Masters (50+) athletes and recovery

Looking for a plan with adequate ‘hard’ rides, one long ride a week, some solid weight-based training AND adequate recovery. Is my only option a customized plan? The lower-volume options seem to have just as many ride days, just filled with shorter rides…

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You could just implement one of the lower volume plans and remove some of the rides you don’t wanna do, and or reschedule some of the ones you do. That said, if you have a very specific training goal, a customized plan may be worth exploring.

Edit, you can also now add ad hoc workouts from the library so you could supplement or augment a plan once implemented as well.

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I am in my late 60s and have been experimenting with several approaches to recovery.
There are two separate recovery issues (actually three if you include recovery within rides).

  1. The recovery time from ride to ride.
  2. The recovery from accumulated stress over several weeks.

As for issue 1, I have found that even with the low volume ride plans, I sometimes need more recovery than the plan includes, depending on the ride and my rider strength and weaknesses. Hence, the advice @Glen.Coutts gave you. You have to experiment for yourself. Sometimes active recovery does the trick. Weight training may increase your need for recovery between workouts

As for issue 2, I have found that 2:1 or 3:1 does not quite work because of my sometimes need for increased spacing between workouts. I do SYSTM strength training so that impacts this as well. My current experiment is to follow a plan (currently the FTP block), and space the workouts as needed. When I get to the end, I will add some recovery/active recovery rides.

Then it will time for another Full Frontal (but that is another story).

In addition, life stress, inadequate sleep, poor hydration, etc. can add to the need for recovery. The body does not distinguish between exercise stress and life stress.

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Hey @Joanna_01 ,
A customized plan would give you exactly what you want but the comments by @Glen.Coutts and @Heretic give you some great insight into options to consider. Another option is a chat with a coach to aid in choosing/creating your training plan.

Cheers,
Spencer

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Hi Joanna,

@Glen.Coutts and @Heretic have given some solid advice.

Other things to consider:

  • What is your focus? General fitness? Better endurance athlete? This should guide you with the weight training - my experience as a 50+ is yeah, heavy weights do improve strength but also comes with a cost in more fatigue, lower aerobic output. So while I can clean every steep climb in an XC race that the field walks, I’m going to get dropped and never catch back up.

  • Are you using a Whoop strap or other app to help measure your recovery? I used this as a data point to avoid going too much into a hole.

  • When picking a plan start with the 2:1, low volume. A basic low volume plan will have a speed interval workout (think Half Is Easy), a climbing workout (Goat), and an Endurance workout on the weekends. “Recovery” weeks will have endurance and recovery rides. Everything else is the icing on the cake to help with recovery, movement, style/technique. Do those as time allows.

  • Look at the MTB, CX, and gravel plans to see if those meet your needs better than the road plans. They are just as effective.

Hope this helps.

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I honestly use the training plans as a guideline, not necessarily a strict program.

I generally try to do the prescribed workout, but I know I don’t need to work on cadence builds. So I just do something else that day. I put in the time and effort (length and TSS) in something I want to build. If I’m having a low-energy day, I’ll reduce the intensity.

I tend to do longer rides on the weekends, so I keep in mind what I was supposed to train, but ride like I normally do. No matter what Grunter says, I usually take Monday as a rest day.

Ultimately, these aren’t super-personalized programs, so you need to do what’s best for you. If you need another day to recover, take it. Just can’t get on the bike? Go for a walk or play tag with a dog.

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I’m coming around to this kind of thinking too. The training plan is still my primary guide, but I don’t follow it as religiously as I first did. I listen a bit more to my body now and so my plan is now effectively self-customised.

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