HHNF is my favourite workout in the whole SUF system. I really like the way it gives you the classic 2x20 but with some added spice that, for me at least, keeps things interesting.
Don’t get me wrong, it’s not easy, it’s never easy, but the beauty of SUF is how it gets you doing things you don’t think are possible.
I find a good way of approaching it is not focussing on the fact that it’s a 20 minute effort. Trust that the system knows your capabilities and will push you to where you can go but not beyond (all else being equal of course. Like all the tough sessions you still need your A game). Look at the 2 long efforts as a set up intervals, but whilst the ‘recoveries’ are not easy, the intervals themselves are not sky high. They’re MAP based, but they’re not all out NM/AC intervals.
I tend to look only to the end of the next <20min section. So in the first effort look to only the 3rd MAP spike. Then, consider the next 4 mins as a ‘breather’ and then concentrated on the sliightly higher FTP-based 2-ish minutes. Have faith that whilst even that 2mins might seem tough the effort will reduce again, and SUF knows what you’re capable of.
I’ve often said that I see SUF’s real genius is how it knows your capacity for effort AND THEN RECOVERY. Many many times I’ve just about finished an interval thinking that there’s no way I can do another, but the recovery is just right and maybe even seconds before the next interval I’m ready again. But you have to trust it. Everything is a mind game with these things. This applies just as well in a longer effort like the HHNF 20-mins.
I’ve set my 20min all time power record on HHNF. It was still in ERG mode but I was approaching a needed 4DF test so I cranked up the power targets a bit. I was absolutely hanging by the end of the first 20mins but that record still stands even now. I now use HHNF (and, 9H, obvs) as way of gauging where I am and how far off a new test I am.
I’ve no idea if that helps. We all have our own coping mechanisms. My rider type is Time Triallist, maybe I just love the long burn too much and you’ll be reading this thinking I’m odd in the head. But we all are really.
Oh, and one final note. Again as I’ve mentioned before elsewhere, the last 3 minute TTT effort in HHNF is brilliant. I love it. The music is superb, the video is great, the team are awesome. It’s worth pushing yourself through the prior 40 minutes of misery just to get yourself to that. It doesn’t matter what state I’m in after those 40 minutes, if I finish them I will ALWAYS manage the TTT. My favourite three minutes in the whole of SUF (except for the 9H cool-down. Don’t tell Grunter.)
That all said, how has training been? Are you fatigued? Have you had a drop off in training / do you need a retest that may give lower targets? Despite what I aid above nevrer discount the idea that perhaps the system is working off levels that aren’t realistic?