Is age a factor?

I am 52 yrs old, weigh about 150 and have an FTP around 220. Is my Systm assigned training program going to be the same as a 21 year old with the same metrics?


No. Because even if you have the same FTP as someone your age, gender, weight, I bet their MAP, AC and NM power is different to yours and they’ll maybe have a different rider type. At the moment I think the plans are consistent. But they should be reverting back to 4DP rider type as they were a wee while ago now. Or maybe they already are and it’s hidden.


Also when you select a plan, you choose if you want a 2:1 or 3:1 ratio of intense to recovery weeks.
Choose your radio depending on age, relative levels of training and pre-existing fitness and age.

I’m 51 and find the 2:1 perfect for me


You haven’t named your goals or targets, either.

Someone targeting criterium racing will have a different plan to someone targeting a Gran Fondo, even if their metrics (other than age) are identical.

1 Like

I’m 51, and the main reason I came back to Sufferfest, is that their plans include (more weeks) some intensity, which according the Friel (?) in his book fast after 50, is important, also the plans are 2 or 3 weeks rest, not a ludicrus 6 weeks, which suits me a lot better

BUT I don’t think (anybody) should just be blindly following the plans, and that follows both a negative and positive, am I feeling bad today, if this workout to much, and I feeling great today, should I do more ?

Accoring to the plan, this week (after 3) is supposed to be a rest week, I might push it out a little and repeast last week, I’ll decide tomorrow morning, most weeks I add “a fair amount” of zone 2 to the plan, last week I was feeling great after doing “The Way Out” later in the day I added half is easy as I wasn’t going to be riding the next day (and it was a rest day)


Thanks, great answers.

1 Like

Yoga is also a great addition for those of us not getting any younger as we don’t have the flexibility we used to but it can certainly help not getting those pesky little injuries in regards to lower back soreness, shoulder and leg pain. I include Yoga in every plan I do now. It’s always the little injuries which most of us can’t shake off now, they can take weeks and weeks to try and get rid of but they never really go away fully and sometimes the slightest thing can cause a flare up but I find yoga can really help keep those little niggles at bay.


Suf got me into Yoga and I will be eternally grateful for this. HUGE mental and physical impact on me.


The key with the plans is to follow the outline of the plan. There are very specific and scientific reasons for doing so. If this week is a recovery week, it’s there to allow your body to absorb all of the punishment you gave it and to grow. Several books, including Friel’s last edition talk in depth about why you need rest and recovery, even more so as you age above 50 (you will certainly feel it when you hit the big 6-0).


just for clarification, I didn’t say that rest wasn’t important, it is, what I said was listen to your body, most people only take this one way (if they do it at all) not doing workouts if they feel tired (when an option is find a easier workout), doing a little more (taking into account upcoming days) is a option, the plan is an outline

If you say in the setting up of the plan, rest week every two weeks, because you have a stressful job, young child and then suddenly have a relaxing two weeks, and the child suddenly becomes the perfect child, and you find yourself getting 10 hours sleep every night, the fact that you put 2 weeks, doesn’t mean it is still optimum

I did a 5 hour endurance ride on Sunday (that wasn’t exactly what the plan said , should have been 3 hours), felt fine yesterday, with a whoop recovery score of 67%, this morning I feel fresh and my score is 94% … because the plan says, this week your body should be ready to absorb those adaptions, doesn’t mean your should rest when you are fresh, but of course this works the other way, if your body is frecked … don’t push on because the plan says you should be ready for a hard week

Yes follow the outline of plan, but listen to your body (and rest is important)


And here’s the ‘rub’. you will become better/fitter as time goes by. In your examples, you might want to pause and reflect. Did I pick the right scheduling? Did my job suddenly become harder/easier? Did the child’s situation suddenly change for the better/worse? There should be a way to quickly adjust your plan to compensate for these situations. Right now it’s delete, select, implement. Sort of like the “Pause a Plan due to a life change situation” button or selection. This would allow for changing a plan from 2:1 to 3:1 or back as your life and rest/recovery allow. And yes, Whoop is a great tool, but like all tools don’t become dependent on it.


My biggest challenge is the rest portion. I ride year round and it is almost an addiction. I wish I genuinely knew how much rest I really need to properly benefit from my training.

I know the typical answer is that “your body will tell you when to rest”, but even when I am sore at the start of a ride I usually start to feel better after a few miles. Does this mean I don’t need rest yet?

Just kickin’ tires trying to find answers…

Thanks to all who have responded.

As for what is my goal…

FTP 4 watts per Kilo by end of 2022.

52yr old male
Weigh about 152-154 (5’ 7").
FTP is 221-235 (depending on test)
Ride about 5000 miles a year
Road, Gravel and MTB.
Thinking about joining a Club and starting to do some racing in 2022

@Tungstenisw Check out the Value to Not Training Podcast. It may answer some of your questions.

In general if you are following a plan you should be getting the right amount of rest but the plan won’t know about other outside stressors such as (1) tough week at work, (2) didn’t sleep well, (3) added an unplanned outside ride with friends, etc.

I use an HRV app and also keep an eye on my scores in Training Peaks along with my daily gut check. It isn’t a perfect approach but it seems to help me figure out the rest/train balance most of the time.


Only thing I will add, is don’t confuse riding with training, riding with tired legs that clear up, and riding week in week out is one thing (and a lot of people do, people who commute to work for example), this isn’t the same as following a training plan and removing all the rest weeks

Age does play some part, but I’d say more in the recovery rather than the numbers themselves. I’m a few years older but otherwise have similar weight and power numbers (I do have the additional titanium pins holding my left hip together, so I might be saving some weight here!!). I think the values that the FF provides are pretty much spot-on with what I am capable of delivering, so I’m not sure if age is in itself that factor. When selecting a plan, you can select the intensity to recovery ratio and this is where things could be a bit more flexible since we age at different rates. For example, I look at what the plan is for both 2:1 and 3:1 and then work around those. I used to be able to work on a 3:1 basis but I cannot do this all the time nowadays, so I create my own plan around the suggested, this may be doing one block of 3:1 and then follow this up with a two weeks of 2:1, but take into account how long the plan is. For a shorter plan, I might get away with a 3:1 throughout, but would need to allow additional recovery afterwards and then experience a little “drop-off”. I guess a lot depends on what you are trying to achieve.

I’m glad they have added a 2:1 option in SYSTM. At 53 I was finding 3:1 plans quite tough on recovery, so will be choosing 2:1 and see how that goes.

1 Like

I am in my late 60s and one thing I am investigating is the tradeoff between a higher volume 2:1 plan, and a low volume 3:1 plan.


Valuable notes above!

  • 2:1 rather than 3:1
  • listen your body and prepare to self-customize your plan on daily basis, but not overly so
  • do Yoga

I’m 57 and started endurance sports when I was 15. I would add one more advice: strength training. And not just SYSTM strength. Add some plyometrics, e.g jumps with or without easy weights. You’ll gain strength and do osteoporosis prevention.


I would be interested in hearing your findings.
Obviously they’ll be YOUR findings, but still

I’m younger but I’ve been thinking about a similar thing recently.

1 Like