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Approaching 60... and learning all over again

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Approaching 60... and learning all over again

Old 06-09-19, 04:17 PM
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Approaching 60... and learning all over again

Well, it's not that I'm desperate, but I hit the big 6-0 in two weeks, and I'm getting back into regular cycling after a six-year hiatus. My long-term goal is to get into great shape prior to retirement in a few years, with the notion of riding like @jppe. I want to regularly ride in the Blue Ridge mountains, and maybe even Europe one day. It would also be cool to travel and meet up for rides with the C&Vers from time to time.

I've been riding regularly (well, a couple times a week at least) since March, gradually building ride time and effort. But I made the error of pushing it last week, trying some intervals for fun, and now regretting that. I apparently still have the mindset of my fitness from seven years ago, but the body has not kept up! Fancy that! Thank God my weight is back to prior levels.

I realize I need a formal training plan, so I'm going to work that out once I have "Cycling Past 50." I went searching for my copy, only to recall having lent it to a friend years ago, who soon after moved away (along with my book). I have a Garmin 305 with HR strap that still works, I just can't download any data (yet!) and it's no longer supported by Garmin. I want to ride and train wisely, so I'm planning to get a new unit this year and add some kind of power meter, probably a pedal-based system that I can move from bike to bike as the mood strikes. Gonna start with small goals and work my way up. One goal is to ride up Paris Mountain in Greenville, a three-mile climb of 8% average grade. It's beaten me twice when I was in better shape. That's for late this year. No centuries, imperial at least, for this year. Just establishing a solid base and learning how to climb efficiently.

I'm not young enough, nor do I have the time, to just "ride lots," like Eddy recommended. I need to ride smart, but I need to keep it fun. No riding buddies at the moment. It's just me. I figure I'll do specific work-out rides during the week (i.e. alternating interval and hill repeat sessions) with a fun/endurance ride on the weekends. I'm going to use a wattage calculator and the HRM initially to monitor progress. I've picked out some quiet roads nearby for those sessions.

Any tips from you 60+ iron-men?
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Old 06-09-19, 04:24 PM
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It will be 8 1/2 years before I can answer. Sounds like you have a solid plan.
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Old 06-09-19, 05:36 PM
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You have ALL the right ideas. It is an exciting place to be. You already have a pretty good plan in place. Training/riding with a power meter is a great way to remove a lot of the variables so you can more accurately track where you are. Getting where you want to be is exciting, fun and frustrating. You probably already know the area but if you ever need some good training roads with climbing let me know. There are a lot of options starting with easier grades.
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Old 06-09-19, 07:01 PM
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Training in MY 60's... vs training in THE '70s

I just want to mention that I read someplace (yeah I know, unaccredited source from the internet, sheesh!) that interval training is not recommended for most older folks. It was a credible enough source (to me) that I decided to forego it at least until I'm able to discuss with a doc who understands sports medicine as it relates to me. It's something like the guy shoveling snow... Most of our recovery rates have dropped severely, from those times Bitd, and doing true interval training can stress one's heart too much before one realizes. I mean honestly, that sh** was brutal Bitd when I was competing.


I'm not trying to dissuade anyone from getting as fit as they can be, just that the passage of time imposes certain limitations... And a (wo)man has got to know their limitations.

Even though I will never be FAST again, (and personally, I don't find personal bests all that exciting) I still push myself hard and find myself telling my legs to shut up.
Best regards, Eric
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Old 06-09-19, 07:30 PM
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Originally Posted by Last ride 76 View Post
I just want to mention that I read someplace (yeah I know, unaccredited source from the internet, sheesh!) that interval training is not recommended for most older folks. It was a credible enough source (to me) that I decided to forego it at least until I'm able to discuss with a doc who understands sports medicine as it relates to me. It's something like the guy shoveling snow... Most of our recovery rates have dropped severely, from those times Bitd, and doing true interval training can stress one's heart too much before one realizes. I mean honestly, that sh** was brutal Bitd when I was competing.


I'm not trying to dissuade anyone from getting as fit as they can be, just that the passage of time imposes certain limitations... And a (wo)man has got to know their limitations.

