Training plan 3:1 or 2:1 on the new easier Systm

@leebo – From a fundamental perspective 3:1 plans are for advanced athletes. You are accumulating 3 weeks of pretty intense training stimulus before you unload during the recovery week. I would recommend beginner and intermediate athletes proceed with a 2:1 plan, which provides a recovery week more often. Remember, it is Not At All about Maximal Strain – which will inevitably lead to excessive fatigue, potential sickness, and/or risk of injury. Instead, what You Should Aim For Is Consistent Training, Quality Metabolic Stimulus, Focus on Proper Form and Technique for Efficiency and Injury Prevention, and Sufficient Recovery. Nail those things and I would bet the house that you will see consistent improvements.


@Calvin_Crawford @FatSprinter @Peteski @leebo – The days of thinking about difficulty or how challenging or ‘hard’ a plan is in regard to volume and hours are the days of the past. This is an outdated perspective.

Check out, “By The Numbers: Ian Boswell’s Unbound Win” and especially pay attention to the last section that is titled, “Training and Preparation”. This begins to unfold the power of 4DP Training.

Then for a detailed understand of the intent behind 4DP Training, go on and read, “The Secret to Better Fitness is Training Consistency”.

Consistency is key.


I think that one of the points of interest for me at least is how to use the 2:1 versus 3:1 against what we think we are capable of coping with AND what else is going on in our lives, something the pros have less of (or at least it is different for them. Those media appointments dont deal with themselves).

For instance, I think that in general I can handle 3:1, but I need that 1 to be a good rest. That said and done, 2:1 probably fits better with work/family/etc. It’s balancing all of these things that is important. Since 3:1 isn’t the same as 2:1+another-hard-1-before-the-recovery-1 it isn’t immediately obvious which is most suited (for me). Interesting topic, and no better way of finding out that sucking and seeing.


@WahooCoach_Corey Agree with the volume bit and love the new plans, even though I was sceptical to begin with.

I am a recent convert to Sufferfest/Systm and only started Jan 2021. In 2x12 week blocks my ftp increased 25% even though I wasn’t unfit before the start.

First 12 week was General Road “Advanced” and the second was an “Intermediate”. I know I should have chosen other way round, but when I was young(er) I was so used to training on 3:1. And on old Sufferfest, you could only choose Novice, Intermediate or Advanced and couldn’t change the volume. I read Advanced was 3:1 and Intermediate 2:1.

I’m convinced the new stuff will work even better. I’m also fired up to see what I can do on a 2:1 high Volume plan. I found old Sufferfest “Advanced” to be super hard, but I made huge gains, but it was tough. I barely missed a session.

I found the “Intermediate” perhaps not stimulating enough and although I made gains, not quite as much as expected (although I presume there is the law of diminishing returns?) I wonder if the 2:1 will have more gains over 2 back to back sessions (with a week or so rest in between).

So I think the 2:1 high volume fits perfectly for me with 2:1 and more volume and rest, although everyone is different and must assess how it goes for them. I think the more frequent “easier” weeks will be of real benefit, but only time will tell. I’m quite enjoying being a guinea pig/test subject. I can certainly see how the 2:1 promotes consistency. I’m sure all the coaches will be looking at the data with great interest.

From an insider point of view, what is the difference between the TSS/IF for a 3:1 and 2:1 High Volume sessions? What is the total TSS/IF, I’m just curious to know. I’m certainly sticking to my plan to see how it goes, but that is just pure curiosity.

I will certainly check out the blogs, thank you.

@leebo Good luck with the plan, let the experiment begin.

One extra thing, Whilst I don’t do the Systm Yoga, I think strength and some form of yoga/stretching/strength is a must especially the older you get. I’m have my own hybrid yoga/stretch routine at least twice a day and couldn’t do the training without it.

Thank you for sharing your advice and insights.


For me, too. For an Attacker with a Sustained weakness, doing the high volume version of the Mountain Gran Fondo plan on 2:1 seems to be working

One thing though, the first week of the 2 seems to be more intense than the second. It’s like it’s 2.5:1.5:1 (maybe not quite to scale)

Anyone else found the same?

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What surprises me is how similar the overall workloads are between equivalent 3:1 and 2:1 plans. I thought the 2:1 would have less load overall, but it just appears to spread the same load more evenly across the plan i.e. more frequent recovery weeks, but actually more intense weeks in between and slightly more work in the recovery weeks. That’s how it looks from @FatSprinter’s analysis anyway.


To return to this thread, I’ve been looking again at moderate vs high volume, 2:1 vs 3:1.
It’s a multisport plan I’m looking at.

Something I noticed is that the high volume versions appear to have less “SUF” workouts in them, preferring more endurance (/inspiration) and no vid rides. As an example, the high volume version of the plan I’m looking at includes, over 12 weeks:

defender, thin air, violator, the shovel & cobbler. That’s it, over 12 weeks.

