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Riding Changes, Aging, and Days Off

Old 06-07-20, 01:46 PM
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DaveLeeNC
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Riding Changes, Aging, and Days Off

It wasn't that long ago that I could just let rest days happen when personal circumstances made riding difficult. 2 or 3 years ago if nothing came up and I ended up riding 9 days in a row - no big deal.

Fast forward just a couple years to age 71 and that is no longer the case. Given a riding pattern of rest day, next day a ride of some consequence but not a race kind of thing, and on the 3rd day I am really dragging. It shows in how I feel (HR vs. RPE is very different, for example) and it shows in the data (power, speed, etc). Tack on another day to the end of that and it will tend to be a miserable ride (where the previous day wasn't that great).

So I am going to have to start enforcing rest days. For me 10-11 hours per week tends to work well and fit in my plans, and it is not clear that at this point I need to change that as a target. So I was thinking of either riding 3 hours every other day or maybe a pattern of 2.5 hours, 2 hours, rest day. Rides longer than 3 hours tend to be both somewhat inconvenient and a very unwanted stressor on my arthritic knees. And 3 hours on a regular basis is something of a stretch here which is the primary motivation for the 2.5, 2, rest plan.

The 'training purpose' here is just to be sure that I have a good base so that if I decided to ever do something 'competitive' that whatever event specific training is required would be coming from a good start.

I am sure that other old guys like me have faced this problem so was just fishing for comments/perspective.

dave
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Old 06-07-20, 02:14 PM
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I feel you! Two years ago, I was riding over 10,000 miles a year. Last it dropped to 8,000 miles and this year Iím running 1,000 miles behind last year. Iím two years older than you. My ride weeks consisted of 40 to 60 mile rides, six days a week. Now, Iím doing more 40 mile rides than 50 and 60 mile rides and riding three, sometimes four, days a week. It really sucks! 🤬
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Old 06-07-20, 02:31 PM
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The 'training purpose' here is just to be sure that I have a good base so that if I decided to ever do something 'competitive' that whatever event specific training is required would be coming from a good start.
There's a lot going on in that statement. There are mental constructs that humans endeavor to understand. They are called "dreams."
If you are riding a bicycle at 71 - I would have thought you had already acquired the maturity to know how much - and how hard - bicycle riding should be for a given day, or days.
If you do have a specific event in which you feel a need to excel - then ask your doctor or friends that know you and your riding ability whether the event is worth the training effort.

I noodle around most of the time - but I sucked it up last year and road a 6:20 Century in October - I could have gone faster, but I could have hurt myself as well. A man has got to know his limitations.........
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Old 06-07-20, 02:42 PM
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Originally Posted by Richard Cranium View Post
There's a lot going on in that statement. There are mental constructs that humans endeavor to understand. They are called "dreams."
If you are riding a bicycle at 71 - I would have thought you had already acquired the maturity to know how much - and how hard - bicycle riding should be for a given day, or days.
If you do have a specific event in which you feel a need to excel - then ask your doctor or friends that know you and your riding ability whether the event is worth the training effort.

I noodle around most of the time - but I sucked it up last year and road a 6:20 Century in October - I could have gone faster, but I could have hurt myself as well. A man has got to know his limitations.........
My problem is that my limitations are changing faster than I can assimilate them. dave
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Old 06-07-20, 05:11 PM
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Riding Changes,Aging and Days Off

AT 77 (one week from 78) I recently changed my training from 13 hours a week to around 10. I do ride 6 days a week with Mondays off the bike. Rather than ride up to 200 mi weeks I am now around 130 but with interval training on a smart trainer, one endurance or recovery ride and Saturday and Sunday group Hammer Sessions with 50-60 year olds. I used a coach to get focused training and have increased threshold power and speed endurance. You can't go back to riding the way we did in our 40's but can use less but more focused training to retain a lot of the old fitness.
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Old 06-07-20, 07:12 PM
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I’ve never been very scientific about it. I try to ride daily, and when my legs feel like wood, I spend less time checking my average speed. I have nothing but climbs from my home so I get something. If it gets late in a day that’s gotten away from me, it becomes a rest day. It happens a couple of days a week. It’s just so good to be out on the road getting salty.

