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bobin 04-01-20 06:13 PM

Older Guy Needing to Dial it Back
 
I think I just need to enjoy cycling for a chance to get outside and exercise and not push it anymore. I'm nearing 50 and have only been cycling for 6 years but for the life of me can't get my FTP above 200. Thought I was digging a hole last year so this winter really took it easy and tried to rest up over the winter. Last few rides I've been tried to start two or three 15mi rides averaging 120bpm per week. Any time though I get on Zwift or outside and try to really hit it hard for longer than an hour - not only am I wiped out - but it feels like I'm hungover a little the next day. Back to why I took it easy over the winter. My grumpiness just skyrockets the next day. Yesterday I went out for 25 miles and averaged 145bpm often times hitting 175 and it felt good with an average of almost 18mph/200w. Good lord was I moody and wiped out mentally today. Not so much physical fatigue but like my window of tolerance is zero - like I'm strung out or something. Been getting some pretty good sleep lately too. And now that we're quarantined inside all the time I need to be in a good mood for the wife and kids. Not sure what's going on here - going to miss cranking up the engine - but maybe the engine is trying to tell me something.

datlas 04-01-20 06:24 PM

Ride more.

Worry less.

big john 04-01-20 07:30 PM

As we get older it takes some of us longer to build our fitness. I'm 65 and it is a very slow process but I have been making gains since I retired from work.
Don't know about the grumpiness I usually feel calm after a hard effort. Lack of sleep is the main thing that makes me grumpy.

Sojodave 04-01-20 07:38 PM

My suggestion is to not worry about your ftp and how fast you are riding. If I were you, I would concentrate on intervals and hill climbing three days a week and ride for fun the other days. I get grumpy when I don't get a chance to ride.

canklecat 04-01-20 08:51 PM

Yup. At 62 with ambitions half my age, I've been forced to confront reality and make some changes.

I got more methodical about training (not counting casual pleasure rides) and had to give myself a rest day after every real workout. So I usually ride about 4 times a week and rest 3 days -- usually 1 day on, one day off, but occasionally I'll ride 2-4 consecutive days, then rest for 2 days. I'll walk and do some light exercises on rest days, but it's mostly actual rest, not "workout other than bike rides."

I made some progress last year with that approach, although I've slacked off since January, between the weather, chronic sinus problems and then the coronavirus inflammation. So I'm mostly in maintenance mode now, not improving but not losing too much fitness. No HIIT, but more zone 2 rides to balance out the tempo pace rides. Works for me, YMMV, horses/courses, etc.

Catsharp 04-01-20 09:01 PM

This is really interesting because its the first time I’ve seen moodiness/irritability mentioned in association with the after effects of overtraining, or simply extended over-exerting. I’ve had the exact same experience. (Age 61) Have obviously modified and reduced severity of training regimen and still really enjoy long, exhausting rides (seems silly to admit it- as I cannot really explain that to non-riding friends but anyway). Recovery time needed is much greater now; more rest, and more time between intervals but the touchy mood, that is really an annoying and surprising by product.

big john 04-01-20 09:23 PM


Originally Posted by Catsharp (Post 21396296)
- as I cannot really explain that to non-riding friends but anyway).

You don't have to explain it to us.:)

alo 04-01-20 10:16 PM

I don't know the OP, or anyone else here. So I don't know what is going on. There could be many different reasons.

However, some people will tell you it is the things going on around them which make them unhappy. But there is an underlying issue where, they are not happy with themselves. This can happen for various reasons. Then when little things happen, it triggers them to react badly. They keep blaming those little things, but don't think of the underlying cause.

Even good people can get upset, particularly if a number of bad things happen around the same time. Put people who feel good about themselves are not normally triggered by a lot of little things which annoy them.

One of the reasons some people are not happy with themselves, is because they measure themselves in comparison to others. I am not as good as these other people. Smart people just do sensible things, and don't compare themselves to others.

guadzilla 04-01-20 10:28 PM

I get cranky when i am not able to meet my workout targets as well, sometimes. If I am carrying over fatigue from before, that's one thing and i dont mind. But if it is something else which ruins my workout, then for sure I get a bit annoyed/irritated.

OP - just ride more. Also, if you can, ride with others. It's a great way to push yourself more. Lastly, depending on what the limitation is, consider doing weights. I am 47, and i find my overall health and fitness to be much, much better now that i am back to doing weights, than it was when i cycled only. At our age, we are starting to lose both muscle and bone density, and weight training helps there. Doing more squats and such has also helped my time to exhaustion (ie, my ability to hold wattage for a longer period of time without fatiguing).

surak 04-01-20 10:41 PM

I get irritable when I'm under-fueled.