Even though I will never be FAST again, (and personally, I don't find personal bests all that exciting) I still push myself hard and find myself telling my legs to shut up.
Best regards, Eric
Good food for thought. The intervals I mentioned were brief, five each of 30 and 60 seconds, last Monday. I was using my HRM and speed as well as perceived effort, mainly as a test session. I still havenít fully recovered. Thatís sobering. I really need a power meter to avoid overdoing it. Joel Friel has a new book, Fast After 50, that deals with age-related performance changes and strategies to stay competitive. Iím not really that competitive, but I am interested in developing and maintaining fitness for better health. And climbing famous mountains.
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Old 06-09-19, 08:05 PM
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And climbing famous mountains...

I bought a travel bike frame just for that purpose, now working on the conditioning...
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Old 06-10-19, 06:26 AM
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Originally Posted by Last ride 76 View Post
I bought a travel bike frame just for that purpose, now working on the conditioning...
What did you buy?
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Old 06-10-19, 10:27 AM
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Low gears!
I see your bike list has 2010 or older bikes. The 2010 Cannondale Six came with a 12-25 cassette, like many road bikes of the period.

Now, 11-28 is standard, and 11-32 comes on many bikes. I changed to an 11-32, it "just barely" fits on my short cage Ultegra derailleur, even though it's past the recommended range for the derailleur.

I can ride up 8% - 10% grades staying seated now. At a slow speed, below 4 mph, it's a very low cadence, but it's a moderate pedal pressure. I can climb much longer hills without burning matches. And the low gears are nice for spinning up an easy to moderate grade.

It's possible to retrofit an older bike with a long cage derailleur that accommodates bigger cassettes.


Long climbs

It's all about pacing if the gearing is low enough. I'd rather climb a 1500 foot 7% grade than do 5 repeats of a 300 foot 7% climb. There's no temptation to sprint near the top, just set a pace and climb steadily. And the big climbs tend to be scenic, too.

That 3 mile long, 8% average climb sounds challenging to me, but very doable. I've climbed up the similar grade, 4 mile long Mt Mitchell park road with no problems.