I’d call today a rest day though I rode. Wife wanted to ride so we did a heritage rail/trail near York, PA. Surprisingly lovely. I hung with her for a third of the ride then pumped my gravel grinder and caught up later. It was good to turn legs though not a fan of sustained flat.

i think if I really pushed it, and that’s pretty relative at 68, I’d do rests.

stay upright,
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Old 06-07-20, 09:10 PM
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I'm totally scientific about it. I go by my TrainingPeaks Performance Manager Chart. I do what the numbers say I can do, and sure enough, science works. My double-check on that is HRV and morning resting and standing HRs. I especially watch my HF power (parasympathetic system) in my HRV app. I track my training stress with a PM on the bike and a HRM for all off bike training. Works like a charm. Like you say, over 70, and things change so fast that it's hard to keep up with it, in terms of what to do tomorrow morning. Fortunately, right along with these physical changes are the symptoms of them, like FTP and LTHR. Keep track of those, and CTL and TSB will stay valid numbers, though one's permissible continuous CTL does drop with the years. It's all quite noticeable in the HRM and HRV monitoring though.

I've been taking 1-2 rest days/week, which is what I've always done. My weekly mileage is down, but for the past couple months it's mostly because I've got this horrible saddle sore I can't so far get rid of. Another appointment in a couple days. I've taken up running in response to take up the slack. I've been keeping my training stress score (TSS) in the 400-500/week range. I went out for 1:06 of intervals and hard JRA today and got a TSS of 106, IF of .98. That's a good workout at any age, just that my watts and miles are lower. Yeah, I'm slower, but I try to work just under my limits, just like I've always done. As you note, the trick is to know where those are. Science helps.

People will tell you how many miles and thousands of feet they are riding and I ignore all of that. Everyone's different. Asking others about their stats and days off, etc., maybe isn't even a good idea. Too depressing sometimes, and too encouraging other times.
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Old 06-08-20, 08:29 AM
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As a ďnewbieĒ, and at soon to be 52, Iím going to chime in!

I have been shocked and utterly amazed at the standards of fitness so many of you have as people in you 60s and 70s and even more. Most people consider a half hour-45 minutes of exercise a day to be excellent. And 1.5 or 2 hours to be something only elite level and competitive athletes can do.

Many of you have set a standard so high for yourselves and I hope you realize it. I can imagine itís disheartening to not be able to hit 2-3 hour rides everyday and having to dial it back a little. But my hats off to you guys for even being able to have this conversation!
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Old 06-08-20, 08:36 AM
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4 times a week (Including one interval session) for me plus one high intensity strength workout and recovery stuff thrown in for good measure. There is absolutely no events happening due to the pandemic so I have no short term goals other than fitness. Fitness is too broad for me. I do my best when surrounded by others who are equal to or better than me. Structured training with a coach and a bunch of motivated athletes works for me but grinding out miles and TSS just not so much if at all.

I do not think about age and training volume/intensity. And I am careful to listen to my body when it makes sense such as an injury. And I match the volume and intensity to the planned events. So I am not a big mileage 7 day per week guy because a long event for me is 20K time trial.

Maybe the anti aging formula is a volume block, week off, another volume block , week off, then intensity block with a light volume block then week off. Power and strength increases. Why not assume that there is a custom formula for all of us that allows performance increases versus assuming an aging decrease? And I am not being Pollyanna. I see the same aging decreases in some of the time trial stats as one ages. However, don’t look at them. Today, we have old masters racers at the track and time trial that are killing world records. Look at those guys.

IMO, volume week after week after week doing the same thing generates a plateau and stale mental attitude that leads to decreasing strength and endurance. Keep it fresh and interesting.

