Training Plan for different age and fitness level

Not sure if this has been asked and answered before.

Question for Wahoo team/scientists. Besides 4DP profile, does the training plan take other inputs, for instance, age and heart rate variability recorded during each historical workout?

For discussion sake, 2 individuals of different age (say 45 and 36 years old) and fitness level selecting the exact training plan as shown in photo attached, will they be getting similar program?

We all know the older we grow the longer the recovery takes. Not only that older cyclist muscular strength can be affected by limited hormones production. So I’m quite sure the strength, conditioning and repetition trainings have to be different from the younger ones.

I’m only in the early forties (not that old) and of late this topic came to my mind that I felt I need some clarity as SYSTM user. Thanks!

There’s no age adjustment. I’m quite a bit older than you and am perfectly happy that there is no age adjustment. So while it may be true that on average, older people recover more slowly, I suspect that variation person to person is larger. For me personally, I find that the more fit I get, the faster I recover. For further context, I am not a cycling beast and look with envy at many of the numbers folks post. But still, as I get fitter, I recover faster.

To deal with the occasions where my plan calls for more intense work than my body wants to do (which honestly doesn’t happen that often), I just do what my body needs. In my mind, the plans are guidelines and users should act accordingly. If you were to hire a personal coach, they’d ask you how you were feeling and adjust for you personally. Since SYSTM is mass market, users have to do that for themselves.


@fairushariri Just adding to what @AkaPete said - the only toggle when selecting the plan that might relate to age is the recovery week ratio. Generally they recommend 2:1 for those over 55 but it will vary by individual. There is definitely a lot of athlete diversity using SYSTM and so there isn’t always a one size fits all solution when it comes to things like recovery, warm-ups, etc. and so the coaches provide some podcasts and articles on those topics and there is a mechanism to chat with a coach but otherwise the options are to figure out what works best for you and also to bounce ideas off of others in this forum.

Wahoo Knowledge Fitness Blog

Looking at your selections I would recommend trying some of the strength videos - especially th core strength. You can start with Core 1 and see how those work for you. I try to do one or two of those a week - I often just add them into the plan myself. The strength is geared toward on the bike related muscles and is mostly body weight and balance but there are some videos that also focus on upper body for swimming or mountain biking.

Also check out the mental toughness videos as well - they seem a bit corny at first but I have personally found a lot of success using the techniques that are in those videos - positive thinking, setting short and long term goals, mental focus, etc.


There is an older thread in this forum somewhere on this same topic. I think @AkaPete and @JSampson pretty much summed it all up tho. Older athletes need more and more strength training as they get older, and longer recovery, and of course the amounts differ for each individual.


As an older athlete, I will second and third the ‘add strength’ comment. Start with beginner unless you are already doing a strength regimen. Same with Yoga. You need to engage the flexibility machine. As to the workout ratio, it’s more important you look at the level of workouts. Unless you are already riding a lot, I would not go higher than five to seven hours, total, per week. Workouts can be very brutal and tax our your systems and you’ll end up sliding backwards.


Sir James, you know me well in Strava universe! I’m getting faster (I think) but at the expense of getting muscle cramps easier in most of my weekends rides.

Yoga is already a routine. Definitely will put in more strength and core training in the plan. Thanks @emacdoug @AkaPete @JSampson for your response.

Perhaps revisiting my diet and nutrition to help with recovery and and muscles nourishment.


If you are cramping during exercise and I know you are a well-trained athlete you might want to look at additional salts. Not like a teaspoon full of salt, but an athlete specific salt mix. I use Hammer Endrolytes, but anything of that type of supplement comes recommended.


Nearing 70, I also was curious about whether plans adjust for the age of the rider and found some previous threads on the topic which concluded they don’t. Of course there are considerable individual differences, but the current plans are based on some average anyway. I’m sure what’s optimal for the average 30 year old rider is significantly different from what optimal for the average 50, 60 or 70 year old rider. The main problem with going by my sole personal experience is that if something worked, I don’t know if having done something different would have worked better or worse. I expect experts in the field would have a much better idea than I do of what’s optimal as they presumably have the data and knowledge to know what’s most likely best. I think having plans that adapt for age would be a nice feature. It could be made adjustable so that you could dial the age adjustment up/down as you feel is most appropriate to your individual condition.


Couldn’t agree more. With thousands of users’ data at their disposal I hope the team can work on some sort of adaptive training, at least in a beta environment.
It doesn’t have to be precise but enough as a guidance for near term workout plans.

Case in point, Garmin told me exactly what I felt after my outdoor ride last weekend.

If someone at a senior age repetitively does not complete a workout or consciously lower down the workout intensity, that could be a sign of a slow recovery. Just an example…