Conquer the Gran Fondo

Average Weekly Training Hours 10:37
Training Load By Week
Average Weekly Training Hours 10:37
Training Load By Week

Ready to tackle a Gran Fondo? "Conquer the Gran Fondo" is an 8-week plan that focuses on endurance and speed for more competitive and experienced cyclists. Total riding time builds from 9 hours to 13.5 hours and includes one long ride on the weekend; you’ll also enjoy one complete rest day per week. Riders who choose this plan should have either completed the Survive the Gran Fondo plan (or similar program), or have done at least 8 weeks of solid base training. As the world’s leading bike magazine for the past 50 years, Bicycling is uniquely qualified to offer premium Gran Fondo training plans to cyclists of all levels. This 8-week program is the result of an exclusive collaboration between Bicycling and professional cycling coach Alec Donahue of Cycle-Smart Coaching in Massachusetts. Consistency is key to any successful training plan, Donahue says. No single day of intensity or individual long ride will accomplish your goals. However, if you work diligently over eight weeks, follow a healthy diet, and take your rest days seriously, it is possible to dramatically improve your fitness. Consider getting a quality bike fit before investing significant time in training. Starting with an effective position and strong support system will yield much better results. Most reputable bike shops offer fitting services. Ideally, the fit should include a flexibility and core strength assessment. If you don't have access to this kind of fitness assessment, take the one at bicycling.com/fittoride. PLAN NOTE: This plan is designed to start on a Monday, with a long ride every Sunday. If your schedule does not accommodate a long Sunday ride, you may set up the program to start on any day you wish. Just keep in mind you may have to adjust your training on the last few days before your event.

Sample Day 2
1:00:00
Day 2

Hill Work
1 hour total ride time (approx) including:
10-15 minute progressive warmup (5 min very easy gear at low effort; 5 min at a slightly increased effort, cadence 90-100 rpm; 3-5 min build to threshold, which is roughly equivalent to the maximum effort you can maintain over an hour of riding)

4 x (4 min hard climbing + 5 min recovery)*

10-15 min cool down in an easy gear at a very low intensity

Sample Day 3
1:00:00
Day 3

Technique Workout
1 hour total ride time (approx) easy gear, no hard efforts. Include the following drills toward the middle of the ride:

2 x (5 min high cadence @105-110 rpm* + 5 min recovery)

2 x 1 min single-leg pedaling each side**

Sample Day 4
1:00:00
Day 4

Tempo Ride
1 hour total ride time (approx) including:
10-15 minute progressive warmup (5 min very easy gear at low effort; 5 min at a slightly increased effort, cadence 90-100 rpm; 3-5 min build to threshold, which is roughly equivalent to the maximum effort you can maintain over an hour of riding)

2 x (15 min tempo effort* + 5 min recovery)

15 min cool down in an easy gear at a very low intensity

Sample Day 5
1:30:00
Day 5

Recovery Ride
1.5 hours total ride time
Easy gear, no hard efforts

Sample Day 6
1:30:00
Day 6

Group Ride (1.5 hours)* OR
Variable Power Workout**
1.5 hours total ride time (approx) including:

10-15 minute progressive warmup (5 min very easy gear at low effort; 5 min at a slightly increased effort, cadence 90-100 rpm; 3-5 min build to threshold, which is roughly equivalent to the maximum effort you can maintain over an hour of riding)

2 x (16 min alternating hard effort and recovery every minute)
Recover at an easy effort for 10 minutes after each 16-min interval.

15 min cool down in an easy gear at a very low intensity

Sample Day 7
3:00:00
Day 7

Endurance Ride
3 hours total ride time including:

10-15 minute progressive warmup (5 min very easy gear at low effort; 5 min at a slightly increased effort, cadence 90-100 rpm; 3-5 min build to threshold, which is roughly equivalent to the maximum effort you can maintain over an hour of riding)

10-15 min cool down in an easy gear at a very low intensity

Sample Day 9
1:00:00
Day 9

Hill Work
1 hour total ride time (approx) including:
10-15 minute progressive warmup (5 min very easy gear at low effort; 5 min at a slightly increased effort, cadence 90-100 rpm; 3-5 min build to threshold, which is roughly equivalent to the maximum effort you can maintain over an hour of riding)
4 x (5 min hard climbing + 5 min recovery)*
10-15 min cool down in an easy gear at a very low intensity