Blue Ridge Parkway
: you need to go ride it! Near Asheville, it's all climbing and descending. But the grades are mostly 8% or less, often 6-7%. It's extremely scenic. And there's scenic overlooks during the climb. Just a quick stop at the overlook is helpful. I think most any rider that can ride 60 miles on normal terrain can ride 40 or more on the Parkway. Dial back your effort, and enjoy the ride. The downhills are very nice, mostly with sweeping turns that need little braking. There's few water sources on the Parkway, so some route planning is helpful. Don't ride up from Asheville, that can be busy. Start at an overlook up in the high country.

~~~

Training
I don't like scheduling training rides. Instead, I do group rides most of the time. Some groups are a little faster than me, so I put out hard efforts to not be "too" far behind on the climbs. And it's the best motivation for me to ride at least 2-3 times a week, I have to keep up my fitness level.

Analyzing with Golden Cheetah

If you like stats and ride analysis, the free, open source Golden Cheetah is great. ( It's not too useful without a power meter.)

Just upload ride recordings, and it plots lots of graphs and stats. Then you can adjust the graph settings later to be more useful to you.

I use the CP chart, Critical Power. It shows my best efforts at all time periods from 5 seconds to the longest ride I've done. And the current ride shows on the chart, with percentages of the best times. I have a pretty good idea of my 1-minute, 5-minute, 30-minute power targets.

I have a "Ride stack" page, with time on the x-axis, and stacked charts for power, speed, cadence, heart rate, elevation, grade, and W' Balance. W' is essentially the estimate of much your power reserves are being temporarily depleted by hard efforts.

I can drag the chart to make a custom interval to review -- a hill climb, a fast paced section, etc. Or have it select the top 5 efforts for power at a selected time interval.

These intervals can show on the included route map.

CG calculates kilojoules for the ride, a good number to use for the calories burned. I tend to be close to 30 calories per mile on a spirited ride. Bikes are efficient!

GC trends:
I have two years on the Trends - Stress chart. It shows aerobic and anerobic trends, long term and short term, quite interesting. I can see the longer rides and harder efforts in May showing up as a big increase in the chart. (It's "training stress", so more is better. Racers can use it to peak at the right time.)

Early last spring, I was feeling "slow", "sluggish", "weak" and wondered if I was "losing it". But the trends were similar to the previous Jan-Feb trends. I'm back to normal now.

There's many more GC features that are useful for formal training, but I rarely look at them.

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Old 06-10-19, 01:49 PM
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Originally Posted by rm -rf View Post
Low gears!
I see your bike list has 2010 or older bikes. The 2010 Cannondale Six came with a 12-25 cassette, like many road bikes of the period.

Now, 11-28 is standard, and 11-32 comes on many bikes. I changed to an 11-32, it "just barely" fits on my short cage Ultegra derailleur, even though it's past the recommended range for the derailleur.

I can ride up 8% - 10% grades staying seated now. At a slow speed, below 4 mph, it's a very low cadence, but it's a moderate pedal pressure. I can climb much longer hills without burning matches. And the low gears are nice for spinning up an easy to moderate grade.

It's possible to retrofit an older bike with a long cage derailleur that accommodates bigger cassettes.


Long climbs
It's all about pacing if the gearing is low enough. I'd rather climb a 1500 foot 7% grade than do 5 repeats of a 300 foot 7% climb. There's no temptation to sprint near the top, just set a pace and climb steadily. And the big climbs tend to be scenic, too.

That 3 mile long, 8% average climb sounds challenging to me, but very doable. I've climbed up the similar grade, 4 mile long Mt Mitchell park road with no problems.
Yes, I'll admit the gears are probably not (yet) low enough, but a new cassette should fix that. The SIX has a compact crankset, and I may have an 11-28 cassette stashed away somewhere. I was using a compact crank and a 26 or 28 tooth "granny" when I last tried Paris Mtn, my second attempt. I blew up on the first! My legs gave out on the second, 100 yards from the summit! We have a lot of rollers around here, but not much for sustained pacing, so I'm kinda stuck with hill repeats for now.

I "trained" much like you seven years ago, using group rides to push my fitness levels. I may tag along on some rides next year. No way I could keep up this season.

I see you're a fan of power meters. Any particular recommendations? I was thinking of pedal systems, but a PowerTap rear wheel might be a better option.
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Old 06-10-19, 05:08 PM
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Originally Posted by Last ride 76 View Post
I just want to mention that I read someplace (yeah I know, unaccredited source from the internet, sheesh!) that interval training is not recommended for most older folks. It was a credible enough source (to me) that I decided to forego it at least until I'm able to discuss with a doc who understands sports medicine as it relates to me.
What I've read is that there's a higher likelihood of injury - like pulled muscles and torn ligaments... not really cardio-related. I think a personal trainer who works with older folks might have better advice than a doctor.

I turned 60 a few weeks ago and I feel great and I sometimes push pretty hard. I'm really careful about my knees though.
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Old 06-10-19, 05:48 PM
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Originally Posted by horatio View Post
