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Old Age and Fear of Detraining

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Fifty Plus (50+) Share the victories, challenges, successes and special concerns of bicyclists 50 and older. Especially useful for those entering or reentering bicycling.

Old Age and Fear of Detraining

Old 12-15-15, 12:00 PM
  #26  
deacon mark
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Many years of non-stop long distance running and cycling build up a base that is actually pretty good for a long time. Check out Tim Noakes the Lore of Running. Not a cycling book but can easily be used for the same purpose. Just maintain a minimal level of something such as the trainer. Even walking 4-5 miles a day will keep you going. Most older long time endurance athletes require less training to maintain fitness and it actually helps with recovery. Recovery it the key. I use to be able to run and almost no matter what 24 hours later I was able again. While I still overtrain for sure I run and ride faster when I back off. I can tell you I am going to test the theory recovering from the broken hip last week.

I was riding 250 mile weeks in August and Sept and then went back to running mostly. I road one day a week about 30-50 miles and over 8 weeks later I have not trouble keep the same pace for rides of up to 50 miles. You really can ride outside in most cases just avoid ice ( my hip knows) and get a good Bike Gore Wear Jacket. It is good to 25 degrees easy the only problem is the feet freeze.
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Old 12-15-15, 12:10 PM
  #27  
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I live in NC as well and ride year-round with little dropoff in mileage during winter. In many respects, winter is my favorite time of the year for cycling because you don't sweat as much, your water stays cold and it just feels good to exercise outdoors. There are several keys to cycling through the winter. First, keep riding because it's much harder to start back up in cold weather. Second, invest in some good winter cycling clothes -- tights, vests, jackets, long-sleeve jerseys, gloves, balakavas, shoe covers, etc. Learn to layer clothes so items can be removed if temps warm up. Don't overdress because sweating will make you colder. Third, get some good headlights and taillights and keep them on your bike if there is any possibility that it could get dark while riding (such as an unexpected flat). Fourth, find some other cyclists to ride with because it's easier to face the cold if you can share the pain with others and perhaps stop for coffee or beer afterwards. Fifth, accept the inevitable and use common sense when weather conditions make it unsafe to ride. I don't ride when roads are icy or snowy because it's not worth the risk and I don't want to invest in studded tires for weather conditions that only happen once or twice most winters here.
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Old 12-15-15, 03:00 PM
  #28  
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If you're riding 1000 miles per month at a high level then of course you are going to notice the difference by cutting down to 500, but that is as much as some of us do in a high mileage month. My point is if you are doing 500 it won't take long to get back up to your previous level.

I used to live in the mountains and I would ride the mtb in the snow and it was great fun. Now I sometimes road bike into the 20s and as long as I have the right clothes, it's fine.

Pcad told me about putting chemical warmers inside my toe covers and it works great.
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Old 12-15-15, 07:37 PM
  #29  
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FWIW, I guess that I should take this "mortal fear" and make it work to my advantage. I set myself a couple of 2015 goals toward the end of 2014, abandoned one as too aggressive and scaled it back, met that goal, and then met the original one earlier this month. There is no reason (in NC, anyway) that I can't keep up my summer riding effort (to an 80% level anyway) through the winter. So do that. Last winter my riding was more like 5 to 8 hours per week, but I "didn't have that mortal fear thing going for me"

dave

ps. I will set some goals for next year and one will probably be some kind of performance target at the Six Gap Century. That should be fun :-). A friend of mine told me that his goal was to ride the Six Gap in his big (53) chainring. Then he asked "know where I can find a 49 tooth cassette?" I thought that was kind of funny.
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Old 12-15-15, 07:56 PM
  #30  
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OP, believe it or not....I "detrain" in the summer months. I'm 66 as well and here in N.GA the temps and humidity are almost always in the nineties from June until September. Even the early morning hours can be swampy and I hate it. I feel guilty about it, but the summers just seem to keep getting warmer and the humidity off the charts.
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Old 12-15-15, 08:11 PM
  #31  
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Originally Posted by smoore View Post
OP, believe it or not....I "detrain" in the summer months. I'm 66 as well and here in N.GA the temps and humidity are almost always in the nineties from June until September. Even the early morning hours can be swampy and I hate it. I feel guilty about it, but the summers just seem to keep getting warmer and the humidity off the charts.
I think you and I are the last two people on BF with Look 585s.

