Adjusting Training as getting older.... 50+

Ok, I may be suffering from a bit of going 50 blues, but been looking into my training and how I should tweak.

There’s been lots of recent coverage about the benefits of Zone 2 training as well as how your body changes, needs additional time to recover as you get on…

I’m a fan of structured training programs, but they focus on 4DP, but how do you consider you age and recovery as well…

Or do I shut up and get on with it…


@Monkey I am 54 and go with a 2:1 structure and find it works really well for me. I also add strength and yoga to the plan and often will substitute the strength for free weights especially in the off-season.

I also concentrate on sleep, solid diet and hydration and skip the booze as much as possible. I find that as I get older it is important to have lots of discipline in those other areas as well to keep myself on track.


54 and same. I found the 3:1 to be overly taxing and not giving me enough time to recover.

+1 for strength and yoga. You HAVE to do strength training to offset aging. Since they’re (mostly) short enough, I run TWO strength plans at the same time - one full body or core focused, and one upper body focused. Has me doing something about every day. I also supplement w other activities.



But…that’s…why I ride! :smirk:

FWIW, my 50’s are going MUCH better than my 40’s!


@CPT_A Yeah - I know that doesn’t work for everyone but I have some to the understanding that it isn’t doing anything for my training and works against it when it comes to sleep and overall metabolism. I have started drinking some of the NA beers and mock tails to fill the void when I find the urge but even those are really just the same as a soda.


As somebody who is almost 20 years older than you are, the best answer is to learn how your body responds. Individual differences get magnified as you age, especially depending on how fit your baseline is.

This implies that many things you ignored when younger become more important. In general, you do need to pay more attention to recovery, diet, cycling technique, sleep, etc. You are increasing less able to power your way through things.

I find none of the training plans really work for me. This is not terribly surprising because I doubt the data they have includes many older athletes. @Coach.Neal.H presented a paper at a conference where this information might have been broken out, so the public information to support or refute me here might be available.

You may find a lot of older athletes on the forum here, but that is probably a biased sample. In the old app, they published the number of people who participated in the ToS. It was in the thousands. SYSTM would not be a viable product based on the number of people who even posted once on the forum.

I do find the workouts extremely useful. I just use them as appropriate for the plan I devise. I still do HM, and FF (last one yesterday) to calibrate the workouts.

Why am I still in Wahoo land (Sufferlandria sounded so much better)? I came for the plans, but I stayed because of the workouts - including mental training, strength, yoga, and mobility.


@Heretic It is great that you are still at it and I hope to be doing the same when I get there and maybe win some age class podiums along the way.


tl;dr: +1 on the 2:1 plan mix.

I’m not sure if the plans will “work” right off the shelf for everybody for a myriad of reasons including scheduling days and time within the days but I think they offer a GREAT starting point for almost anybody.

I am expecting (hoping for) an increase in the number and variety of plans in the near future since it’s been awhile since anything there was added/updated (except for the Mobility series, which is FANTASTIC btw).

There is a TON of information in the forums about the “older” athlete (literally a TON, I’ve weighed it :slight_smile: ) as well as some great info in the Knowledge Podcasts.

As for 4DP, as these metrics are individually determined, your training plan (whichever one you pick) will be tailored to your unique results so the answer to your question of “how do you consider your age and recovery?” really is to chose the 2:1 ratio and see how it goes.

As for Zone 2, it takes time and when indoors it is boring AF.

Finally, 50 is young, relatively speaking. I ride with several people who are well into their 50s and 60s (I’m 59 atm) and a couple in their 70s who are still kicking a$$. One guy in particular is mid 70s and he is one of the strongest riders in our club, if not the whole city.


I turn 67 today and feel the same way. I have always created my own regimen and that has been pretty good. I recently had a local coach/friend design a 5 week plan for me that was great. The way I look at it, if I haven’t learned enough by now to understand how my body reacts, then I don’t think any general plan designed for the masses is going to do any better.

BTW - just completed my Knighthood back in June and my current quest is to compete all the ToS events I missed in the past, so don’t let 50 bother you. Getting older may mean a different experience, but it sure as hell doesn’t need to be a bad one.


Is the paper published or just an abstract? I’d like to read it.

One thing you didn’t mention: Add STRENGTH. It is just about mandatory for us older birds. It will serve two purposes: Stave off muscle loss and help prevent some of the nagging injuries we suffer as we get older. And SYSTM has four different foci for training: Upper, Core, Dynamic (Full) and Lower Body. I would start with Level 1 if I am not doing training and Level 2 if I am. It is really imperative you get the basics down as increasing levels introduce more difficult moves and you have to be form perfect.


I am 69 and do the 3:1 plan which includes strength on two days as well. I am retired so have ample time for recovery and have no issues doing this plan at all. I am part way through the TT plan at present and I even sometimes add a workout to one of the workout days (never on the rest days, which is when the strength seems to be factored in) and recently have added +5% across all metrics to a few of the workouts if I am feeling extra strong. Half Monty is looming in a few weeks time so will be interesting to see how my figures add up since my 4DP back in July.


Have a listen to these:



Me too. 70 in a couple of months. I don’t think 2:1 does what I need recovery-wise. What I find I need is more recovery between hard workouts rather than one easy week out of three. I’ll be following a plan and come up against a hard workout I can’t do unless I take another easy day or so before doing it. I’ll typically just shift the rest of the plan out a day to accommodate the added recovery, so what might have been a 4 week building block plan might wind up being 4.5+ weeks. (not counting the 7 day test prep plan I due between training plans.)

What I’ve been advocating for is SYSTM to add an age factor in their training plans. It could be a factor they’ve determined to be good through testing, or a dial that the user adjusts to accommodate their particular level of decrepitude since there can be quite a difference in how individuals’ capabilities decrease getting into the mid 60s. It’d be nice to find a dial setting that works for me rather than continually editing plans as I do them. I’m sure the guys a Wahoo who design the tests and plans know better than I do how to best make these adjustments.


The fundamental problem is that there are no biological markers for recovery, so it is impossible to measure in any rigorous way when an individual is recovered. For the foreseeable future, we will have to use our judgement.


There is the whoop wrist band that gives all those metrics but once again it is subscription based so more to fork out if you want that data

The scientific reliability of Whoop is highly questionable.


Yes. There isn’t for any age group. The recovery in the plans are based on the experience and knowledge of the creators of the plans. I’m sure their knowledge and experience extends to adapting plans to older athletes. Certainly this is what you’d get if you hired a trainer. I’m asking that SYSTM puts in a means of varying the amount of recovery in a plan. The default could be based on age as per their judgement. And it could be adjustable by the individual as well.


I really do not know if they have coached enough older athletes that are representative of the typical users of SYSTM. Given what they charge or charged for individualized training, I would imagine it would be quite costly, and that would lead to a biased sample.

In what seems like a long time ago, there was Sufferfest page that talked about age and metrics. I do not think they ever have stated what per cent of their data sample is older athletes.

1 Like

A fun interlude for we “veterans”…

tl;dr: recovery, recovery, recovery (and enjoy the ride). :wink:


Seen that, a great picture of the future Simon!!