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Age and Rest

Old 01-16-20, 04:52 PM
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Age and Rest

Back when I was 65-66 years old, I could stack training days as my schedule allowed. Every week or so something would come up that created a rest day, and that was good enough.

Fast forward to age 70 - no longer the case. These days on the day after a rest day "I can go for it" and feel pretty good (e.g, my last Day 1 ride was 90 minutes at 94% of ftp). Day 2 will not be that fresh but not a bad day. Starting with Day 3 I am going to be dragging. Yesterday was Day 5, and my Day 4 had been a enforced 'easy day' where I only rode 50 minutes at 72% of ftp. Despite that rest day yesterday my ride today was every bit the RPE of Day 1, pretty much the same ride as Day 1, and my NP today was 81% of ftp (vs. 94% of ftp on Day 1).

And today (Day 6) was a really nice day to ride. Tomorrow will not be a nice day to ride nor a day where a ride fits into my day easily. But trying to do a ride today - just can't do that any more so today I have to rest. And the cycle starts again tomorrow (with cold weather and little time).

Oh for the days of my youth when I was 65 and could let the 'rest days just fall where they may".

dave
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Old 01-16-20, 05:24 PM
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I'm a real nut for monitoring my TSB. I know exactly what I can do when. It's quite accurate, at least for me. I don't worry about what I used to do, only about what I'm going to do. However I've always scheduled my training days, so I'm used to doing that.
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Old 01-16-20, 05:40 PM
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I would be questioning the results of my FTP test if I would hold 94% of that number for an hour and a half, then ride comfortably the next day.
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Old 01-16-20, 06:08 PM
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Originally Posted by DrIsotope View Post
I would be questioning the results of my FTP test if I would hold 94% of that number for an hour and a half, then ride comfortably the next day.
Possibly you are correct about that. But I am quoting NP as I tend to ride it in rolling terrain. I doubt that I could have done 94% watts average power (and about the same NP) over flatter terrain. My average power in this ride was 89%.

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Old 01-16-20, 06:47 PM
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Originally Posted by DaveLeeNC View Post
Back when I was 65-66 years old, I could stack training days as my schedule allowed. Every week or so something would come up that created a rest day, and that was good enough.

Fast forward to age 70 - no longer the case. These days on the day after a rest day "I can go for it" and feel pretty good (e.g, my last Day 1 ride was 90 minutes at 94% of ftp). Day 2 will not be that fresh but not a bad day. Starting with Day 3 I am going to be dragging. Yesterday was Day 5, and my Day 4 had been a enforced 'easy day' where I only rode 50 minutes at 72% of ftp. Despite that rest day yesterday my ride today was every bit the RPE of Day 1, pretty much the same ride as Day 1, and my NP today was 81% of ftp (vs. 94% of ftp on Day 1).

And today (Day 6) was a really nice day to ride. Tomorrow will not be a nice day to ride nor a day where a ride fits into my day easily. But trying to do a ride today - just can't do that any more so today I have to rest. And the cycle starts again tomorrow (with cold weather and little time).

Oh for the days of my youth when I was 65 and could let the 'rest days just fall where they may".

dave
You 70 and still bicycling vigerously? You have much to be thankful for .

​​​​​​Hope I do half as well at 70
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Old 01-16-20, 07:25 PM
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Hardest thing for me to acknowledge after hitting 60 was that I needed rest. Not just wanted a rest, or a little sleep. But I couldn't function without it. I'd gone for decades with relatively little sleep or rest. And it all hit me at once a couple of years ago.

Occasionally I still try to work like I did in my youth. Even into my 40s I could still plow through a full-time M-F day job, a weekend part-time job and was active in the local arts scene during whatever spare time I couldn't possibly have if I actually slept. In my 20s as a health care tech (mostly hemodialysis) I often worked double shifts and might go 24-36 hours without sleep. Didn't really bother me much. I probably got by on 2-4 hours sleep a day/night for decades. (Looking back, I can't claim those were quality years in some regards. I was pretty testy some days from lack of rest.)

This week I tried to pull a 24 hour effort at home, just catching up on neglected stuff. My goal for the new year was to reorganize the place, de-clutter, and draw a line between the living room and bike stuff. I had lots of energy Tuesday, which was warm and dry, and I knew we were expecting winter weather later in the week, so I just get chugging along. Next thing I knew it was mid-morning Wednesday. Suddenly fatigue smacked me like a punch. I slept for most of the next 24 hours, getting up only to pee and snack, and still feel blah today. I just can't do that stuff anymore.