From TrainingPeaks, signs of low energy availability include:

  • Recurrent injury (soft tissue and/or bone)
  • Recurrent Illness
  • Unexpected fatigue
  • Disrupted sleep patterns
  • Change in mood
  • Reduced social interaction
  • Problematic relationship with food and/or training
  • Stagnation and deterioration in performance


AdkMtnMonster 04-01-20 10:49 PM


Originally Posted by surak (Post 21396385)
I get irritable when I'm under-fueled.

From TrainingPeaks, signs of low energy availability include:

I was going to suggest something very similar. Eat properly before, and after hard efforts.

tallbikeman 04-02-20 12:09 AM

At 67 I let my body dictate the exercise level for the day. I definitely have easy days where I exercise little or at a very easy pace. On the other hand if I'm feeling it I'll push hard. Good sleep, plenty of real food, keep your days as low stress as possible. I find that I'll fill my days with activities until I realize I need to cut some of them out due to the stress of just trying to do it all. If I overdo the exercise I get very tired but generally bounce back the next day. I may not be able to exercise as hard the next day but I'll go for a ride just to ride and enjoy the day. I do get grumpiness when I'm tired and didn't get proper rest. Do not be hard on yourself for feeling your feelings. Keep a realistic attitude concerning your exercise goals. Accept the aging process and its effect on you. Lift weights, walk, run, row a boat, play basketball, a diversity of exercise is probably best for your health. On the other hand if some of how you feel is indicative of a health problem do not be afraid to ask an MD.

canklecat 04-02-20 02:33 AM

BTW, if you haven't already, try a heart rate variability app like Elite HRV (needs a heart rate monitor like a Tickr, or the doodad Elite HRV sells) or Wattson Blue (fingertip pulse via smartphone camera flashlight). I've used these for a few months as guides to assist with my training efforts. Seems to accurately identify my better and not-so-good training days.

There's a lot to read on both app websites about HRV, and plenty of info on YouTube and elsewhere online. It gets into info about the sympathetic and parasympathetic response -- which, incidentally, has been a topic of discussion on the news this week in the context of how stresses such as the coronavirus pandemic is affecting people's mental/emotional well being in addition to the physical issues.

For me, it was counter-intuitive. I thought a highly variable heart rate that changes quickly in response to stressors was a bad thing. But apparently in an otherwise healthy body it's a good indicator of readiness to train harder.

nomadmax 04-02-20 03:08 AM

Take everything off the bike that records numbers and ride; make a concerted effort to see the world around you because this is your one and only chance. The difference between what you could be running on the ragged edge and doing what I suggest is minuscule when it comes to performance. However, the difference in quality of life is significant.

seypat 04-02-20 04:28 AM


Originally Posted by nomadmax (Post 21396487)
Take everything off the bike that records numbers and ride; make a concerted effort to see the world around you because this is your one and only chance. The difference between what you could be running on the ragged edge and doing what I suggest is minuscule when it comes to performance. However, the difference in quality of life is significant.

This. Stop and smell the roses every so often. You only have one life to live. Just ride your bike. Don't worry about how fast you are going while you are riding it.

Catsharp 04-02-20 06:46 AM

Agree with Surak - 'Training Peaks' list; I know I don't eat enough/eat right to stay at optimum. Have injuries pretty well healed, sleeping is better with more exercise, in my case, Going to try to focus on eating adequately before riding, in the days ahead. So as not to feel so completely spent for the 24 hours afterward. Also though, since riding mainly solo now, I'm not sure performance is even a thing. Racking up lots of miles, while so enjoyable, especially after the winter, and now when, like, there's so many other things virus-verboten, I wonder if it takes a toll as we age. My mother, who passed about a year ago, at age 89, seeing all the riding etc. I was doing finally said, "you really need to make your body last...."
like, don't wear it out prematurely.

Catsharp 04-02-20 06:49 AM


Originally Posted by big john (Post 21396320)
You don't have to explain it to us.:)

I have a good friend, long-time practicing psychologist who asked - "I wonder what it is you're running away from?"
Gave me a complex for a while. So I went out riding, and forgot all about it.

Rides4Beer 04-02-20 07:22 AM


Originally Posted by nomadmax (Post 21396487)
Take everything off the bike that records numbers and ride; make a concerted effort to see the world around you because this is your one and only chance. The difference between what you could be running on the ragged edge and doing what I suggest is minuscule when it comes to performance. However, the difference in quality of life is significant.

