Monday, 28 November 2011

Hell Hath No Fury - possibly the best training video ever

It is not everyday that you can get excited about turbo training.  But when I heard that the Sufferfest had released a new training video – Hell Hath No Fury - which featured the UCI Women’s World Cup I was excited. 

I first started turbo training two years ago when I had signed up for La Marmotte, which is a gruelling French sportive.  Key to success is being able to put in miles over winter, and when you live in Northern Europe darkness, snow and ice can make this difficult. So we turn to the dreaded turbo. At first I managed to get in some fairly good session using self-selected tracks and mimicking spin classes. But then I heard about the Sufferfest and downloaded The Fight Club – which simply revolutionises turbo training.  Based on this I then download a couple more videos to vary my training (Revolver and Downward Spiral).

As a woman, to hear about a new video featuring entirely professional women’s cycling I was intrigued.  David had tweeted for female bloggers to get in touch. So I did and was offered a free download in return for unbiased review.  What I didn’t appreciate was just how brilliant this new video is and that Sufferfest had taken the concept of training one step further.  In this workout you are part of the story. You are on the National Sufferlandrian team and you have a four stage professional race in the bid for the UCI World Cup.  Oh, and you are not a sprinter so you are going to have to work your butt off to gain time.

There clear instructions on what to expect and how much effort is required for each interval based on perceived effort on a scale of 1 to 10.  Sounds are also used to alert you to a change in pace….and the dreaded attacks.  This is all interspersed with the trademark taunts and motivational messages.  I download the videos onto my iPhone, and using an iPhone mount on my handlebars I listen to the tracks through headphones. This works well for me as I like to be fully absorbed in the music.  All of these features are found in the Sufferfest videos so let’s get back to Hell Hath No Fury.

Right from the start you really feel like you are involved in a stage race as the story is built up. The warm up sets the scene as team Sufferlandria gets warmed up for the first race. Stage 1 ups the anti but nothing too difficult so after a short rest it’s suffer time….and man can those women throw down the gauntlet.  I was wondering how I would last doing a 20 minute session – not out from fatigue but out of boredom. There is no chance of boredom as you are racing. There are constant changes in pace, attacks, climbs, uphill sprint finishes and the most amazing climb with a great soundtrack. Makes you want to be there for real!  But it is tough and you will be begging for it to end….so you can get a 7 minute recovery before the next 20 minute race.  Stage 3 feels harder again.  But there is still the team time trial to come.  The 3:30 that will finish you off once and for all.

The music really seems to fit the terrain and I felt completely caught up in the excitement and part of being on the National Team.  There is also a mental visualisation exercise at the end for the cool down.  I thought this was a nice touch and it helps you focus on the reason for your training.

I was already a big fan of the Sufferfest videos. They really take the mental torture out of turbo training and ensure that you get a well structured workout.  So I was already expecting good things of Hell Hath No Fury. But I was pleasantly surprised at how this workout was even better due to the story line and just how tough it was.  And the icing on the cake is to see women’s professional cycling showcased. 10/10.


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