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Old 06-08-20, 12:18 PM
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Originally Posted by Hermes View Post
4 times a week (Including one interval session) for me plus one high intensity strength workout and recovery stuff thrown in for good measure. There is absolutely no events happening due to the pandemic so I have no short term goals other than fitness. Fitness is too broad for me. I do my best when surrounded by others who are equal to or better than me. Structured training with a coach and a bunch of motivated athletes works for me but grinding out miles and TSS just not so much if at all.

I do not think about age and training volume/intensity. And I am careful to listen to my body when it makes sense such as an injury. And I match the volume and intensity to the planned events. So I am not a big mileage 7 day per week guy because a long event for me is 20K time trial.

Maybe the anti aging formula is a volume block, week off, another volume block , week off, then intensity block with a light volume block then week off. Power and strength increases. Why not assume that there is a custom formula for all of us that allows performance increases versus assuming an aging decrease? And I am not being Pollyanna. I see the same aging decreases in some of the time trial stats as one ages. However, donít look at them. Today, we have old masters racers at the track and time trial that are killing world records. Look at those guys.

IMO, volume week after week after week doing the same thing generates a plateau and stale mental attitude that leads to decreasing strength and endurance. Keep it fresh and interesting.
Good points. If you do Strava, look at your AG segment times and get a big boost. What's past is past. We did good. We're still doing good. I set up a year-long training program, where my training keeps morphing. I don't have any big rides this year either, but I was trying to train in the same manner - except I can't because of this frigging saddle sore! So I've changed it up and am focusing on things on which I don't get to focus at this time in a normal year. One thing I'm focusing on is having fun, you know, not in the normal American sense of fun, but in the training cyclist sense of fun. Getting really painful legs from a workout which shows results is fun. Like that.

On a completely different subject, I've tried CBD oil. I started a week or so ago. I had to look around a lot to find a reputable source which I could afford. I went with the Hammer version, a $25 bottle which lasts a month. Yes, still expensive, more than tires. Maybe just during the season. 1ml under the tongue just before I hit the hay. Wonderfully improved sleep, better legs the next day, and a weird but explainable detail, my morning standing HF power from my HRV app has gone way up, and that's something I've been watching for a few years. My first symptom of getting PMR is when that went through the floor. I got the idea that this might work from a Chris Carmichael article about his experience on the Tour of California course.
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Old 06-08-20, 03:34 PM
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At 82 I find that riding every other day works for me. I try to ride anywhere from 20 to 35 miles depending on the usual routes I take. Riding every day seem to leave me a bit too tired.
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Old 06-08-20, 04:52 PM
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Originally Posted by DaveLeeNC View Post
My problem is that my limitations are changing faster than I can assimilate them. dave
I understand that. After I retired in 2019 I upped my riding to around 13+ hours per week to try and get back to the rear of the group, instead of watching them ride away. Years ago it didn't take much for me to build back up but it keeps getting harder. I'm not scientific about training or diet and I'm 66, 200 pounds. I usually do 5-6000 miles per year with at least 300,000 feet of climbing.
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Old 06-08-20, 05:51 PM
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I'm in awe of those that ride 5-10 thousand a year into their 70's and 80's. It has to end though and it should not mean that you're not among the most fit for your age group. If you rode 2K per year, a drop for some, would your heart rate rise, BP, cholesterol? I think not. Any Doctor would tell you that 10 hours of hard exertion weekly is great.

FWIW, I'm 67 and ride every other day for 30-40 miles, about 2500 miles yearly. . I could do more, but I've an older house to work on, a wood shop, a boat,like to hike, gardens etc. Those are things I love. Just saying that if you can't keep up with those you used to, adding other interests to the mix might be an alternative. I've had a goal the past 15 years of riding a century on or around my birthday (July), I gear up for it and grit it out solo.. Then I'm free to enjoy the rest of the summer with lite riding until the fall when it is just spectacular here and I ride hard for another 2 months.

