Sufferfest Review – “The Machine”

I am a huge fan of the Sufferfest brand of training videos, their concise quality over quantity training sessions are something that really connect well with my own coaching philosophy! I even undertook their “Knighthood” challenge in March – something that was a good training day heading in to the season! Their 16 current videos average at around an hour long but are anywhere between 30minutes and the more endurance focused 2 hours. Having started as solely cycling videos, the minions have now got a duathlon/triathlon video “Chrysalis” and finally a run specific video “THE MACHINE”. I was incredibly fortunate to get a look at the video before it goes on general sale next week.

The reason I’ve included this in my #RunFormFriday

– It’s a proper training workout, which some people need a little direction with.

– The videos include technique cues so that you don’t run along aimlessly.

Turbo and run sessions can be incredibly boring; before and since doing my coaching qualifications (to this point!) I’ve done many various different options. Regardless of how technically good the session is, sitting/running on the spot for a session can just be soul destroying! However The Sufferfest crew make training on the spot interesting, you aren’t just watching people on turbos riding with you! The sessions have a storyline, race footage (which really makes you feel a part of the race rather than in your home) and vibrant music, cues and encouragement. The downside of being called the Sufferfest can discourage some, women especially. But with the sessions geared on an RPE scale (another plus in my view) and including female as well as male race footage, the videos couldn’t be more all inclusive.

The Sufferfest – The Machine

The first offering of solely running, the video could be put on your phone or tablet and rested on a treadmill in front of you. Using their tried and trusted RPE “suffer scale”, its quite handy to know roughly your target paces from marathon to 5k; this forms the basis of your workout.

RPE effort chart

As mentioned before, each video has a storyline. The Machine centres on the fact that you are the marathon champion of Sufferlandria, and on a world tour of some of the biggest marathons, pitted against the best of the rest. Unfortunately, you won’t be racing on a level playing field 😉 The magical Machine is designed to make the courses tougher just for you!

The Sufferfest bring the storyline to life with race footage around the world

As the video goes on, the story carries through it, and you continue to push harder. Because of the clear instructions on the screen, you don’t exactly forget the fatigue/pain you are in, but it certainly does help to distract you.

The instructions are clear and concise – and sometimes scarily like someone is watching over your shoulder, knowing that you are struggling! Here the command is clear: half marathon pace at 4% gradient. No-one said this would be easy! Actually the warm up is very light before the set descends into fast intervals, but always with good recovery. All this backs up the fact that the videos are written by proper coaches who understand what helps you to improve.

Running through the first interval and a half, I was wondering how the session was really going to test me – not because I’m a great runner or particularly fit right now at all! Then the hammer drops and the intensity kicks in. The 34minutes of running left me in a sweaty heap behind the treadmill – even after all the recovery elements and technique cues.

I genuinely can’t see many ways that this could be better for run training. By encouraging you to take proper rest intervals, it means your work intensity can be higher; something a lot of endurance athletes can learn. If you can translate this to running on the road pbs will fall! Having done most of the Sufferfest videos, I know that sometimes you can over cook your efforts, work too hard too early and not finish – just like any normal training session. But rather than running on your own, you have your video there to keep you company, and test you again another time.

You an check some more of the video right here.

Some neat facts:

The videos feature Officially Licensed footage from Diamond League Track & Field and prestigious marathons from around the world –
Workouts were designed by elite coach Neal Henderson of Apex Coaching. He also designed several of the most popular cycling workouts.
These videos will be released on 31st July 2014 at
The Machine will cost £6.47. The other two videos are Steamroller (45 minutes and £7.06) and Revolver (30 minutes and £5.88). They will be available as a bundle for £16.48 for a limited time. It’s a great deal and I cannot wait to get my hands on the other two!


(I Will Beat My Ass Today To Kick Yours Tomorrow)

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