The weather where I am is about the same, and I ride just about every day in the summer. Watching the sun rise while atop my saddle is wonderful! I just accept the soaking from 100% humidity.
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Old 12-16-15, 02:11 AM
  #32  
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What exactly do you fear from a LITTLE DETRAINING at our age?

My recommendation would be to have a beer, de-stress, and try a little cross training.
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Old 12-16-15, 02:23 AM
  #33  
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Originally Posted by DaveLeeNC View Post
FWIW, I guess that I should take this "mortal fear" and make it work to my advantage. I set myself a couple of 2015 goals toward the end of 2014, abandoned one as too aggressive and scaled it back, met that goal, and then met the original one earlier this month. There is no reason (in NC, anyway) that I can't keep up my summer riding effort (to an 80% level anyway) through the winter. So do that. Last winter my riding was more like 5 to 8 hours per week, but I "didn't have that mortal fear thing going for me"

dave
If you can spend 8 hours per week on the bike you can stay in excellent shape. Read the Friel book @revchuck recommended and you'll be golden.

And close your ears to the "why don't you put your feet up?" brigade. If that's what they want to do, that's fine - for them. Your desires are different. And maintaining the intensity keeps you young. A couple of years ago I raced with a gentleman who was disappointed with himself because he'd taken 64 minutes for a 25 mile TT the previous day. He was 72 years old.
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Old 12-16-15, 04:29 AM
  #34  
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You could follow Kevin Metcalfe's program where he does 16 wks of SST intervals during the winter. 5 days a week Mon to Fri he does 2 20 min intervals at 85 to 95 % of FTP they're hard enough to maintain fitness but easy enough to do consistently every day. On the weekend he'll do longer rides, weather permitting.

He's around 55 and consistently performs at the top of his age group at a national level.

https://www.strava.com/activities/450601900/overview
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Old 12-16-15, 08:10 AM
  #35  
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join a gym with stationary bikes, weight training & pick up swimming?
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Old 12-16-15, 09:14 AM
  #36  
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We've talked about having the right equipment for the colder temperatures, motivation, hardening up and ways to get more miles in, which is all good but maybe misses a piece of it.

Speaking personally, I'll get the miles all winter (relative to my summer riding) with maybe only 30-50 miles per week drop-off but there's still detraining. So much in the dark, and wet, they're just miles without much effort. And if the cold air causes any sort of distress in breathing it's difficult to be consistent with threshold intervals, HIIT, or things of that nature. So it's not always just a matter of getting out on the bike; there can be a qualitative difference.

I'm not proposing a solution - I just consider it all "base miles" and try to make it up in the Spring. But more every year I feel like it's more urgent to replace the intense efforts with some other kind of exercise.
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Old 12-16-15, 09:19 AM
  #37  
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Originally Posted by revchuck View Post
I think you and I are the last two people on BF with Look 585s.

The weather where I am is about the same, and I ride just about every day in the summer. Watching the sun rise while atop my saddle is wonderful! I just accept the soaking from 100% humidity.
I'm sure you know all about humidity in Louisiana. Glad you like your 585, I really think mine is the finest bike I've had, just love it and obviously it has a bit of a cult following.
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Old 12-16-15, 11:27 AM
  #38  
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Originally Posted by wphamilton View Post
We've talked about having the right equipment for the colder temperatures, motivation, hardening up and ways to get more miles in, which is all good but maybe misses a piece of it.

Speaking personally, I'll get the miles all winter (relative to my summer riding) with maybe only 30-50 miles per week drop-off but there's still detraining. So much in the dark, and wet, they're just miles without much effort. And if the cold air causes any sort of distress in breathing it's difficult to be consistent with threshold intervals, HIIT, or things of that nature. So it's not always just a matter of getting out on the bike; there can be a qualitative difference.

I'm not proposing a solution - I just consider it all "base miles" and try to make it up in the Spring. But more every year I feel like it's more urgent to replace the intense efforts with some other kind of exercise.
I'm a big fan of periodized training. Maybe the seasons are genetically built into us. I like them, anyway. You can't maintain your highest level of fitness. If you think you can, you're not as fit as you could be. So #1, you have to accept that. Once you've accepted that, then you can think about how to make that peak higher, which will mean periodizing your training in some fashion.

I notice that I'm for sure faster if I'm more muscularly strong. Strength comes from two sources: muscle mass and neurological activation. OTOH, one's climbing speed is proportional to one's strength/weight ratio. It works well for me to train in the gym in winter to build strength, lose fat, and then lose the excess muscle mass on the bike in the spring, hoping to keep the neurological part.