Might be time to relax a bit, you've earned it.
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Old 06-08-20, 08:36 PM
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Originally Posted by Champlaincycler View Post
I'm in awe of those that ride 5-10 thousand a year into their 70's and 80's. It has to end though and it should not mean that you're not among the most fit for your age group. If you rode 2K per year, a drop for some, would your heart rate rise, BP, cholesterol? I think not. Any Doctor would tell you that 10 hours of hard exertion weekly is great.
While it's nice that cycling provides health benefits, that's not why I do it. I don't really care about it that much. It's fun and it's a big part of my social life, at least it was before the virus. My motivation is to keep up. I know it doesn't last forever and it keeps getting harder but a long, tough ride with good friends is a great memory.
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Old 06-09-20, 06:15 AM
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Originally Posted by Carbonfiberboy View Post
I'm totally scientific about it. I go by my TrainingPeaks Performance Manager Chart. I do what the numbers say I can do, and sure enough, science works. My double-check on that is HRV and morning resting and standing HRs. I especially watch my HF power (parasympathetic system) in my HRV app. I track my training stress with a PM on the bike and a HRM for all off bike training. Works like a charm. Like you say, over 70, and things change so fast that it's hard to keep up with it, in terms of what to do tomorrow morning. Fortunately, right along with these physical changes are the symptoms of them, like FTP and LTHR. Keep track of those, and CTL and TSB will stay valid numbers, though one's permissible continuous CTL does drop with the years. It's all quite noticeable in the HRM and HRV monitoring though.

I've been taking 1-2 rest days/week, which is what I've always done. My weekly mileage is down, but for the past couple months it's mostly because I've got this horrible saddle sore I can't so far get rid of. Another appointment in a couple days. I've taken up running in response to take up the slack. I've been keeping my training stress score (TSS) in the 400-500/week range. I went out for 1:06 of intervals and hard JRA today and got a TSS of 106, IF of .98. That's a good workout at any age, just that my watts and miles are lower. Yeah, I'm slower, but I try to work just under my limits, just like I've always done. As you note, the trick is to know where those are. Science helps.

People will tell you how many miles and thousands of feet they are riding and I ignore all of that. Everyone's different. Asking others about their stats and days off, etc., maybe isn't even a good idea. Too depressing sometimes, and too encouraging other times.
CFB, I am curious about your HRV process. The last time I looked into that I discovered that I did not have a HR Strap that could do that measurement adequately. From what I can tell data acquisition here is critical and not as simple as just HR. I know that you said the you input your data into TP. What hardware and process do you use to acquire the data?

Thanks.

dave
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Old 06-09-20, 11:46 AM
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About 10 years ago, I realized that trying to train harder didn't work anymore and I had to start training smarter instead. One thing totally not about your question - I'm on Chris Carmichael's CTS email list, so I get articles maybe once a week. An interesting thing about CTS is that Chris is famous and thus his coaches are expensive and thus he attracts cyclists with money which is going to include a lot of older riders. The last article had a section saying that if you're older, like over 40 or 50 (!), and you take time completely off for a couple months say, you won't be able to get it back no matter what you do. I'm guessing that this info is not theoretical. They've seen it. This isn't directed to you, just a general observation. I had that experience maybe 15 years ago when I took a winter off and vowed that I would never do that again!

But back to your question about HRV:
I've been tracking my morning resting and standing HRs and the difference between them for decades. In my late 60s I started having trouble interpreting my data. It didn't seem reliable anymore. Doing hard days back-to-back didn't raise my standing HR like it used to - sometimes it even dropped. I had HRV recommended to me by another BF member. Being me, I researched HRV as best I could to try to find out what information I would be trying to acquire. I learned that phone apps were the way to go, so I looked at various apps to see what their ratings were and what information they produced. I settled on Elite HRV, for better or worse. Once one settles on an app, one is pretty much committed to staying with it. Continuity is a necessity because what one does is to compare today to the past. The Elite HRV interface is a bit impenetrable, but like any phone app, one just has to screw with it until one can figure out where all the screens are and what they do. It's baffling at first or at least it was for this geezer. Here's a link to a user's guide. Hopefully if one signs up, they send you a more recent one. https://elitehrv.com/wp-content/uplo...2015-10-03.pdf