I've tried to be more methodical about bike rides and workouts. Usually 4 times a week, with a full day rest in between. And it's worked. But I also had to cut out other stuff I enjoyed, like casual group rides. That's not good because I'm not seeing friends as often. So I may cut back the hard workout rides to a couple of times a week, and regard the casual group rides, along with the ride to and from, to be my recovery ride.
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Old 01-16-20, 08:00 PM
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Originally Posted by Carbonfiberboy View Post
I'm a real nut for monitoring my TSB. I know exactly what I can do when. It's quite accurate, at least for me. I don't worry about what I used to do, only about what I'm going to do. However I've always scheduled my training days, so I'm used to doing that.
For me I am not convinced that just TSB is telling the story. A TSB of X created by a two cycles of 2 days on and a rest day (repeated) compared to 6 straight days of training (no rest days) creating the identical TSB - they just are not the same in my personal experience. Although quite frankly 3 years ago - might well be a different story.

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Old 01-16-20, 08:13 PM
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Ditto re, 70- I ride every third day. Nearest I can tell, cycling is the best sport, with maybe an implant here and there, and... Aleve. And, wishing I could squeeze a 28 on the rear.
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Old 01-16-20, 10:39 PM
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Regarding methodical training, the only metrics I pay attention to are heart rate, heart rate variation, blood pressure and how I feel. Adding HRV measurements have helped. There are some free apps. All you need is a heart monitor, although Wattson Blue can use the phone camera's steady light, same as hospital pulse monitors. I don't know how accurate these are for HRV, but Wattson Blue and Elite HRV (which uses my Tickr) usually deliver the same readings.

When I was younger and felt pretty much the same way every day, perhaps I'd have benefited from a power meter and more advanced metrics. But my "feels like" gauge is usually a pretty good indicator now.

And I've modified my training approach since late 2019, which has worked well for me in getting past a plateau in fitness.
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Old 01-17-20, 05:11 AM
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I'm the antithesis of the data guys. My Garmin tells me how far I've gone, how long I've ridden and thus my MPH. The rest is mad scientist stuff to me. After the first month of the season I can do 30 mi. with around 2,000 ft.of climbing at 15 mph or more. I'm good. I'm also 74.
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Old 01-17-20, 02:53 PM
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Originally Posted by canklecat View Post
Regarding methodical training, the only metrics I pay attention to are heart rate, heart rate variation, blood pressure and how I feel. Adding HRV measurements have helped. There are some free apps. All you need is a heart monitor, although Wattson Blue can use the phone camera's steady light, same as hospital pulse monitors. I don't know how accurate these are for HRV, but Wattson Blue and Elite HRV (which uses my Tickr) usually deliver the same readings.

When I was younger and felt pretty much the same way every day, perhaps I'd have benefited from a power meter and more advanced metrics. But my "feels like" gauge is usually a pretty good indicator now.

And I've modified my training approach since late 2019, which has worked well for me in getting past a plateau in fitness.
I'd be curious about the modified training approach (if you care to share). Thx.

dave
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Old 01-17-20, 10:04 PM
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Originally Posted by DaveLeeNC View Post
I'd be curious about the modified training approach (if you care to share). Thx.

dave
Biggest change was switching from spinning to mashing. And more leg exercises. I'd always been a spinner, even back in the 1970s. Just seemed to suit my natural rhythm and bird legs.

But I was stuck on a fitness plateau for more than a year, since around 2017. I'd improved some, and wasn't getting dropped on hills so often. Occasionally I'd even spin past guys who were stronger on flat terrain... but I'd gas out and get dropped again.

It finally occurred to me that I was always going to be limited in aerobic capacity. Too many bouts with pneumonia as a kid and was even hospitalized about 15 years ago for pneumonia and bronchitis (I don't even remember being taken to the ER, I was so sick). And I was exposed to TB as a kid, with some lung damage. And asthma, although it's less severe now than when I was younger.

I've always been active and participated in several sports, especially amateur boxing, cycling and racquetball. But even in my teens and 20s I'd gas out pretty easily, so I knew I'd never make it as a pro in any sport. I adapted as a boxer by going for early KOs because if a guy could hang on for the full three 3-minute rounds he'd probably outpoint me when I gassed out in the final round and could barely move my arms. I just barely missed the finals for the regional Golden Gloves when I gassed out in the final round and the other guy didn't go down from my best shots in the first two rounds.

But on the bike I kept spinning because... Lance and Dr. Ferrari, right? Well... I don't have access to EPO and other fun stuff. Or the physical gifts of even the typical local cycling hero.

Then I read some articles disputing the wisdom of applying that high cadence technique to ordinary folks. Along the way we lost sight of the original theory -- spinning put more strain on the cardiovascular system, but the body recovered more quickly from that stress than it does from straining the legs. So it made sense over the course of 3 week grand tours with mountain stages. It made less sense for some of us in recreational cycling.

So one night last August I decided to give it a try. Last year I bought an early '90s carbon fiber bike from a friend who'd fitted it with Biopace chainrings because I'd said I was curious about them. And as other Biopace users had said, the eccentric chainrings seemed to work better with slower cadence. Something about them didn't feel quite right at 90-100 rpm. But when I slowed down to 70-80 rpm and mashed harder gears, I could feel a slight leverage effect -- especially after re-orienting the big ring to better suit my timing (the 42T Biopace ring is in the default position).