Yes, I'll admit the gears are probably not (yet) low enough, but a new cassette should fix that. The SIX has a compact crankset, and I may have an 11-28 cassette stashed away somewhere. I was using a compact crank and a 26 or 28 tooth "granny" when I last tried Paris Mtn, my second attempt. I blew up on the first! My legs gave out on the second, 100 yards from the summit! We have a lot of rollers around here, but not much for sustained pacing, so I'm kinda stuck with hill repeats for now.

I "trained" much like you seven years ago, using group rides to push my fitness levels. I may tag along on some rides next year. No way I could keep up this season.

I see you're a fan of power meters. Any particular recommendations? I was thinking of pedal systems, but a PowerTap rear wheel might be a better option.
You should be able to find some group rides going your speeds. From slow casual conversational paced, to steady efforts, to strong hill climbing, to race pace. I can sit in the draft on faster rides that are fairly flat, but those same riders are much stronger on hilly rides.

Lower gears than 34-28 are helpful. It's funny, 6 or 8 years ago, a 34-32 was for the weaker riders that struggled on hills. Now it's the new normal gearing.

No local hills? My hills are mostly 250-300 feet tall, with any grade percentage that you could want, from long and shallow, to short and very steep. You could train for longer climbs with a moderately low cadence and a sustained hard effort on the flats -- but that's not as good as actually climbing hills.

I used a heart monitor for many years, mostly for pacing on climbs. Back then, I knew from experience that I could maintain 140-145 for hours, but over 150 only for shorter periods. The HRM kept me from starting too fast.

I like to spend on bike stuff, so I got a 4iiii crank power meter. It's fine for my usage, which is mainly for pacing and after ride analysis. I don't think power meters are necessary. But riders that like ride statistics will enjoy them.

It did work very well this weekend for pacing me up a local 7% 300 foot climb. Kind of fun to see if I can hold the same power all the way to the top.

Power is surprisingly variable from one second to the next. It's very hard to hold a set power: Power meter readings might show 192w, 205, 212,233,200, 202, 183, 195, 197... So most bike computers can average 3 seconds, 10 seconds, 30 seconds.

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Old 06-10-19, 05:56 PM
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There's a lot to be said for lower gears and listening to your body. It will tell you when you need to slack off a bit and take some time off. Recovery times are not what they used to be for sure. I don't really have any fancy training gear. I use a leyzne super gps and I keep an eye on my heart rate. I've also been focused a lot on cross training. A fitbit helps.
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Old 06-10-19, 06:09 PM
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Originally Posted by bikemig View Post
There's a lot to be said for lower gears and listening to your body. It will tell you when you need to slack off a bit and take some time off. Recovery times are not what they used to be for sure. I don't really have any fancy training gear. I use a leyzne super gps and I keep an eye on my heart rate. I've also been focused a lot on cross training. A fitbit helps.
I'm thinking of getting a Lezyne Super soon. How do you like yours?

I reviewed my notes about the Paris Mtn rides. My legs gave out year one and my lungs year two, so I had that reversed in my mind. I was riding an Ironman with a triple crank, 30x26 gearing, the second time.
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Old 06-10-19, 06:45 PM
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I retired in April @65 and I am trying to regain some of the fitness I lost over the last 2 years due to work interfering with my riding. I've always done seat of the pants type training and never used any electronics and have until the last 2 years done around 5-6000 miles and 300,000 feet of climbing, or so.

Now I have time to ride all I want but I have been tending to overdo it. I feel stronger so I go harder, trying to keep up with faster riders and it wipes me out the next day. Have not yet been able to get back the endurance that used to be my strong point.

Oh, and a lot of us wish we could ride with jppe.
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Old 06-10-19, 07:22 PM
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Originally Posted by horatio View Post
I'm thinking of getting a Lezyne Super soon. How do you like yours?

I reviewed my notes about the Paris Mtn rides. My legs gave out year one and my lungs year two, so I had that reversed in my mind. I was riding an Ironman with a triple crank, 30x26 gearing, the second time.
I got mine 2 or so years ago. I like it. The web interface is mediocre (Lezyne GPS root) but the unit is solid and priced right.
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Old 06-11-19, 01:06 PM
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Not seriously trying to argue...

Originally Posted by DiabloScott View Post
What I've read is that there's a higher likelihood of injury - like pulled muscles and torn ligaments... not really cardio-related. I think a personal trainer who works with older folks might have better advice than a doctor.



I turned 60 a few weeks ago and I feel great and I sometimes push pretty hard. I'm really careful about my knees though.
I seem to have gotten some bad information. Dang this internet thing, Lincoln was right...
Mayo Clinic and other reputable sources say good things about Hiit for older bodies. I'm thrilled to have been wrong, and my apologies to all. I usually don't post what I can't verify, but I went ahead in an abundance of caution.

Intervals, here I come...gulp... (Shut up legs)

Best regards, Eric

PS I'm glad you feel great, I also take special care of my knees, as much as manic skiing, and occasional soccer games allow. I do have a metal brace that I wore 3-4 years ago. I wore it constantly for 7 months (even sleeping), rather than opt for surgery. Luckily it worked out. I slap it back on at the first twinge, until the knee feels right again.