Yes, data acquisition is critical. For HRV, I use an Android phone with the Polar H10 transmitter and strap. A Garmin ANT+ transmitter and strap will also work with Android, but not with iPhone. The strap and transmitter are touchier when used for HRV than for simple HR. The strap has to be moistened and just so, and often the transmitter snaps also have to be licked as well to get perfect reception. Imperfect reception is very noticeable - you'd see weird spikes which ruin the readings. It can be frustrating. Straps get old - I think the wires corrode or something. i find they only last maybe a year, but the transmitters should last forever, though the batteries need to be replaced when the thing stops working. Any transmitter has to be paired with the phone through its Settings before it will work with an app. Elite HRV will try to sell you their CorSense pickup, but as far as I can tell, it'd be vastly inferior to a strap and transmitter, which is equivalent in accuracy to a real EKG machine

For TP, I use a Garmin 800 for cycling activity. You can upload FIT activity files from a Garmin and similar files from other devices directly to TP, Strava, etc., etc. I don't use Garmin Connect at all. TP and Strava have a list of devices and their compatible files. For non-cycling activity, I use a Polar V800 which I bought on ebay - they're still available there. The V800 device seems to last forever. Though it's obsolete, TP supports it, directly uploading from it. A complete setup includes the watch, a strap and transmitter and the clothespin USB connector. Though it might be better to get the bare watch and clothespin and buy the H10 separately, since the V800 works with many transmitters. OTOH, there are other similar devices out there, particularly Garmin watches. The V800 however has it's own built-in HRV test which I also use to do morning HR, but it doesn't have all the same info that Elite HRV delivers. So I use them both. Every morning I do the Elite HRV Morning Readiness test and then a 5' standing test, followed by the V800 orthostatic test. Totally geeking out, but getting reliable physical status numbers. Of course if you don't do training activities other than cycling, you don't need a watch like a V800.
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Old 06-09-20, 07:35 PM
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Thanks for the info, CFB.

And I agree 100% in your perspective that as we age and take more time off than 'just training rest' would dictate, we risk permanently losing a level of fitness that otherwise would not be lost at that time.

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Old 06-10-20, 08:32 AM
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Originally Posted by DaveLeeNC View Post
It wasn't that long ago that I could just let rest days happen when personal circumstances made riding difficult. 2 or 3 years ago if nothing came up and I ended up riding 9 days in a row - no big deal.

Fast forward just a couple years to age 71 and that is no longer the case. Given a riding pattern of rest day, next day a ride of some consequence but not a race kind of thing, and on the 3rd day I am really dragging. It shows in how I feel (HR vs. RPE is very different, for example) and it shows in the data (power, speed, etc). Tack on another day to the end of that and it will tend to be a miserable ride (where the previous day wasn't that great).

So I am going to have to start enforcing rest days. For me 10-11 hours per week tends to work well and fit in my plans, and it is not clear that at this point I need to change that as a target. So I was thinking of either riding 3 hours every other day or maybe a pattern of 2.5 hours, 2 hours, rest day. Rides longer than 3 hours tend to be both somewhat inconvenient and a very unwanted stressor on my arthritic knees. And 3 hours on a regular basis is something of a stretch here which is the primary motivation for the 2.5, 2, rest plan.

The 'training purpose' here is just to be sure that I have a good base so that if I decided to ever do something 'competitive' that whatever event specific training is required would be coming from a good start.

I am sure that other old guys like me have faced this problem so was just fishing for comments/perspective.

dave
It's good that you're getting dialed in on you. Everyone is different. Whatever works for you, do it
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Old 06-17-20, 03:48 PM
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Days off are important

Iím 72, and just restarted riding last year. I got Iíll last summer and could ride until this spring.