That August night I picked a route that had few stops, lots of rollers and very little traffic -- mostly an access road alongside an interstate. And I finished 30+ miles averaging over 17 mph. For me, that's huge. I'd never managed better than 15 mph, even drafting stronger riders in a group.

I figured it was a fluke and for the next month alternated between my usual 90-100 rpm and slower 70-80 rpm. My legs got stronger. My heart rate was slower on the same climbs and tougher segments where I usually pushed harder. By autumn I was using slower cadence full time, sometimes as slow as 60 rpm over my usual 20-40 mile workouts. I was consistently faster, regardless of wind conditions, even when I was doing a tempo or recovery ride pace.

When I pushed harder I was averaging 17 mph, which included my long, slow warmups and cooldowns. I need 30 minutes just to warm up, including on the indoor trainer, and sometimes I'll do 30 minutes on the trainer before heading outdoors, especially in cool weather. And during my final 10-15 minutes of most rides I'll average 12-14 mph returning home. So when I cropped out my long warmups and cooldowns, I was surprised to realize I was averaging 20 mph on the main workout part of the ride for 60-90 minutes. I had no idea because I didn't have a speedometer on my bike (just this week I finally got one, because I'm still skeptical about my Strava data).

And I added more leg workouts to my daily PT routine. I'm still recovering from injuries that mostly affect my neck and shoulder, so I do PT for that most days. I added more leg work -- lunges, squats, stair climbs, modest weights up to 50 lbs. Occasionally I'll carry 15-25 lbs weights in each hand and walk around the block, up to a mile, just to work different muscles.

On the indoor trainer I alternate between high and low cadence drills, watching my heart rate and speed. I don't have a power meter. Presumably the power output is pretty much the same for any given gearing that reaches the same speed on the trainer. And my HR confirms this. But the "feels like" experience is completely different. I've adapted well enough to mashing now that spinning no longer feels natural. I have to work to maintain 90-100 rpm in lower gears, and my chest will be burning. But the same speed and HR with bigger gears puts a little more work on the legs, but I'm not gasping for air and on the verge of asthma attacks.

I'm wary of knee strain, but at age 62 I'm lucky to have good knees, despite a few injuries. Arthritis runs in the family but in retrospect I think my granddad and mom might have minimized some of their knee problems with routine PT and just walking more. Being sedentary really clobbered them. I came from a family that didn't exercise. They worked. They worked until they physically couldn't work another day, then they rarely ever moved off the sofa or recliner again. Tough occupations will do that. As a Navy Hospital Corpsman in the 1970s-'80s I often bike commuted to and from base, and to part time jobs in health care around town. Health care folks are on their feet a lot, but it's not good exercise. It grinds you down.

So I warm up gradually, pay attention to every knee twinge, and am very careful of good ergonomics and skeletal alignment.

So far, so good.

And I take a ton of supplements. I'll try anything once. But if I don't see results in the first 30-90 days, I'll move on to something else. Thyroid cancer messed up my metabolism so I take prescription levothyroxine. That's my only daily can't-miss prescription now. I won't take anything for cholesterol or BP if I can avoid it. In OTC supplements, for me, L-arginine seems to help. Ditto niacin, iron (I'm borderline anemic), DHEA, pregnenolone, beta-ecdysterone (supposedly derived from greens like spinach, turkest, or even from shellfish and bugs, who knows), protein powders. And a lot of creatine on workout days. Creatine seems to help as many users describe for intense short duration bursts. I recover much quicker now from bursts when doing intervals.

I cut way back on the high intensity interval training. I do real HIIT -- the kind of effort where I'm ready to pass out or vomit -- only once a week at most, usually only once every two weeks. A couple of years ago I tried it 2-3 times a week and paid for it by being unable to move for at least a week. Gotta be realistic at this age.

I use the fartlek approach to my solo outdoor rides, which approximates the real world conditions of typical group rides anyway. Some rides I'll loaf where I'm already strong, then attack climbs that used to thwart me. Other days I'll put full effort into flats or go for a downhill PR, then take it easy and spin up climbs. Sometimes I'll stand to pedal for as long and far as possible. A few weeks ago I managed to stand to pedal nearly the full length of a 1.2 mile climb, sitting only a couple of times for a few moments where the hill flattened out, then standing again. That was unusual for me. Normally I can manage to stand to climb for 1/4 to half a mile. A couple of years ago I struggled to stand to pedal for 10 seconds.

But I still haven't learned to be brief online.
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Old 01-18-20, 09:05 AM
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Originally Posted by canklecat View Post
Biggest change was switching from spinning to mashing. And more leg exercises. I'd always been a spinner, even back in the 1970s. Just seemed to suit my natural rhythm and bird legs.

But I was stuck on a fitness plateau for more than a year, since around 2017. I'd improved some, and wasn't getting dropped on hills so often. Occasionally I'd even spin past guys who were stronger on flat terrain... but I'd gas out and get dropped again.

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canklecat Thank you for taking the time to post this. It was very interesting.

dave
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