Post #27: I am going there, and it may make only sense to me. First, I am going to start off with the statement, each rider is different, and each cyclist wants and pursues a different goal. So as I write this, I am writing from my needs and perspective. I am providing my opinions based upon my experiences.
It all started in the winter of 2017 around Thanksgiving. I bought a Elite Dirteo ERG trainer. I then searched for a training software that did not require a internet connection. I did not have internet service in my house till the pandemic. I needed a platform that could run without an internet connection. Sufferfest filled this requirement. I could down load up to 6 or 8 work outs at a time, and run them on demand later.
As time went on, I noticed that my efforts were intense and the race footage and music in the videos really did keep me engaged. I completed the longest sufferfest video called the Kitchen Sink, it is 2 hours and 59 minutes in length. I have to applaud Suffest for keeping my adult ADD (ADHD for others) in check. Over a 18 month window I went from an FTP of 223 to 283 at my peak.
Fall of 2019 I purchased a monthly subscription to Zwift. I got caught up in the Zwift game features. I was completing routes and group rides to earn level up points. I climbed Mount Du Zwift several times. And then I got burned out on the social and Strava aspect of Zwift. If you feel the Strava segments on Zwift are to be valued, I am sorry to say it is not so. Unlike Sufferfest, if I wanted to have an easier workout, I could say X % of the FTP. On Zwift, you need to reduce your weight. Which in short takes that FTP and your weight to figure out your speed. If your friends stalk Zwift like mine do, it makes for them getting upset when comparing times. That ended my time on Zwift.
The Zwift workouts I felt did not engage me enough. I was a avatar on a screen and getting passed by people when doing a recovery section in a interval workout, so then you go harder. I found Zwift to be okay, and all other social media drama unnecessary. A lot of my issues with Zwift are more to do with the company I keep. The bottom-line to any software in this field is to improve you. I think Zwift can do that, but not where I am at in my life.
I went back to Suffersfest after my tryst with Zwift. They release d a lot of recovery videos in my absences. I have found those to be really good. I can do a hard 30 to 45 minute work out and then do a recovery spin for 20 to 45 minutes. This lead me to Trainer Road, when I was looking for time compressed workouts.
I started Trainer Road, late last spring. Their work out plan selecting I find to be the best. I can narrow down to a generic plan, then flip throw workouts to give me the desired result for the day. I did not see this feature on the other platforms. Also the Train Now feature on Trainer Road, I felt was a better fit for me. Sometimes I am going hard all weekend, then Trainer Road sees this and suggests a work out based upon my off ERG rides. I am not aware of any other platform that does this.
Trainer Roads, biggest flaw is the lack of engagement I have with it. I am watching a graph on a screen. I am on a Mac laptop in the basement. I do not have another screen to play a video. I want to look at my screen. I have tried split screens, and well I can not tolerate the split attention.
Trainer Road and Sufferfest appear to have similar training philosophies and then diverge in the execution. Sufferfest lives up to the name. If you have a base level of fitness, this is a great platform to increase your FTP fast. Trainer Road, I think is a better platform for long term usage and training.
Here is my opinion on all three. Zwift, I will most likely never do again. the training was awkward, and clunky. It did not engage me in training, but had me gaming the platform. And for some that is good, for it was not. I do miss the Tuesday night races, and i felt those were a huge plus. If I do Zwift again, it will be for that.
Sufferfest, I recommend for anyone who wants to get their fitness level up fast and in a hurry. If you have less than 6 months, this is your platform. Their Yoga and Strength videos are a huge plus. I enjoy the videos and their graphs are relatively great. I do find value in their 4DP approach. They acknowledge my FTP has some correlation to my max power, but it is not the end all be all and it needs to be tested separately. Then their software targets it differently.
Trainer Road, I feel as of now can work on some formula to keep my attention better, and that is my issue. I think overall Trainer Road is the better platform for an overall structured approach. Their workout calendar is easiest to use. Their work structures are the easiest to work with. The basic program items they have gotten right and then tweaked them for a easier usage matter. That is what has separated them from the others for me. Even adding a race into your workout calendar, and having Trainer Road compensate the work outs around that as well.
Going forward I am going to mix Trainer Road and Sufferfest. I find value in both platforms. Trainer Road likes my interval recovery spins at 90W and Sufferfest likes them at 130W. You will find differences in their approach, but overall I would say they are very comparable. I know they will argue they are not. From my days of high school wrestling it is like calling it a cool down stretch or calling it yoga.