+1, no data, or put your bike computer in your pocket if you just want to track the mileage/time. Just ride and enjoy it. :beer:

Litespud 04-02-20 08:24 AM


Originally Posted by bobin (Post 21396023)
I think I just need to enjoy cycling for a chance to get outside and exercise and not push it anymore. I'm nearing 50 and have only been cycling for 6 years but for the life of me can't get my FTP above 200. Thought I was digging a hole last year so this winter really took it easy and tried to rest up over the winter. Last few rides I've been tried to start two or three 15mi rides averaging 120bpm per week. Any time though I get on Zwift or outside and try to really hit it hard for longer than an hour - not only am I wiped out - but it feels like I'm hungover a little the next day. Back to why I took it easy over the winter. My grumpiness just skyrockets the next day. Yesterday I went out for 25 miles and averaged 145bpm often times hitting 175 and it felt good with an average of almost 18mph/200w. Good lord was I moody and wiped out mentally today. Not so much physical fatigue but like my window of tolerance is zero - like I'm strung out or something. Been getting some pretty good sleep lately too. And now that we're quarantined inside all the time I need to be in a good mood for the wife and kids. Not sure what's going on here - going to miss cranking up the engine - but maybe the engine is trying to tell me something.

If you want to simply enjoy cycling more, forget about the bpm and watts, and just go out and ride your bike. Work up a sweat of you want, or don't. The only yardstick that matters is "did I enjoy the ride?", not "how many watts did I put out?"

seypat 04-02-20 09:27 AM


Originally Posted by Litespud (Post 21396764)
If you want to simply enjoy cycling more, forget about the bpm and watts, and just go out and ride your bike. Work up a sweat of you want, or don't. The only yardstick that matters is "did I enjoy the ride?", not "how many watts did I put out?"

+1. Flowers are blooming and birds are tweeting. New life is everywhere! Who gives a $hit how fast you are riding or how much effort you are putting in? Tomorrow might never come. Enjoy today and have fun. Heck, get you one of these and piddle along, goofing off...........in sandals or flops. You'll have a good time. Trust me. :D

Edit: One other thing, 50 is not old. Please!

https://cimg4.ibsrv.net/gimg/bikefor...fe997e7acc.jpg

Carbonfiberboy 04-02-20 10:47 AM

The OP is just a kid. I rode a lot in my teens, but then only did career until I picked riding up again at 50 and started really training. I can tell you from experience that at your age, or at any age over yours, taking it easy over the winter is an utter disaster. It'll take a full year's training to fix that mistake. What you need to do now is base, lots of base. Like others have said, ride your effing bike. I don't think that taking all the monitors off the bike is a good idea, not a good idea at all. You want to use those monitors to restrict your activity level. Keep the effort down! Some people really have to work at that. As it is said, most riders go neither easy enough nor hard enough. Build mileage. Mileage is strength. Don't do any intervals. It's OK to ride hills, but don't work at them. Really embarrass yourself, gear down and spin up them. On your trainer, use erg mode. You know about what your FTP is, so set it to 75%-80% and pedal for an hour or so, concentrating on beautiful pedaling. Ride 6 days/week, pretty easy to do now with the shutdown. If you feel tired, just do Z1 on your trainer for 30'. If you're doing it right, shouldn't need an easy day more than once a week.

rclouviere 04-02-20 12:14 PM

I didnít start cycling until i was your age. Iím 62 now and am faster than Iíve ever been. Not sure if thatís an indictment on my past training, or my current training, but typically, my rides of 25 or so miles average around 20.5 mph right now on all/out effort rides (faster on TT bike). My FTP hasnít increased much, but my pace has.

Everyone is different, and i see the benefit of ďjust riding,Ē but thatís not for me. I love the power meter, HRM, and gps. Iím super competitive with myself (and much younger riders). I have purposeful training involving hard rides, easy rides, and interval rides.

i also supplement my workouts with regular weight training (full body) and eat pretty well.

i am retired, so i have the time to do this.

Not sure about being grumpy after hard rides. Iím usually a little grumpy when i CANíT ride.

Carbonfiberboy 04-02-20 12:29 PM


Originally Posted by seypat (Post 21396875)
+1. Flowers are blooming and birds are tweeting. New life is everywhere! Who gives a $hit how fast you are riding or how much effort you are putting in? Tomorrow might never come. Enjoy today and have fun. Heck, get you one of these and piddle along, goofing off...........in sandals or flops. You'll have a good time. Trust me. :D

Edit: One other thing, 50 is not old. Please!

https://cimg4.ibsrv.net/gimg/bikefor...fe997e7acc.jpg

Wow, a mixte. My wife had a Raleigh mixte back when, also blue but a deeper color and with drops. "Blueberry."

goenrdoug 04-02-20 12:58 PM

Agree with the others touting nutrition as the root of your issue here.

