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Training for seniors

Old 09-14-23, 08:24 AM
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Training for seniors

I'm trying to get out of my rut and make it to the next plateau. I'm 68 y/o and riding about 300 miles a month. What websites or coaches do you think are offering the best advice at this point in time. I do not want to train for a race, it's just that I think there's about 30% of my potential that's not being used and I'd like to read up on various approaches to improving my riding. My biggest problem is that I'm not a "joiner". Since I'm not one to stick to a strict training regimen I need to find several that I can blend into a training schedule I will stick to.

I'm equipped with all the goodies i.e. PM, HRM etc.
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Old 09-14-23, 08:36 AM
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There'll just be another plateau if and when you get over the current one! <grin>

I like what Joe Friel says. He actually is talking about older riders now since he is one himself. But except for the things old age is doing to us, you still pretty much do the same things to achieve any goals you have for your cycling. I don't race, nor do I really train. I just find out what on my rides I might need to do better and then figure out ways to get better doing it. Usually it involves more riding!

And identifying and stating your goals will be invaluable to getting help here and elsewhere. A little more tangible than you just want to get better or maintain what you have.
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Old 09-14-23, 09:45 AM
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I'd like to add about 20 points to my 133 FTP. I'd also like to increase my maximum rides from 40-60 miles to 100 miles.
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Old 09-14-23, 09:58 AM
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When I'm not happy with my fitness, it's usually because my training volume has dropped off.

To get out of that rut, I'll make a contract with myself like "ramp up weekly ride time to 15 hours", or "maintain a weekly TSS of 700 or more". Nothing more structured than that.

The only website I use regularly is trainingpeaks.com, just to keep track of my training volume.

300 miles per month is what, about 5 hours per week? That's a pretty low volume. How about setting a goal of 8 hours per week?
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Old 09-14-23, 10:03 AM
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How much hard riding do you do? Do you always ride the same route(s)?

I once got in a rut when I lived in Hawaii, probably lasted about a year where I was not motivated at all on my commutes or weekend rides. I was riding very slowly and just no excitement. What got me out of the rut is signing up for a ride, called Sharon's Epilepsy charity ride. I was so hyped during that ride that I finished among the winners who were all riding "real" bikes. I was on a converted mountain bike with panniers (I'm a commuter, not a racer) -- they were impressed.

After that I had my mojo back on all future rides. If you're riding slowly and with no motivation, it's important to realize that you're still exercising your aerobic system, just as I was during that year that I was riding very slowly. However, at some point you need to incorporate intense riding/exercise. I don't know if this applies to you, since I don't know your riding style; however, if you haven't been riding intensely on some rides, then that may be what you need, among other things.


Check out this short video I posted on another thread.


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Old 09-14-23, 10:11 AM
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You sound a bit like me. I'm 70.
"I'm not one to stick to a strict training regimen" -- yeah, I easily postpone solo rides to "later today" or "tomorrow", then postpone again. (scheduled group rides are the only thing that works for me.)

"add about 20 points to my 133 FTP". I'm supposedly at about 170w or so, but I don't think i could actually hold this for a whole hour. 150 is probably maintainable, but my groups tend to ease off on flats and go harder on hills.
I like to try maintaining my full effort on some of the hills -- about 4 to 8 minute climbs. The CP chart from Golden Cheetah gives me my max watts so far for any of these time periods, so I try to hold a similar wattage. It's a good challenge, and useful for getting riding strength improvements. I've set some Strava PRs this year, on climbs I've done many times over the years.

"I'm not a joiner" -- me either. But group rides are my exception! I used to do club rides pre-Covid, then got in with a smaller group of like-minded riders. We like very low traffic and scenic roads, and are reasonably similar in ride pace. So I have scheduled rides ,and the motivation to keep my fitness up to handle these rides.
I still do a few club rides occasionally, and try to do ones that are slightly too fast for me, and/or have sprints and regroups. I can't do an all-out effort while solo that matches these "try to hang on" sections.
Occasionally, I do a solo ride from home, usually a little over an hour. I can go full speed, I don't have to "save some matches" for the end of the ride, and can sprint and recover whenever I want. I should do more of these!

Power meter
You have a power meter -- I have a left side Stages meter, and it's really helpful for pacing and tracking fitness changes. I don't have the discipline to use it for structured workouts.

Have you tried the free software Golden Cheetah? it's for power meter recording analysis and trends. I like the CP chart -- my best watts from 5 seconds to my longest ride. Interesting and useful. The Ride chart, graphs of power, w'bal (essentially short-term reserves), HR, speed, cadence, elevation, etc. And the Trends graph of PMC performance manager chart is good for tracking my fitness and comparing to previous years.

Distance
I used to train for 100 mile rides once or twice a year. But not lately. The last 15 or 20 miles were no fun for me. "why am I doing this?"
Now, it's 40-50 mile rides with 50-60 feet per mile, two or three a week. These are perfect for me. I like it when there's 3 or 4 miles to go, and I think "too bad the ride is almost done -- such a nice day". I can do 75 miles or so, but rarely do.

