3 Essential Training Tips For Gran Fondo Success
After choosing the gran fondo (or fondos…) you plan on riding in the coming months, it’s time to start training! Gran Fondo National Series events are a little different than other events in that the competition features specific timed segments within the course. Your start to finish time does not count toward results, rather your competitive standing is based on your cumulative time across all the timed segments. For those times to count, however, you have to reach the finish of these challenging events. Here are a couple of quick tips to point you in the right direction.
As you train, so shall you perform.
Maintaining a consistent training routine is more beneficial than any specific workout you perform while you’re training. In other words, ride three or four times a week consistently week after week and month after month will be more beneficial to your cycling performance than riding 5-6 times a week for a week or two, then riding sporadically for a few weeks, and then piling on a lot of hours again.
Consistency also helps you establish good habits around nutrition, hydration, recovery, and time management. Once your schedule has been set and followed for some time, it’s easier to maintain. If you ride sporadically you’re constantly juggling priorities that are competing for your time.
Incorporate Some Structure
Just riding consistently will improve your fitness up to a point, and after that you need to incorporate some structured workouts in order to increase the stress you’re putting on your body. Training is a process of creating a training stimulus through exercise and then allowing the body to rest and adapt to that stimulus. As you become more fit you need a bigger stimulus to prompt adaptation, but most of us can’t just add more weekly training hours. You need to add some intensity in the form of intervals in order to get more work done in the time you have available. These intervals don’t need to leave your cross-eyed and gasping for breath. Moderate intensity intervals lasting 15-30 minutes at a challenging but sustainable aerobic pace (perceived exertion of 7 out of 10) are great for developing aerobic endurance. Intervals of 10-20 minutes at your maximum sustainable intensity (perceived exertion of 8/10) are effective for increasing power at lactate threshold.
To really boost your performance and use your time efficiently, consider using a structured training plan or working with a coach.
Get More Rest
Don’t be fooled into thinking more training is always better. If you don’t take adequate rest between rides your progress will stall and you’ll grind yourself into the ground. Rest is part of training, not the absence of it, because it is absolutely essential for adapting to training stress and making you a stronger and faster cyclist. In our hard charging, 24/7, constantly connected lifestyles, many people don’t get the rest they actually need. Try separating your hardest workouts by 48 hours, taking a complete rest day at least every 7-10 days, and getting at least 8-10 hours of quality sleep per night.
You are more likely to have a great experience at your first or next Gran Fondo if you are fit and prepared for the challenge. Being fit makes events more fun and ensures you reach the finish line with a smile on your face!
Gran Fondo National Series Calendar
March 3-4 – Malibu GRANFONDO (Malibu, California)
March 24-25 – Gran Fondo Florida (San Antonio, Florida)
May 5-6 – Tour of Georgia Gran Fondo (Helen, Georgia)
June 2 – Fast Freddie Challenge (Sebastopol, CA)
June 3 – Highlands Gran Fondo (Butler, New Jersey)
July 22 – Gran Fondo Asheville (Asheville, North Carolina)
August 5 – Bluewater International Gran Fondo (Sarnia, Ontario)
August 4 – Tour de Big Bear/HC Gran Fondo (Big Bear Lake, California)
August 4-5 – Boone Gran Fondo (Boone, North Carolina)
August 16-19 – Vermont Challenge (Manchester, Vermont; Stratton, Vermont)
August 26 – Golden Gran Fondo (Golden, Colorado)
September 23 – Gran Fondo Maryland (Frederick, Maryland)