After a winter riding the stationary bike in the gym, I didnít have muscle pain when I started riding, but I had endurance issues for distance and speed. Iíd gotten into a pattern of taking a short 5.5 mile ride every other day, weather permitting. But I wasnít really improving. I have a younger riding buddy who pushed me to take longer rides, but it wasnít any fun and I needed several days off to recuperate.

Iíd been thinking about the issue for a while and decided to examine ebikes. But the ones that made sense were all to heavy. (Sense meaning fast enough so I felt safe when I had to ride in the street and enough range for me to grow to my goal of a 40+ mile ride Iíd done in several stages stationing a car and doing the stages over several weeks.

So, my buddy and I took our longest ride of the year, a very taxing for me 10 miles, and stopped at a LBS, test rode and boig(t the newly released Specialized Vado 4 SL. Itís light, fast (peddled), and provides the amount of assist I need. Now my pattern is that 5.5 ride then after skipping a day doing a 16 mile ride that has a really good place to rest at the turn. Smoothies, snacks, park benches, beer. Vitamins for the soul. The a day off and another 5.5.

My riding buddy still works so he canít join me on the 16, but occasionally can do the 5.5 during his lunch break (he works from home). When the weekend comes he want to do a long ride and weíve done a 20 and a 30. The latter is my longest ride ever.

And though Iím a bit sore the next day, I can do non riding things.

I suppose spring weather helps. In the past week weíve had temps in the 90ís, the 70ís and several days of rain. Iíd rather not ride when the temperature is in the mid 90ís with high humidity. And I definitely donít think riding in the rain is fun. So I am getting the breaks I need. The result is riding longer at higher cadence often enough to keep it going.

Weíll see where Iím at in October.
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Old 06-21-20, 04:02 PM
  #20  
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Riding Changes, Aging, and Days Off

At 78 I take one day off in a week. I have brought down my mileage and time but do a recovery ride, an endurance level ride and two interval sessions a week on Zwift. Weekends remain my group hammerfests with about 6 hours riding.
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Old 06-22-20, 04:49 PM
  #21  
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Originally Posted by fastcarbon View Post
At 78 I take one day off in a week. I have brought down my mileage and time but do a recovery ride, an endurance level ride and two interval sessions a week on Zwift. Weekends remain my group hammerfests with about 6 hours riding.
You are definitely ahead of me, despite being 7'ish years older. I had a rest day on Friday and rode around 2 hour slightly aggressive tempo rides Sat/Sunday (went after the risers when I felt like it - lots of ups and downs but nothing long). I felt OK for both of those rides. So Monday my legs were not really dead getting on the bike, but a long way from fresh or even neutral. When all was said and done the 'same ride as before' was
  • no fun at all after the first 45 minutes
  • RPE was easily higher than the previous 2 days
  • HR was down over the previous 2 days
  • Power was off a bit over 10%

More power to you (pun kind of intended). I am impressed.

dave

Last edited by DaveLeeNC; 06-22-20 at 06:02 PM.
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Old 06-22-20, 05:47 PM
  #22  
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I’m able, this year, to ride every day if I wanted, which I can’t do when I’m working. Been riding 30 years (I’m now 65) and have averaged 2000-2200 per year for the past 10 years or so. This year I’m doing 3 days, day off, 2 days, day off, and have 1500 miles already this year, will likely be over 3000.

Bottom line though is my butt and my feet won’t handle the 6,000 - 7,000 per year I did for a decade, but I’m OK with what I’m doing now. Losing some weight which is good and I do feel stronger at this mileage/time then I have for years.
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Old 07-02-20, 11:51 AM
  #23  
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At 72 I try to ride every other day, but the weather usually interferes with that regimen. I ride around 20 miles per ride at whatever speed I'm going. I have no goals other than to enjoy the ride. I'm physically fit and am quite comfortable with this schedule.
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