5-Week Gran Fondo Heart Rate Plan

Average Weekly Training Hours 06:55
Training Load By Week
Average Weekly Training Hours 06:55
Training Load By Week

A 5-week training programme to help you smash any 1-Day Gran Fondo. This programme is designed for people with 9 hours training time per week and who don't have access to a power meter but do have a heart rate monitor and cadence sensor. The programme includes: - Contact details of the coach who wrote the programme, so if you have any questions about the programme, you can get the answers you need! - An introduction to exactly what you will be working on and why, so you can make sense of what you are doing in each workout. - Instructions on how to complete a baseline Function Threshold Heart Rate Test which will be used to set specific intensities for every workout you complete. - Daily workout instructions written by a highly experienced cycling coach, who coaches riders of all ages and ability, from beginners to international standard athletes. - Specific warm up instruction guide to be used for each workout.

Sample Day 3
1:00:00
FTHR Test Session

Complete the FTHR Test session using the attached guide.

FUNCTIONAL THRESHOLD HEART RATE:
Take your average HR from the final 20min of the test and input this into the threshold heart rate value box: Click on your profile picture, then "zones", then scroll down to "heart rate".

It's important that you fill in this value and then click "save". Doing so will then complete the HR intensity levels for all of your training sessions.

Sample Day 4
0:52:00
48.4TSS
Strength Session

Before starting this session please read the attached "Warming Up" document. The warm ups contained within this document will be needed for all the training sessions within this programme.
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This session is ideally to be ridden on a steep climb, however if a steep climb is not available, use the best you have available and use bigger gears to compensate. Each of the efforts ridden in this session are low cadence and high torque.

Start with the "Medium" warm up.

Then 3 sets of:
4 x 1min @ BELOW 70rpm (cadence)
In each 1min effort, the first 30sec is seated, the second 30sec is standing. The standing section should be ridden using one gear bigger than the seated section.

The effort level is 3min max level for all the 1min efforts. This is the level of effort you could sustain if riding 1 x 3min effort as hard as you could.

IMPORTANT: Keep your back straight during the standing sections.

With 1min recovery between efforts (ride back down to the start during this time).

4min rest between sets.

5min easy spin cool down

Post ride: Aim to consume 20-30g of protein within 20min of completing all training sessions. This is really important for your body's post training repair process.

Sample Day 6
2:35:00
84.2TSS
Endurance Session

No specific warm up needed today, just start steady and build in to it.

2 hours @ a level of effort you think you could maintain for 3hours, this will likely be approx 70% of your FTHR (see the workout details below for your specific target) however, because HR can vary a lot, don't worry if it's not at that level today.

IMPORTANT: Your target will only appear in the workout details if you have added your Threshold Heart Rate in your Account Settings

Straight in to 15min @ 94%FTHR (record this 15min effort as a separate lap).
If you can ride above target in the latter stages of this 15min effort then go for it, ride it as a TT effort. Regardless of your HR, this effort is to be ridden as hard as you can sustain to the finish.

If possible, plan your route so your 15min effort is ridden on a climb, also plan things so that once you have completed your effort, you only have a short ride back to your finish point/home. This ride home is just an easy recovery spin.

Importance of Eating and Drinking:
Although you are purposely starting the 15min effort in a semi-fatigued state, you need to have enough energy to complete the effort. So it's really important that you are snacking little and often during the ride and aiming to consume at least 500ml of water or energy drink per hour. If you are just drinking water then eating regularly becomes even more critical and you need to eat something which can be quickly processed in to energy eg. Jelly Babies.

Post ride: Aim to consume 20-30g of protein within 20min of completing all training sessions. This is really important for your body's post training repair process.

Sample Day 7
4:00:00
120TSS
Aerobic Efficiency

Some days it's important to go steady, and today is one of those days. If you rode hard every time you went out on the bike you would soon burn yourself out, so it's important to balance things out with some easier, steady state rides. These rides also play a really important role in developing your body's aerobic efficiency, one of the 4 key components of fitness I highlighted as being required for the event you are training for..

So keep a lid on your effort today, avoid any big surges, aim to use light gears as much as possible and keep cadence above 85rpm as much as possible. Going hard today, would actually be counter-productive in the long run, sometime less really is more.

Eating and drinking remains just as important as it was on the Endurance ride, and as always aim to get your 20-30g protein in within 20min of finishing the ride.

Sample Day 9
0:53:00
48.1TSS
Strength Session

As with your first strength session, some of the efforts today are low cadence and high torque, however today the over-geared work is sandwiched between some higher cadence - low torque work. The session is best ridden on a climb, although it doesn't need to be particularly steep today, it does however need to be longer than the previous climb (at least 4min long when riding hard).

"Medium" warm up (see pdf on day 4)

Then:
5 sets of:
1min Seated at @ 90rpm (Normal/Easy Gear)
30sec Standing Big Gear
1min Seated @ BELOW 70rpm (Big Gear)
30sec Standing Big Gear
1min Seated at @ 90rpm (Normal/Easy Gear)

With 2min30 rest between sets, during this time ride back down to the start.

Each set lasts for 4min, and the level of effort is 8min max level. So if you were riding a climb as hard as you could, once, twice as long as this one. That's the level of effort you are aiming for.

IMPORTANT: Keep your back straight during the standing sections.

5min easy cool down.

Post ride: Aim to consume 20-30g of protein within 20min of completing all training sessions. This is really important for your body's post training repair process.

Sample Day 11
1:01:00
67.4TSS
Threshold Session

This session can either be ridden on a long, easy gradient climb, or on the indoor trainer.

"Medium warm up" (see pdf on day 4)

Then 3 x 10min sets of:

2min @ 8min max effort level
2min @ 60-90min max effort level
2min @ 8min max effort level
2min @ 60-90min max effort level
2min @ 8min max effort level

With 4min rest between sets.

IMPORTANT: Don't rest after the 2min Over Threshold Section (it will be very tempting), just back off 60-90min max effort level - this is still fairly hard effort.

5min easy cool down.

Post ride: Aim to consume 20-30g of protein within 20min of completing all training sessions. This is really important for your body's post training repair process.

Sample Day 13
2:30:00
125TSS
Intensive Endurance

Very simple session today.

Approx 2hr 30 @ 85%FTHR average.
See Workout Details Below for target.

Eating and drinking throughout is very important again on this ride, the intensity is high and you will be burning fuel fast.

The first 1hour-1.5hours should feel pretty comfortable then fatigue will gradually increase. So you should be working hard in the final hour.

Dan Small
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Mountain Goat Coaching

Dan has over 15 years of applied sport science and coaching experience across a number of different sports. In that time he spent 8 years working in the Coaching Education and Development department at British Cycling, and set up Mountain Goat Coaching in 2014. Dan has coached and trained cyclists from novice to National and International Podium level and everyone in between.