The Sufferfest wants to train your brain

New mental training program released in app

The Sufferfest started as a series of training videos to make riding indoors a bit less monotonous. Since then, the brand has evolved from being a set of sadistically hard interval workouts, overlayed with officially licensed UCI race footage, to training and nutrition plans, cycling specific yoga, and even some running and triathlon training for the tri-curious among us — all housed in the recently launched Sufferfest app.

Now, David McQuillen and his minions have expanded their training program to your mind, with the newly launched Mental Training Programme.

“What we were really trying to do is to make the most successful cyclists and triathletes as possible and we started thinking about what else do these athletes need besides cycling workouts or running workouts, and that's when we added our yoga for cycling series, which has been really well received," McQuillen said.

The 'workouts' are available through the app and can be streamed or downloaded on your device
The 'workouts' are available through the app and can be streamed or downloaded on your device

“We thought, what else can we start to offer to cyclists and triathletes to help them become better athletes. Not just one set of exercises like cycling training videos but stuff that made them a lot more well rounded and a lot more successful,” he continued.

The Sufferfest has long been working with Neil Henderson from APEX Coaching, whose clients include the likes of pro cyclists Rohan Dennis and Evelyn Stevens, and has now brought in the sports psychologists from Lifesparq. This team of psychologists has helped The Sufferfest identify the mental tools elite athletes use so that they can be distilled into a digestible format for the everyday athlete.

“We realised that while these tools are used by elite athletes, 99 percent of everyday athletes like you and I, we never do anything to try and improve our mental game," McQuillen said. "The most recent example was with Tom Dumoulin who is saying that he hasn't changed anything about his training to become a better climber, and he hasn’t lost weight, he just changed the way he thought about himself. It's stories like that that show how important mental training is to an athlete.”

Each workout consists of a voiceover and text cues
Each workout consists of a voiceover and text cues

“We are trying to offer the most complete training system possible to cyclists and triathletes that gives them everything, from their sport-specific exercises, to yoga and mental training. We've got training plans and we even have a nutrition guide within the app, and we’ll be adding more,” he continued.

The new Mental Training Programme consists of 20 modules over ten weeks ranging in length from five to about 20 minutes, and like the videos, can either be streamed or cached on your device for offline use.

You’re guided through each 'workout' by a voiceover supported by textual cues in the app, as well as a downloadable PDF workbook and of course a healthy dose of the Sufferlandrian sense of humour.

“You know we don’t want to be too serious. These are serious exercises but that doesn't mean we can’t have fun with it. In the end, we are doing these sports to enjoy them and we all want to get better and have fun,” he laughed.

There is also a downloadable PDF workbook
There is also a downloadable PDF workbook

To support the Mental Training Programme, the latest version of the app has a new Achievements feature, which allows athletes to compete in challenges, earn badges, track their progress, and review their all-time best performances. McQuillen also alluded to a new Strength training program, which will be released to the app later this year.

The Mental Training Programme is available now in The Sufferfest app, which is available for iOS, Android, Mac and Windows. A subscription costs $10 a month and gives you access to the entire Sufferfest catalogue of videos, training plans and supporting documentation. There is also a seven-day free trial available.

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