100 mile event ride: I used to want to get to 60 miles fairly comfortably to then manage the 100 mile ride. I probably could manage 100 miles right now, but I don't have any motivation to even try one.

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Old 09-14-23, 04:38 PM
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"Training" is complicated. How best to do it? There are many different paths to success. One way to start is to join a once-a-week group ride where the riders are a bit faster than you are. Watch how they ride, where they go moderate and where they go hard. Try to stay with them. You'll probably fail, so simply keep trying with that group. Make sure you know the proposed route so you can finish the whole ride when you get dropped. You'll gradually get faster. The rest of the week, ride moderate as much as you can. You want about 100 miles or so per week, year 'round (or the equivalent hours at a similar level of effort). You should work that up to 150 miles in summer. Let that be your training. Use TrainingPeaks or some other software to record and analyze your rides so you have some data to see what you're doing, like how much time in what zones.

Anyway, that's how I started training 25 years ago. I took my resting and standing resting HRs every day to make sure I wasn't overdoing it. That's important. Gradually, I developed a training routine simply by trying to do what had worked, like 45' of Z4 and 5' of Z5 on that group ride most weeks, but not every week. Big things to learn are how best to fuel and hydrate on long and hard group rides. 3-4 hour group rides seemed to work best, with a few longer rides here and there. I found doing strenuous weight work at the gym for an hour twice a week to be necessary at your age to build up the muscular endurance that it takes to ride that hard, that long. Start light with high reps and gradually increase weight and reduce reps. Friel's classic guide has lots of good information about this and everything else. Study it: https://www.amazon.com/Cyclists-Trai.../dp/1937715825
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Old 09-16-23, 08:27 AM
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Training Peaks has loads of plans aimed at seniors and their various riding goals.
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Old 09-16-23, 11:45 AM
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Originally Posted by Carbonfiberboy
"Training" is complicated. How best to do it? There are many different paths to success.
This! I think it was Andy Coggan who said "all roads lead to Rome". Meaning there are countless ways to improve fitness.

To gain fitness, you have two knobs to turn: intensity and volume. I tend to turn the volume knob farther than the intensity knob, but then I have all the time in the world to ride. Retirement has its benefits.
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Old 09-16-23, 12:32 PM
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Originally Posted by TakingMyTime
I'm trying to get out of my rut and make it to the next plateau. I'm 68 y/o and riding about 300 miles a month. What websites or coaches do you think are offering the best advice at this point in time. I do not want to train for a race, it's just that I think there's about 30% of my potential that's not being used and I'd like to read up on various approaches to improving my riding. My biggest problem is that I'm not a "joiner". Since I'm not one to stick to a strict training regimen I need to find several that I can blend into a training schedule I will stick to.

I'm equipped with all the goodies i.e. PM, HRM etc.
You don't need any gagets to train.
Just Pedal at a high RPM to Where You cannot Talk.
Then back down a bit to where you can Speak.
Maintain that RPMs for Two weeks and one will become Strong.
Pic when I was 68 y/o.

2,000 Mile Month With 17 Centuries.
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Old 09-16-23, 04:46 PM
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Originally Posted by 10 Wheels
You don't need any gagets to train.
True, but they can take you to the next level.
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Old 09-17-23, 08:20 AM
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Originally Posted by terrymorse
To gain fitness, you have two knobs to turn: intensity and volume. I tend to turn the volume knob farther than the intensity knob, but then I have all the time in the world to ride.
This is most of what you need to know.
Sometimes the knobs are interconnected so when you turn up one the other has to decrease a little.
The observable effects are slow, so if you're constantly twiddling the knobs you often can't figure out which does what. Turn the knobs slowly.
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Old 09-17-23, 08:35 AM
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Originally Posted by terrymorse
To gain fitness, you have two knobs to turn: intensity and volume. I tend to turn the volume knob farther than the intensity knob, but then I have all the time in the world to ride. Retirement has its benefits.
Basically I think that's my problem. I want to make some noticeable gains but my rides end up just going on and on without really pushing myself. I've decided (and started) doing some intervals and HIIT training last week. My health appears to be good enough to take the push. I'm going to see what I can do.
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Old 09-17-23, 08:39 AM
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Originally Posted by TakingMyTime
Basically I think that's my problem. I want to make some noticeable gains but my rides end up just going on and on without really pushing myself. I've decided (and started) doing some intervals and HIIT training last week. My health appears to be good enough to take the push. I'm going to see what I can do.
Variety is the spice of life. Or something like that. Mix it up and get out of that rut. (hey that accidentally rhymes!)
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Old 09-25-23, 03:30 PM
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Figure out what exactly you feel like your fitness is currently lacking, or, looked at another way, what do you want to do better? Also, what do you already do well enough? For example, I want to be able to do long climbs faster, without arriving at the top totally gassed. For that, Sweet Spot workouts are supposed to be good, so if I'm going to do a structured workout, that's the kind I go for.

The other thing I want to do is be able to do longer rides without the last 10 miles being a death march. The only thing I found for that is successively stepping up my long Sunday ride distance
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Old 09-30-23, 05:00 AM
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I've never used a coach or training site, but in my 60's I've found two things very useful..