The moderate volume version of the same plan includes:

omnium, 14 vise grips, nine hammers, the trick, violator, the bat, the shovel, the tool shed & cobbler.

So not perfect overlap but close, and certainly more SUF action. Personally I find the inspiration videos to be not my cup of tea.

Since the running and swimming don’t use System, the inspiration/endurance rides hardly use very much (an external film and a bit of up and down on the power targets) and cadence builds are useful but dull, a high volume plan will leave me hardly using Sufferfest for 3 months (and, in fact, I’m looking at a 12week season prep followed by 12 week race prep, so make that 6 months).

Kinda sad.

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You can of course replace inspiration and No Vid rides with something Suf but bear in mind that high volume is not supposed to be high intensity.

I suppose the reason that there are not so many Suf videos in the high volume plan is to increase saddle time but limit intensity burnout.

If you want more Suf vids I’d say choose the moderate volume but understand that it won’t equal more saddle time.

Depends on exactly what you want to get out of your plan.


Yeah it’s perhaps understandable that going to the higher volume drops some of the higher intensity in favour of more volume. It’s just a shame to see it them go. 6 SUF workouts (plus a Sir Cotty special) in 12 weeks is surprising.
The conclusion I came to is the same as you suggested - to go moderate volume. Adding in an endurance ride if time and freshness allows is easier than trying to shift round an already high volume plan.

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My understanding was that “birth” of (or, at least a driver to) the inspiration rides was a number of people disliking reduced intensity Suf rides as part of the plan.

So they came up with a lower intensity alternative (which I happen to enjoy). I understand that it’s not to everyone’s taste.

I have noticed, since the plans have developed, that @Coach.Neal.H and the other coaches have made it clear that the science behind the plans has moved on from “flogging yourself every chance you get” to a “flog yourself at judicious times to get the most benefit”.

This inevitably leads to a reduction in high intensity Suf videos within the frame of a given plan.

In any case, enjoy yourself because that’s the most important part, IMO :grinning:


Absolutely right.

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I figure being multisport, you won’t get as many on the high volume anyway. I’m doing road high volume and my plan adds to yours AVDP, Revolver, 9 Hammers, The Chores and attacker (some more than once)

Yeah, definitely fewer as it has to make room for some paddling around too. I did the the all purpose road earlier in the year and it was a nice mix of stuff - great program.
I’m working out how to balance things in the multi-sport as there’s a much heavier weight on the swimming than I want.

I’m definitely in the camp of You decide how to do your plan, or that the plan is framework for you.

Of course the plan will work as is but if you want less swimming and more running (for example), do that (but be careful of overreaching, overtraining or injury).

Move workouts around, hit that one a bit harder, drop some others. Just try to follow the general plan (otherwise there isn’t much point of having a plan).


Agreed. To paraphrase the python lot, yes, we are all different!

I’m not :grinning:

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Keep the Faith. Or try to. I’ve done one 2:1 block and onto the second. Yesterday I did “Ignitor” (love the music to get you going with it) followed by AVDP. And… I’m alive. I expected it to be harder and whilst it was hard, it was doable and finishable. I did almot think about turning it up a few percent, but thought, no, there is a reason to this. Stick to the plan and keep the faith.

I have across the mountains today (easy ride) and tomorrow is the Shovel :hot_face: then Friday "Getting Away with it which is FTP, Saturday 2 1/2, Sunday ISLTH (mash-up).

Next week is Monday Easy, Tues MAP, Wed FTP, Thurs Revolver, Friday who Dares with endurance of 3 hours Sat, Cobbler+ 2nd FTP session Sunday, before the rest week.

Pretty intense, but from my sessions yesterday I think I will be able to complete them all and that is the point. It will be a huge block of consistent hard training, training the different areas of fitness.

Whereas before I really had to psyche myself up for a session and be 100%, now I’m less likely to procrastinate and I just get on with it. I think that is the point. Hopefully this 2 week block will bring gainz. I’ll be having a half monty at the end of it.

I have been tempted to add an extra shot here and there and also turn up the difficulty in session, but resisted so far. When the sessions get “easy”, they say you are ready for a new 4DP.


I think most plans do a HM every 6 weeks to provide a less taxing update and a FM every 12. But to paraphrase @titanicus, you set the rules!

Hahaha, funnily enough I have only done full Montys. A friend I used to race with (he still is racing) only ever does the full and when I got to my first “Half Monty”, I thought what the hell and did a Full. 7.1 % gain at half point and by the end FTP was up another 7.8%. I reckon the easier Systm setting means it will be easier fitting in an FM. I also think the FM I did to start this session was not 100% in reflection.

I vaguely remember someone posting about 4DP and doing it at 90/95% and treating it as a training session so you get used to pacing it for when it is done proper.

Full Frontal?