If you deplete yourself on the bike, you're going to be all messed up the rest of the day and the morning after.. Focus on:
1. eating right before your ride(s) -- take in some protein and carbs if you're planning to go hard. I don't mean just breakfast, either. I try to make sure I have something hearty for dinner on Friday night if I'm planning a big Saturday ride.
2. eating during your ride(s) -- if you're going hard and/or long, you're going to need to take in burnable calories on your ride. That means something with protein and carbs. If you have ever ridden a century, you know how true this is. If you start bonking, it's way too late and you're behind the curve of what you should have been taking in. A sugary gel can help at this point, but it's only going to give you another 30 minutes of not-completely-bonked status to get yourself to the finish. Plan to take in 100-200 calories per hour of something like a cliff bar or similar.
3. eating after your ride(s) -- if you went really hard, you may want to consider taking in something high in sugar/carbs immediately after your ride. If I'm spent at the end of a ride, I will drink a sugary soda (I never drink that crap) before I shower so I can bridge the gap to my feed-my-face meal of a Dagwood-style sandwich, pile of rice/meat, burrito or similar to replenish myself. A nice afternoon nap is also a great way to digest/recover as well.

In all of this, think about the kind of food you're eating. If you're fueling with crap, you're gonna feel/perform like crap. If you're eating a bowl of frosted flakes for breakfast and having a pile of french fries and mcdonalds for lunch, you're gonna recover like crap.

DaveSSS 04-02-20 01:27 PM

A 49 year old shouldn't need to dial it back, if you're in otherwise good health. I moved to Colorado at age 50 and went from the relatively flat terrain around the Kansas City area, at 800' elevation to living at 6,000' and riding on up to 14,000' Mt. Evans. My average speed dropped about 2 mph, between all of the climbing and the elevation, but I never had any different effects from 3 hours of hard riding. I rarely rode more than every other day (50-60 miles) and I only rode that much because I wasn't working. It took several years for my climbing ability to improve, but at age 53, I rode my best time from Idaho Springs to the top of Mt. Evans 2:35, that would often be a top 10 finish in my age group, on race day. After than, I never got any faster and old age was catching up with me. I quit cycling at the end of the 2010, at age 57 season because my knees were shot and I had a house to build. I got my knees replaced in 2017 and took up cycling again in 2018 at age 65. I'm only riding 3500-4000 miles per year instead of 5000+, but I'm still riding and enjoying it. If I ride 2.5-3 hours every other day, I'm satisfied. I use a HRM, just to judge how hard I'm working, but I have no goals other than to make it up the 12% grades.

JohnJ80 04-02-20 05:21 PM


Originally Posted by bobin (Post 21396023)
I think I just need to enjoy cycling for a chance to get outside and exercise and not push it anymore. I'm nearing 50 and have only been cycling for 6 years but for the life of me can't get my FTP above 200. Thought I was digging a hole last year so this winter really took it easy and tried to rest up over the winter. Last few rides I've been tried to start two or three 15mi rides averaging 120bpm per week. Any time though I get on Zwift or outside and try to really hit it hard for longer than an hour - not only am I wiped out - but it feels like I'm hungover a little the next day. Back to why I took it easy over the winter. My grumpiness just skyrockets the next day. Yesterday I went out for 25 miles and averaged 145bpm often times hitting 175 and it felt good with an average of almost 18mph/200w. Good lord was I moody and wiped out mentally today. Not so much physical fatigue but like my window of tolerance is zero - like I'm strung out or something. Been getting some pretty good sleep lately too. And now that we're quarantined inside all the time I need to be in a good mood for the wife and kids. Not sure what's going on here - going to miss cranking up the engine - but maybe the engine is trying to tell me something.

I'm a lot older than you and I don't need to dial it back. If it's that bad, make an appt with your doc and make sure nothing else is wrong. If nothing wrong there, then get a personal trainer to help you out.

J.

EGBigelo 04-02-20 09:45 PM


Originally Posted by JohnJ80 (Post 21397725)
I'm a lot older than you and I don't need to dial it back. If it's that bad, make an appt with your doc and make sure nothing else is wrong. If nothing wrong there, then get a personal trainer to help you out.

J.