The book :"The Time Crunched Cyclist" by Carmichael and Rutberg. It has a lot of info on the lingo and science behind effective training, but most important to me is that it had training plans for recreational sportif/century type riders and wasn't 100% focused on racers or Strava segment chasers - and, as the title suggests, is aimed at those looking to spend limited time training.

Zwift is the other. Not only does Zwift make indoor biking tolerable for me, it brings in power measurement to training if you (like me) do not have a power meter on the bike you ride outdoors.

Back in 2019, when I was 62, I loosely did some of the structured training from the book and doubled my outdoor mileage with Zwift miles indoors. I did that to ride in the 209 mile, two-day Seattle to Portland ride and had some of my best statistics ever, though I'm no racer/speed demon in any event. Felt better after 120 miles on the first day than I had previously felt on 100 mile rides.
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Old 09-30-23, 06:39 AM
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High intensity training once or twice a week will help you achieve your goals
But your lackadaisical approach, unwillingness to commit, etc. likely means your goals are just a dream and won't be achieved.
Training Peaks is a good avenue but then they all are in general but the commitment is the key and your lack thereof means they likely won't work.
I'm 68, ride around 200+ miles per week based on 6 days of riding/training and am competitive and have been since the mid '80's.
I use TP and it is a decent system to plan, use, track, etc. ones training but it doesn't work without commitment.
Good luck...
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Old 09-30-23, 10:23 AM
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One thing I've learned -- no, scratch that. One thing I have yet to learn is how much more recovery I need at 65 than I did at 45.

When I was in my 40s, and I wasn't happy with my performance on a hard ride, I would repeat that ride every day until I was satisfied with my time. If I wanted to improve my fitness in general, I would simply double my volume for a month. My fitness ramp was steep, and training (almost) always went well.

That, sadly, is no longer possible. I can improve my fitness, certainly, but the days of "pile on the training volume" are just a memory. This week, I tried two days in a row of 50-60 miles of steep climbing, but I barely made it home from the second ride.

Recovery -- who knew it would get more complicated?
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Old 09-30-23, 12:01 PM
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Originally Posted by TakingMyTime
I'm trying to get out of my rut and make it to the next plateau...
What you are doing is great! At 70 my little local rides have become precious. When ever I want to increasing my work out is just a matter of throwing in a few hills, not increasing the distance or time.

But what do I know?

Fitness schedules... Sure... Bravo... Mehhh...

I can just barely keep up with writing down my Protein/Calorie intake and Logging my rides...
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Old 12-13-23, 05:02 AM
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Originally Posted by TakingMyTime
I'm trying to get out of my rut and make it to the next plateau. I'm 68 y/o and riding about 300 miles a month. What websites or coaches do you think are offering the best advice at this point in time. I do not want to train for a race, it's just that I think there's about 30% of my potential that's not being used and I'd like to read up on various approaches to improving my riding. My biggest problem is that I'm not a "joiner". Since I'm not one to stick to a strict training regimen I need to find several that I can blend into a training schedule I will stick to.

I'm equipped with all the goodies i.e. PM, HRM etc.
To work with a coach or get a decent training plan from one you don't need to be training for a race. We work with people who's goals vary from trying to ride 100 miles, to dropping their friends on the local hill (to of course racers, and elite world champions). All that i ask as a coach is that you want to make yourself fitter in some way. As an oldie myself i work with a variety of age ranges from 18 through to riders in their 80s. Adding 20 W to your FTP seems like a reasonable short term goal providing you have the hours to train to do that.
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Old 12-18-23, 07:04 AM
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Originally Posted by terrymorse
This! I think it was Andy Coggan who said "all roads lead to Rome". Meaning there are countless ways to improve fitness.

To gain fitness, you have two knobs to turn: intensity and volume. I tend to turn the volume knob farther than the intensity knob, but then I have all the time in the world to ride. Retirement has its benefits.
I'd add nutrition as a "third knob" or third major variable in the equation. The potential benefits of added intensity / volume will be diminished if your nutrition on and off the bike does not align.
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Old 12-18-23, 09:08 AM
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Originally Posted by TakingMyTime
What websites or coaches do you think are offering the best advice at this point in time.
63 and also trying to improve. I got a heck of a boost using a 6 month plan from TrainingPeaks. I find TrainingPeaks is excellent for managing training and fitness. It's very flexible, for example I got covid in the middle of my training and it was easy to insert 2 weeks of sick-time and then copy/paste earlier easier work into my schedule to get back up to pre-covid levels. There are tons of plans available there, the 6 month one I liked is a Fondo training plan from MyProCoach, and I think it was about a $100. TrainingPeaks is about a $110 per year, but you get a good discount when you bundle a plan and a subscription.

Another fan of Joel Friel (and still working to meet his Z2 riding goals). His Cycling Training Bible explains all the lingo and the physiology behind the training. The book is also the technical core of TrainingPeaks (I think he's the site founder) so the app and text work together well.
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