Gear Up Coaching's 4 week Fondo Countdown

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Gear Up Coaching's 4 week Fondo Countdown


Nick Humby

All plans by this Coach


4 Weeks

Typical Week

4 Bike

Longest Workout

4:00 hrs

Plan Specs

cycling gran fondo/century beginner intermediate masters power based tss based

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Your training has been going well and you are 4 weeks out to your big event! It might be a bucket list event like the Etape du Tour or it might just a local event but either way I'm sure you are super excited and looking forward to the big day.

Fondo's often start hard and fast, contain lots of climbing and are long day out so lots of our physical attributes will be called on during the big day.

This plan complements our base and build plans adding some specific Fondo workouts to help us handle the scenarios we may encounter in a typical fondo. We work on endurance with harder efforts and cadence drills during this four week block. We also pay attention to nutrition and hydration requirements. Finally we then take you through a taper to arrive at your event fresh and ready to tear it up. Gear Up to your best event ever!


Training Load By Week
Training Load By Week
Average Weekly Training Hours: 05:36

Nick Humby

Gear Up Endurance Coaching

At Gear Up we specialize in coaching endurance sports, road cycling, mountain biking, gravel, cyclocross, time trial and triathlon.

Our coaching staff provide training plans, individual and group coaching and a host of other endurance sport related services. With over 35 years of endurance sport experience and the ability to leverage a network of specialists, we can cover your needs.

Whether a beginner or experienced rider and whatever your needs, Gear Up to optimize your athletic potential.

Sample Day 1

FTP Test (4x30 cadence drill version)

The classic FTP test. For both the 5min and the 20min intervals go as hard as you can.

For a successful FTP test, break the 20min interval down into 4 phases of 5mins. Aim for a soft goal target for the first phase then near the end of that phase ask yourself "can I keep up this intensity?" "can I go harder and complete the test?". Adjust your power accordingly. The last few minutes of the test should be an all out effort.

If on a trainer, it is essential that ERG mode is turned off if using a smart trainer. If outside, a 20minute uninterrupted road of about 3-5% climb is ideal. GMR, Angeles Crest are good examples. The Rose Bowl and the bike path are also options although the bike path can be sketchy - be careful

Sample Day 3

5min Falling Intervals

5min falling interval starting at 120% FTP then dropping 5% each subsequent minute, finishing with 1min at 100% FTP

Sample Day 5

Endurance/Tempo Ride. 3 weeks out

Unstructured endurance/tempo ride.

The weekend is when most of us can get in a longer ride, which is crucial for making the adaptations required for success in a Fondo, after all, cycling is an endurance sport. You should be aiming for around 60-80% of the duration you expect to complete your event in today, and as a minimum 2.5 - 3.5 hrs.

During the ride pay attention to your nutrition and hydration, ensure you are taking on enough carbohydrate to see you successfully through your event - 60-90g per hour is the kind of amount you will need to keep the tanks topped up. This is a lot more than most people eat and can lead to GI stress if you are not used to it. If there is no rush on your goal event then solid food is much (much) better, but often when the pace is on we resort to gels to get our calories. If you do this, ensure you are taking on fluid with the sticky stuff. Work out what works for you and then try to stay with that during the event to prevent GI issues on the day

Sample Day 7

Cadence Pyramid 1

This is recovery type session where we use the time productively to work on our cadence. Although typically cyclists should aim for around 85-95rpm, we should all be able to pedal at a range of cadences.

There is no such thing as the "perfect cadence" - typically higher cadences take less of a toll on our legs but require more cardio vascular input, lower cadences the opposite and it is normal for riders to push bigger gears on climbs and spin faster as the intensity increases. Which do you prefer? Do you mash for cash or spin to win? Use this session and other cadence focused sessions to find out.

Sample Day 8

4min x 5 hill intervals (High Torque)

High torque hill intervals to improve force capacity. We will be working just over threshold for the 4min set so put it on a big gear and settle in for some hard work. During the rest interval use a light gear and spin the legs out.

Sample Day 10

AIS - Anaerobic into sweetspot

By undertaking a short burst followed by a sustained effort we mimic what we might encounter trying to stay with a group when jockeying for position approaching the bottom of a climb or when making a breakaway effort.

Warm up with hi/lo cadence efforts.
1: For the first minute attack hard (RPE 8.5), but not so hard you can’t sustain the effort (or the effort of step 2).
2. After 1minute back off the effort to the kind of effort you could sustain for over an hour (RPE7). Hold at this intensity for 5minutes. This is the kind intensity that you need to concentrate to hold (but not so hard you blow up).
3. Follow this with 2minutes of easy spinning.
Repeat steps 1-3 five more times for a total of 6 repeats.
Warm down
The first 2-3 of these intervals should feel fairly easy but intervals 5 and 6 will definitely start to feel tougher. Enjoy!

Sample Day 12

Endurance/Tempo Ride, 2 weeks out

Unstructured ride. This is your opportunity to test your endurance before the event. 2 weeks out is a great time to get some super compensation - far out enough to be able to recover properly after we really test ourselves but close enough for that bump in endurance and fitness to hang around for the event.

Although it is not necessary to directly mimic the duration and intensity of the event in training, we should be aiming to at least do 80% of what we expect on the big day. Pay special attention to your nutrition and hydration on this ride and make any adjustments following this ride next weekend. Aim for around 4hrs, take in some long climbs at tempo/sweet spot intensity if you can.

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