I agree with this. See a doctor and get checked out. That wiped out feeling, especially with the hungover feeling the next day, could be from another condition you have lurking. I turned 50 a couple years ago, and this is the first year I've felt like it's taking me forever to get my fitness back this spring (no riding all winter for me up here in PA). It's been frustrating to say the least.

sweeks 04-04-20 04:06 PM

I second ("third"?) what JohnJ80 and EGBigelo have said. You may have a "little" voice giving you the same advice: "...but maybe the engine is trying to tell me something."
You'll feel better with an official "green light".

JohnJ80 04-04-20 04:55 PM

Just to add some context for the OP and detail to what was above.

I'm 64. What I learned between your age and mine is that it's best check your ego at the door, get over being embarrassed about seeing the doc, and to make an effort to get in to seeing the doc right away when something isn't right. Make sure that they hear you when you tell them what your body is telling you and don't accept pat or easy answers if it isn't clear that's the problem. Turns out, that methodology saved my life when I caught a cancer early just about when I was your age when I insisted on some a test that wasn't typically prescribed until I was a few years older.

The other piece that I learned is that you need to assemble your own healthcare team and that needs to be (at least) your family practice doc, your sports medicine doc, physical therapist and a nutritionist and add others as required. But if you do that, you're going to be able to keep playing at a high level for a long time. Being active now is the key to being active when you're my age and older. I really see the results of being active compared to a lot of my peers....

So hope you get this figured out. A young whippersnapper like you ought to be tearing it up out there.

J.

Drew Eckhardt 04-06-20 08:25 AM


Originally Posted by bobin (Post 21396023)
I think I just need to enjoy cycling for a chance to get outside and exercise and not push it anymore. I'm nearing 50 and have only been cycling for 6 years but for the life of me can't get my FTP above 200. Thought I was digging a hole last year so this winter really took it easy and tried to rest up over the winter. Last few rides I've been tried to start two or three 15mi rides averaging 120bpm per week. Any time though I get on Zwift or outside and try to really hit it hard for longer than an hour - not only am I wiped out - but it feels like I'm hungover a little the next day. Back to why I took it easy over the winter. My grumpiness just skyrockets the next day. Yesterday I went out for 25 miles and averaged 145bpm often times hitting 175 and it felt good with an average of almost 18mph/200w. Good lord was I moody and wiped out mentally today. Not so much physical fatigue but like my window of tolerance is zero - like I'm strung out or something. Been getting some pretty good sleep lately too. And now that we're quarantined inside all the time I need to be in a good mood for the wife and kids. Not sure what's goin
g on here - going to miss cranking up the engine - but maybe the engine is trying to tell me something.

You're not going to increase your FTP "trying to really hit it hard for longer than an hour."

The greatest gains in power at lactate threshold, anaerobic threshold (AnT, VT2, LT4), FTP, CP60, or whatever you want to call it come from riding harder than it which isn't possible for "longer than an hour."

Stephen Seiler opines 7-10 minutes as hard as possible is ideal- it allows more volume than shorter intervals. Ride as hard as possible - ideally you'd fall off your bike unconscious at the end. You can probably hit 110% of FTP. Stop when you can't exceed your anaerobic threshold/FTP. You can't really do that more than twice a week.

The best performance over longer distances comes from riding below your aerobic threshold (AeT, VT1, LT1) where breathing becomes rhythmic, conversation doesn't flow, and you start to feel your legs.

Riding between the two thresholds does little for FTP/VO2max once you have a modicum of fitness, and more time there correlates to slower ironman triathlon times.

You also need low volume rest weeks because that's when adaptation occurs. While 1 in 4 is typical, some people especially older athletes need 1 in 3. Some can do 1 in 5.

Over reaching then overtraining is a function of weighted volume relative to your current fitness. 14 hours a week can be easy when that's what you've been averaging over the last year, or five can be too much after a six week layoff in which you lost most of your fitness.

People get this wrong with hard days that are too easy and easy days that are too hard.

FTP is limited by rider size. Noted coach Joel Friel has observed the cyclists he trains are capable of 4.4 W/kg +/- 10%, -0.5% per year past 35, -10% for females. At the low end and 60 kg as lean as you could get you wouldn't expect to do better than 220W at 50 with a few years of training which is much more than just riding around.

Lean by cycling standards is a lot lighter than people think is thin in a society where 70% of people are overweight or obese. At 150 pounds with a 28" waist I have an extra 14 pounds over my ideal cycling weight. Extra mass doesn't increase FTP - I'm good for the same power at 185 pounds or 135. The later is much faster up hill.


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