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Old 01-08-21, 08:16 AM
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Off season training load

I am a 64 yo, former competitive cyclist and runner who started getting back into moderate fitness a few years ago and added a power meter this summer because I had so much time to ride and I felt both ready to step it up and in danger of overtraining. I got back to a level where I could hang with bottom third of the slow group from the local knucklehead club and an FTP of about 3.3 W/kg. My goal for next season is just to build incrementally on that.

Since the onset of winter, I've been spending time on the trainer doing a mix of intervals, Zwift group rides, resistance training off the bike, and getting outside whenever I can. I am carrying a chronic training load of about 110, which feels okay. During the season, I was easily tolerating 700-800 TSS/wk with occasional 900 weeks, although with all the erg work on the trainer, I'm feeling it a lot more.

The question is: is it better to lighten up, go for a walk, concentrate on the weights, and fight my way back in a month or two, or train at this rate right through the winter? I have seen it proposed that it's so much harder for elderly "athletes" to get it back that it might make sense to forget about the concept of an off season altogether. On the other hand, I've always had an off season and have some concern about burnout over the long term. I have seen no good data on this question for real athletes, let along elderly duffers. What are other people doing?

I should also add that I have used exercise to treat clinical-level anxiety, especially this time of year, for most of my life and this load really scratches the itch. For this reason, I've never been good at periodizing and it's especially hard without a race schedule.
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