Finish your Grand Fondo strong - Beginners / Intermediate - 8 weeks - by Pro Coach Chris Decker

Training Load By Week
Training Load By Week
Average Weekly Training Hours: 07:38

The Coach of 2x Ironman-Champion Astrid Stienen uses this plan to prepare his athletes for Grand Fondos and Century rides, even in the harsh and legendary areas of the spring classics in Belgium or Multiday races in the Alps. This plan is ideal for beginner and intermediate cyclists who want to perform excellent in such a race and have 6 - 9 hours of training time each week. Please note that some additional stretching and massage is recommend. Before starting to prepare for your season you should be familiar with using a heart rate monitor or a watt meter.

The included plan consists Training Peaks structured workout format, which will make things even easier for you. You can see your own training targets and zones for every workout through the daily workout e-mail reminders and mobile notifications. And furthermore you will also see a graphic representation of the workout within the Training Peaks web portal and Training Peaks mobile app, which helps you to get a sense of the entire Workout by taking just one look at the easy to understand graphs and segments for every part of your training. You will no longer have to read through long descriptions and get everything at a glance. My athletes prefer this comfort since TrainingPeaks offers this awesome feature.

Structured workouts can be exported for use in third-party apps and select devices including Garmin, Zwift, TrainerRoad, CycleOps, RacerMate, and some more. All you have to do is click “Export” and select the proper file format for your device. For more detailed information regarding exporting workouts go to

If your are not sure what you actual zones are, there is a free one week test plan in my store.

The workout schedule includes 4 session per week, with one to two rides to boost anaerobic capacity, one interval session to raise your FTP and a long ride at the weekend.

Key workouts in this plan include the following:

Endurance rides: Steady rides of 45 to 120 minutes at FTHR 69-83%.

Long rides : Steady rides of 2h to 4h a 70-72% FTP or 75-77% FTHR spiced with long Sweet Spot intervals from 30-90 minutes.

Intervals/Speed Sessions: Rides featuring intervals at sweet spot, FTP pace and / or VO2max-intervals separated by easy spinning recoveries, as well as sprint intervalls from 8" to 2'.

Tempo rides: Learn to cycle at your Threshold pace.

Have fun and reach your personal goal. makes you #performingperfect. Visit our website ( for more information about us.

Of course, there is also the option of an one on one phone, skype or email consultation. This would be at an extra cost giving you the opportunity to speak with with me in person, at $150/hr. For more info or to setup a consult send a note to:

If you have more goals, you will find a cycle marathon plan, a crit plan and a time trial plan to get ready for these challenges and live your dream. The plans can be found here:

Sample Day 1
Aerobic Endurance Ride

This is an easy aerobic ride to start your prep for the marathon. So just do an easy warm up of 10' followed by 40' at 70% FTP or 75% FTHR and an easy cool down.

Please try to hold a cadence of +/- 90 rpm. This is my strong advice for all sessions, if not indicated otherwise.

Of course this is an easy start, but over the next 8 weeks your body will learn to sustain long rides with long climbs at a pretty fast speed.

Sample Day 3
Aerobic ride with FTP-Intervals

As it is the first week, we stay pretty easy but add some spice to the endurance ride. So please do an easy warm up as indicated followed by 10' at endurance pace. After that you'll do 2x6' at your FTP (or FTHR) followed by 5' easy recovery.

These intervals will help to raise your FTP, which means basically you can ride faster.

Sample Day 5
Aerobic ride with Sweet-Spot-Intervals

After Thursdays FTP-session, you will go longer today and do 25 minutes at sweet spot - 90% FTP. Today I suggest o do the interval at a hill or mountain, as most Marathons or Grand Fondos have quiet some climbs;-).

By the way, if it is not indicated otherwise, do every session with a cadence between 90-100 rpm.

As the sessions on weekends are a bit longer, make sure that you take enough fluids and energy with you.

Sample Day 6
Aerobic Endurance Ride

As it is a weekend ride, we go for a longer ride. Today it is 2h 30min but we will increase it to 4h during your preparation.

Please try to hold a cadence of +/- 90 rpm. This is my strong advice for all sessions, if not indicated otherwise.

Please make sure that you have enough fluids and energy with you. I also recommend to take the nutrition you want to use at race day, so that you know your body is used to that stuff.

Sample Day 8
Aerobic ride with 1' efforts

So after the longer weekend, we go back to shorter sessions during the week.
This time it is actually similar to last week, but with some hard efforts simulating short hills on race day, where you don't want to loose speed.

So after a solid warm up and 20' in zone 2, you will start your four efforts. Do one effort of 1' with full power every 5'. If it is possible perform the effort on a short incline. Right after the effort go back to 73% FTP until your next effort will follow.

Sample Day 10
Aerobic ride with FTP-Intervals

The main tasks today are 3 FTP-intervals of 6' with a recovery time of 5' in between. While you are riding at your normal cadence. Please try to ride these intervals at a hill and switch between a seated and a standing position, to use different muscles.

Sample Day 12
Aerobic ride with Sweet-Spot-Intervals

This week is special, we shorten the ride compared to last Saturday, but the interval length will increase. So you'll go for 90' and do 35 minutes at sweet spot - 90% FTP. Again I suggest o do the interval at a hill or mountain, as most Marathons or Grand Fondos have quiet some climbs;-).

As the sessions on weekends are a bit longer, make sure that you take enough fluids and energy with you.

Christian Decker

You have a dream of reaching goals in sport? As a coach I'll help you making this dream become reality. Pro-Champions as well as Agegroup Champions trust in my skills. I offer remote-coaching combined with weekly Skype calls, to be as close as possible to you. I analyze your training data-driven to get the most efficient plan for you.If you like a more self driven training as a runner I also offer pre built training plans. No matter what you choose, I make your dream reality. Chris