Building strength in the gym is incompatible with riding hard, so in winter build base on the bike. In winter, gym work provides the intensity. In spring and summer, intervals provide the intensity. We substitute interval work for strength work, putting that newly acquired strength to good use. Hard work on the bike gradually eats up those muscles so that by fall we're noticeably weaker muscularly. Similarly hard rides and intervals eat into our base training, so we lose base. We have become faster on the bike, but it can't last.

If we continued this level of on-bike effort into the fall, we'd get slower as we got weaker. Trying not to get slower would result in overtraining. Thus it's time to take a short break, then rebuild base and muscular strength.

Every fall, I work out a year's plan for how all that's going to go. I schedule my periodized strength training, going from whole body to cycling focused to leg strength maintenance. I plan when and in what progression I'll do pedaling drills on my rollers. I plan my periodized interval training for spring and summer, leading up to the events in which I want to do well. Of course this may not all work out as planned. I'll have to modify the program as I go, but at least I have some idea of how and when I'm going to peak in the gym and on the bike.

Almost every year, I've trained a little differently. Partly that's to see what different training methods might do, partly because my goals for the year might be different, and partly because as I've aged or gotten smarter different things seem to work better. It takes at least a year to see what results are obtained from different training methods, sometimes more than one year. It works better if one is patient with the process.
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Old 12-16-15, 06:23 PM
  #39  
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Originally Posted by Carbonfiberboy View Post
Maybe the seasons are genetically built into us.
A shrewd observation.

The very Old School training of my 1st coach and the "modern" techniques of the Eddie B. era used the natural rhythm of the seasons and of the racing calendar to build to peaks and repeat year after year growing tougher/stronger/faster/smarter without injury or burn out. (Until our age where it's been all downhill for some time now.)

Winter was the time for mental/physical recovery, play and cross training to enter the new season refreshed and ready for the long miles building greater Endurance, the big loads building greater Strength and the pain of greater Speed. Even the young and amazingly capable professionals use a specific winter plan to Recover for the new season's stress.

Get a winter plan together and work it: FG road miles, 'cross, weight training, running, XC ski, speed skating, tango dancing, trainer, rollers, MTB or all.
The windy/wet slog of Spring is coming, be mentally prepared to suck it up and go out refreshed strong enough and ready.
Peak fitness is a fleeting thing, it is seasonal and must be carefully cultivated.

PS: Instead of watching tube in the dark do a full overhaul of the primary bike, your efforts will be rewarded with no need for any big maintenance during the season when you should be fully knackered and unable to turn a wrench.

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Old 12-16-15, 06:46 PM
  #40  
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Originally Posted by Carbonfiberboy View Post
I'm a big fan of periodized training. Maybe the seasons are genetically built into us. I like them, anyway. You can't maintain your highest level of fitness. If you think you can, you're not as fit as you could be. So #1, you have to accept that. Once you've accepted that, then you can think about how to make that peak higher, which will mean periodizing your training in some fashion.

SNIP
While I believe that the statement above is correct, I wonder if it applies to any of us. I have achieved some level of fitness that, on some scale, is "high". But I don't think that it is 'my peak' and, quite seriously, I doubt that I will ever hit that point. Or put another way I don't think that I have ever in my life, or ever will in my life, hit a peak high enough that it would be unsustainable over a long period.

But I am just guessing here.

dave
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Old 12-16-15, 08:15 PM
  #41  
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Back in my younger running days I would follow a structured training program when keying on a target race. Now I'm happy to maintain a relatively high level of fitness (whatever that means) and I enjoy my training. I don't really stress out over fluctuations in my fitness level as long as the bottom doesn't fall out. Don't kid yourself at any age but even more so at our age it's a lot easier to maintain fitness than it is to regain it.
I'm happy to do my rides, including intervals and longer rides, with some basic strength training including kettlebells and body weight exercise along with some yoga. I just keep an eye out for overtraining since I have a tendency to over do it.
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Old 12-16-15, 09:47 PM
  #42  
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Just an opinion but there is really nothing to fear unless you are getting paid for you fitness level. But then I may have developed a whole new perspective over the last few months. Back in October I ended up having a quad-bypass open heart. It was a total surprise as I had done a 50 mile ride on Monday and a 47 mile ride on Wednesday before having a heart test on Thursday. By Friday I was on the table with a surgeon re-wiring my heart. Then I was told no riding for 90 days.

