lots of longer stuff to build a very solid aerobic base can help, but if you aren’t riding lots and lots of hours then your time is better served doing high intensity stuff, because it builds both endurance as well as VO2 max and anaerobic capacity.


Interesting subject. :slight_smile:

Regarding the point about the best results coming from higher intensity for time-crunched athletes, there are plenty of polarized training studies and advocates (including Stephen Seiler himself) claiming that polarized training scales down to 4-6 hrs per week just fine.

I frequently refer back to these two articles, which probably describe the SUF approach well.

Still, I’d like to hear how the SUF Science team would generally describe the approach they’ve taken in designing the SUF training plans. Is it polarized or a variation of it?


Great Topic. There are many similarities methodologies that you will see out there, high intensity, low volume, and visa versa. Which one is best? The answer is, it depends. And beyond that what does “High Intensity” look like? The demands are different for each sport. For a 140.6 you need to be able to go long and will likely have very few AC demands. And for crit’s you will need to be able to go deep in AC and MAP but be able to recover quickly but only for an hour or so.
The real difference is how you put the puzzle together based upon where your strengths lie now and what the demands of your event/goal may be. Just as Ross mentioned, the time available has a huge impact on the type of training that will help you the most. There are many ways to create effective adaptations to our training. For many, simply doing a structured plan will generate a positive effect. Especially if you have not been following one. And while this will likely be effective it is almost certainly not optimal. As you begin to bring in limitations on your training we begin to narrow the options.

The first part of this equation is to assess where you are, then look at where you need/want to be and map a route to get there. Then you have to look at the time you have available and resources. You also have to look at the demands of your event and make sure you match your training to get there. If you are “time crunched” and you are only doing weekend crit’s, chances are you will be fine doing a high intensity, low volume program. But if you are planning for a 140.6 and limited to less than 10-12 hrs a week you will have to change your training plan drastically.

The SUF science team places an emphasis on quality training. Not to be confused with strictly high intensity training. Sometimes quality training is quality recovery, or neuromuscular training. Our training plans are currently based on rider weakness and strength plus time available and event demand. There is certainly variation among each plan based on rider level and time available. Matching up your needs and time may be the first decision that you need to make.


Super reply. I was going to ask my own question about Suf plans through the year but I’ll start a new thread rather than hijack this one!

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Not trying to contradict @Coach.Jeff.H when he says “it depends,” but I think there are some additional tenets to the sufferfest methodologies, that i think run pretty consistently thruogh the plans. These are more like “philosophies” rather than specific rules or approaches. But they are:

  1. Performance at intensities above FTP can be what make or break your race. In other words, don’t just focus on FTP to the exclusion of all else.

  2. Everything that improves your capacity is “base”. People are like, you gotta do long low intensity to build your base, but you my friends are one whole organism and you can train yourself that way rather than just as a collection of systems. so like, short sprints with long easy pedaling in between, that builds your base. MAP intervals, that builds your base too. Anaerobic capacity with easy riding in between plus some extra volume in zone 2 at the end, also builds your base.

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