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Old 06-11-19, 02:48 PM
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Originally Posted by horatio View Post

I'm not young enough, nor do I have the time, to just "ride lots," like Eddy recommended. I need to ride smart, but I need to keep it fun. No riding buddies at the moment. It's just me. I figure I'll do specific work-out rides during the week (i.e. alternating interval and hill repeat sessions) with a fun/endurance ride on the weekends. I'm going to use a wattage calculator and the HRM initially to monitor progress. I've picked out some quiet roads nearby for those sessions.

Any tips from you 60+ iron-men?
It sounds like you already know much of what you need to know and that you have a realistic plan.

The only thing I'd add is that keeping it fun means variety. Doing the same specific work outs each week can get stale. Riding with friends helps let the miles go by, even if the ride isn't a disciplined work-out.

So my limited advice is vary your routes, vary your weekly routine, vary your goals, and at least occasionally, ride with some friends.

You already said it, but keep reminding yourself- it's supposed to be fun. If it's not, change something.
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Old 06-11-19, 03:35 PM
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Originally Posted by MinnMan View Post
It sounds like you already know much of what you need to know and that you have a realistic plan.

The only thing I'd add is that keeping it fun means variety. Doing the same specific work outs each week can get stale. Riding with friends helps let the miles go by, even if the ride isn't a disciplined work-out.

So my limited advice is vary your routes, vary your weekly routine, vary your goals, and at least occasionally, ride with some friends.

You already said it, but keep reminding yourself- it's supposed to be fun. If it's not, change something.
Good advice. Thanks.

I'm still planning the work-out specifics, and it may be awhile before I can buy a power meter, so I'll probably work on increasing endurance for now. The HRM should help with that.

There is a group that meets on Friday evenings in my community for a friendly, low-key ride. Perhaps I'll join them, if they are still active. I know the fast guys are still riding on Wednesdays - I've met them when returning on several rides.
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Old 06-11-19, 05:59 PM
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The excellent book ďFast After 50Ē by Joe Friel has a solid research background. He firmly believes that periods of intensity are required for us aging athletes. He caveats that by saying it needs to be a limited amount of intensity followed by true recovery. As we age, the recovery process slows, so that you canít do a double century on the weekend, followed by a fast group ride on Monday, hill repeats Tuesday, etc. Probably limited to only a couple intense sessions a week with easy rides in between. Additionally, as others mentioned, he talks about strength training to help avoid injuries while doing your intense workouts.
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Old 06-11-19, 07:59 PM
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Originally Posted by Boatdriver View Post
The excellent book ďFast After 50Ē by Joe Friel has a solid research background. He firmly believes that periods of intensity are required for us aging athletes. He caveats that by saying it needs to be a limited amount of intensity followed by true recovery. As we age, the recovery process slows, so that you canít do a double century on the weekend, followed by a fast group ride on Monday, hill repeats Tuesday, etc. Probably limited to only a couple intense sessions a week with easy rides in between. Additionally, as others mentioned, he talks about strength training to help avoid injuries while doing your intense workouts.
I came across this book while searching for Cycling Past 50. Gonna buy the Kindle version soon.
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Old 06-12-19, 04:21 AM
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Re: intervals. I’m 70 and try to do interval training twice a week at the gym. During riding season I do them on the elliptical, and off-season I use a stationary bike- both low impact. It’s my understanding that along with losing strength as we age (a reason for weight training), we lose aerobic capacity (VO2 max). Because of their intensity, intervals help us address that. I’m not doing anything outrageous: 20 minutes of 1:1 intervals.

Ive found it helpful to periodically schedule a session with a trainer who lives near me - a triathlete who is in her 60s.
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Old 06-12-19, 04:36 AM
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Originally Posted by DiabloScott View Post
What I've read is that there's a higher likelihood of injury - like pulled muscles and torn ligaments... not really cardio-related. I think a personal trainer who works with older folks might have better advice than a doctor.

I turned 60 a few weeks ago and I feel great and I sometimes push pretty hard. I'm really careful about my knees though.
So what do you do about taking care of your knees? I'm careful with them as well.

I run lower gears on my bikes and I generally spin the climbs. Not that there are a heck of a lot in central Iowa but there are some. I do a fair amount of riding though in the driftless region (SE MN and SW WI) where the hills are relentless and the grades can be pretty tough.
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Old 06-14-19, 08:00 AM