My my first thought was I was doomed but the surgeon said I could ride a stationary bike and walk as much as I wanted. So I have learned to walk a lot and spend time on the trainer using a flat bar much like a stationary bike. So I am not worried about losing fitness I am determined to get to whatever level I can whenever I can.

At 68 I may not be as fast as I used to be but I intend to a happier cyclists and enjoy my rides more.
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Old 12-16-15, 11:21 PM
  #43  
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Am fortunate that I still ride +/- 100 miles a week at age 83.
I do live insouthern Arizona, but unlike you I do not have to worry about winter.
However, how would like riding in 110+ degree summers?
Pick your time of day, layer up and/or use raingear.
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Old 12-17-15, 04:22 AM
  #44  
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Originally Posted by DaveLeeNC View Post
While I believe that the statement above is correct, I wonder if it applies to any of us. I have achieved some level of fitness that, on some scale, is "high". But I don't think that it is 'my peak' and, quite seriously, I doubt that I will ever hit that point. Or put another way I don't think that I have ever in my life, or ever will in my life, hit a peak high enough that it would be unsustainable over a long period.

But I am just guessing here.

dave
It certainly applies to some of us. And there's a difference between your peak in terms of fully realising your genetic potential, and "peaking" for a particular race or event. The former takes years of work to develop your aerobic and neuromuscular systems etc. The latter involves a periodized plan to ensure that you achieve the best possible balance between freshness and fitness on a given date in the not-too-distant future.

Given your history as a runner and your ability to ride a 20mph century aged 66, I'd say you're likely to have come much closer to fulfilling your athletic potential than most here. And if you want to peak - in either sense - then the experience of many generations of athletes suggests that it makes sense to back off for a while and consolidate one's gains before building on those new, stronger foundations to reach a still higher point. So I'd agree with Carbonfibreboy about periodization. However, I'd also agree with you that there is probably little risk to you in maintsining the sort of intensity we've discussed. The crucial issue, for me, is recovery. It's much much better to take an extra day off between workouts than it is to stick to some planned schedule irrespective of fatigue.
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Old 12-17-15, 04:45 PM
  #45  
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Get out in the woods, Go Fat, (Fat Bike)
Salsa Cycles
Off road riding is very Intense, will make you very powerful,

Velominati, 'Keepers of the Cog' ,,,,the rules: http://www.velominati.com/the-rules/

Rule 9 applies here,,
  • Fair-weather riding is a luxury reserved for Sunday afternoons and wide boulevards. Those who ride in foul weather – be it cold, wet, or inordinately hot – are members of a special club of riders who, on the morning of a big ride, pull back the curtain to check the weather and, upon seeing rain falling from the skies, allow a wry smile to spread across their face. This is a rider who loves the work.
I do not 'train', EVER!
I ride for me, I ride Hard and in extreme heat during the summer and love it~

Last edited by osco53; 12-17-15 at 04:53 PM.
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Old 12-18-15, 01:16 AM
  #46  
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Originally Posted by osco53 View Post
I do not 'train', EVER!
Yes, you do. Your body doesn't care what you call it.
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Old 12-18-15, 06:49 AM
  #47  
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Originally Posted by Wildwood View Post
What exactly do you fear from a LITTLE DETRAINING at our age?
The problem is, aerobic fitness goes down and weight goes up. And every year that passes makes recovery harder.
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Old 12-18-15, 08:50 AM
  #48  
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I just came across this article on the Training Peaks Site. Worth a read since I think it applies to this topic.
The Myth of Winter Base Training For Cyclists | TrainingPeaks
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Old 12-18-15, 09:40 AM
  #49  
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Maybe slightly off topic but Marty Liquori is about the same age as the Original Poster. He rides a bike for aerobics, but only after his running career. It might have to do with a previous leukemia bout and his work with the Lymphoma and Leukemia Society. You know, those "Riders in Training" that we sometimes see on the road.

Marty tells me other former runners that he knows, also ride now.
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Old 12-18-15, 09:15 PM
  #50  
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Gym quality LifeFitness LifeCycle recumbent and some weight work in basement gym be the answer for me. I'm 72 and I don't consider "detraining"/slacking off over the winter an option. Back in the day mebbe, but no way now. Forty five minutes minimum cardio "not every day but at least every other day" has become a religion.
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