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Just turned 61 and I got and followed Joe Friel's Training Bible at 41 years old. (I think his Bible has some details/training advice that is not covered in the 50 books. At 45, I got a copy of Cycling Past 50, and then got Fast after 50 when it came out. Good Stuff. Your cardio vascular system will adapt to whatever situation you regularly put it in as will your legs. When work didn't allow regular riding (5 days/wk) and I didn't have lights for dark:30 riding, I got rollers. You could get a second hand trainer to get in more frequent rides. I've never used a power meter because of cost and I have several bikes that I ride regularly. Keep your core strong--cycling as we do is hard on the back. I do 10 minutes of Dead Bugs with 5 lb. weights and a bunch of back extensions on an excercise ball at least three times a week for my core. I ride with a faster-than-me group some Saturdays and they all use a compact and a 28-32. They convinced me to move up so I got a 28 that I use when I ride with them. My other rides are using vintage 42-24 or 39/23. Every ride is a training ride. Recovery rides are training rides. Ride lots
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Old 06-15-19, 08:37 AM
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I turn 60 in a few days and I've been riding since my late 40's. I've gotten in pretty good riding shape in those years, and have extended that to running over the last few and I'm fairly strong at that now.

I'm sure that Friel's books are insightful, but I'd caution that virtually everything on the internet, or conventional training dogma, are geared for the 20-40 age range and at best inapplicable for our age. In my opinion, our primary objective above all else is: incremental improvements. NO formal training schedule beyond distance and pace goals, no scheduled high intensity intervals. We have to be mentally flexible enough to change the plan on a daily basis, based on evaluating our instant state of recovery while disciplined enough to achieve enough training stress for adaptations. The two lines get closer together the older we get, and no planned-out training schedule can accommodate that for older athletes not already in peak form.

We have to ratchet it up. Stress, adaptation, healing of whatever takes the biggest hit, and THEN ticking up the performance goals, normalize that and repeat. It's a totally different pattern, a different paradigm than for younger athletes who can afford to take things to limits and then power onward a few days later.

Because of that I'm not a big fan of HIIT. I say, sprint when you feel like it. Vary the distances and intensities. Hit it on hills. But do not start out with a goal of X number of 1 minute all out, 1 minute rest nor any other pattern like that. The recovery period will drain the gains. But do the sprints when we can, 1 minute, 20 minutes, whatever, we will gain from that also without crossing a line that stops us for a day or days.
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Old 06-15-19, 03:31 PM
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Originally Posted by wphamilton View Post
I turn 60 in a few days and I've been riding since my late 40's. I've gotten in pretty good riding shape in those years, and have extended that to running over the last few and I'm fairly strong at that now.

I'm sure that Friel's books are insightful, but I'd caution that virtually everything on the internet, or conventional training dogma, are geared for the 20-40 age range and at best inapplicable for our age. In my opinion, our primary objective above all else is: incremental improvements. NO formal training schedule beyond distance and pace goals, no scheduled high intensity intervals. We have to be mentally flexible enough to change the plan on a daily basis, based on evaluating our instant state of recovery while disciplined enough to achieve enough training stress for adaptations. The two lines get closer together the older we get, and no planned-out training schedule can accommodate that for older athletes not already in peak form.

We have to ratchet it up. Stress, adaptation, healing of whatever takes the biggest hit, and THEN ticking up the performance goals, normalize that and repeat. It's a totally different pattern, a different paradigm than for younger athletes who can afford to take things to limits and then power onward a few days later.

Because of that I'm not a big fan of HIIT. I say, sprint when you feel like it. Vary the distances and intensities. Hit it on hills. But do not start out with a goal of X number of 1 minute all out, 1 minute rest nor any other pattern like that. The recovery period will drain the gains. But do the sprints when we can, 1 minute, 20 minutes, whatever, we will gain from that also without crossing a line that stops us for a day or days.
Oh, I'm all for incremental improvement! Most training books seem geared toward competitive athletes: recreational riders, not so much. I have, or at least had, a book on endurance riding. IIRC, the training plan was different, but I can't recall any specifics. Recommendations tend to be specific, targeted for different competitions. The training you need for a triathlon is different from what you need for crit races, or stage races.

I'm not a competitive rider, but I do see value in systematic training. Figuring out what to train for is the hard part. I used a HRM consistently in the past and it helped, but I could never accurately gauge my effort, so I would start out too hard. I can't tell you how many times I got dropped on groups rides in the past because I could not close a gap, usually late in the ride, when I'd "burned all my matches." From what I gather, interval training is geared towards helping one bridge gaps, or for attacks, when acceleration is needed for brief periods. I never practiced interval training before, but I think it would be a good tool to have available, especially for group rides or evading dogs that give chase!

I think a power meter will give me a more accurate indication of how hard I'm working, whether I'm training for endurance, speed or climbing. I think it will be useful for regular rides as well.
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