What's considered "old" to train?

I know everyone is going to say age is mostly a state of mind, but I’m going to ask anyway…

You hear pro athletes retiring after they pass 30-ish. I’ve been mostly casually riding for the last two years, working up my endurance. I’ve done several hundred mile rides, can do a 100k without much issue, and pulled off a 565 mile week-long ride in July.

Winter is looming, and I’m looking to try to improve myself. Last winter was a lot of zwifting, and now I’m really looking at jumping into the SYSTM. I’m not looking to hardcore train, just to maintain my fitness and maybe improve my performance so climbs don’t kill me quite so much.

I’m in my mid 40’s. That’s not too old, right?

3 Likes

When it’s too old to train (see image). I’m 56. This year, I’ve ridden a double metric century with 3,000 meters of climbing (130 miles, 9,000+ feet of climbing). Followed a month later by a double imperial century (200 miles). Plus two additional imperial centuries last month. Almost 4,000 miles this year. Many other Sufferlandrian elders have done even more impressive feats.

image

8 Likes

I’m 44, though I’m an ex triathlete with a short career I also followed up with massive job related stress, divorce, alcoholism and depression. If I can train at 43 with my illustrious career so can you :slight_smile:

I have had my ass handed to me by riders in their 60’s and 50’s in the past so really age is not a huge concern. As long as you keep up with inflammation which is completely normal for a person training, and are smart about balancing recovery with effort you’re completely fine!

I would say watch for overtraining, balance cross training and include weight training and Yoga as a balanced routine (all of which are on SYSTM).

4 Likes

Am 60 and did a 20k TT on non-TT bike 33 mins.:grinning:

4 Likes

Hi @njgecko im 49 I only started training 3/4 years ago, had never been on a bike before that, I run now too for helping with my mental health and staying as reasonably fit as I can as with the other replies you just have to watch for overtraining and not push yourself too hard and keep a cautious eye on your heart rate other than that there’s nothing to stop you. Just don’t go too hard, too fast or do too much too soon , take it easy the first month or 2 then you will slowly find what’s best for you although it might take longer to get yourself adapted to the new regime :+1::+1:

It’s definitely not too old. I’ve stopped trying to worry about whether I can be as good as I ever was, and just work on being as good as I can be today. Your absolute capability does decline with age and is out of your control, but how much of that capability you realize is totally within your control.

1 Like

I would argue that it is even more important to train as you age. Training and proper nutrition are much more important today at 52 vice when I was 21 and could do whatever I wanted and stay the “same”. After several years of laziness, I got tired of not being what I remembered and got my ass back in gear, hitting structured training and nutrition on the bike and in the gym. Am I where I want to be ultimately? No, but I’m a hell of a lot better off now compared to four years ago and just hired a coach to try and get me closer to some intermediate goals. And like Sir Brian said first, I’ll be too old to train when I’m dead.

5 Likes

I am in my late 60s (and getting even older as I type), and am still training.

5 Likes

I’m 42, I only started cycling again in May of last year (2020) and started Sufferfest in late July.
I did my Knighthood in February.
I started cycling with the social wing of a cycling club just for some company occasionally (I’m quite, quite happy having headphones (bone conduction) and just disappearing out into the wilderness on my own). I then got asked to come to some of their club rides for some of their longer rides to help drag some of them along who are blazingly fast on short runs but not used to the longer rides.
My longest ride in a day so far is 183 miles.
I have a route planned next year to do two separate races in a weekend including cycling to, between and from them which will result in slightly more than 240 miles with ~150 of that in race conditions in a 24 hour period.

Sufferfest definitely works.

Pros retire early because the bar is exceptionally high.
For the rest of us, it is well within your capacity to “Kick Yours Tomorrow” with guys half your age, if you put your mind (and body) to it.

You’re too old to train when you give in to the feeling you are (or your doctor advises it, always listen to your doctor)

5 Likes

I’m in my mid 40s. I have noticed that I need more recovery than I did 10 years ago. I pay a lot more attention to adequate sleep and good nutrition too. All that said, I’m faster now than I’ve ever been.

2 Likes

Hey @njgecko ,
I just set my dad up with his off season training plan. He’s 91 , rides an e-bike and still goes on week long tours averaging between 40-50 km/ day. So yeah, you’ve got a lot of years left in you to train.

Cheers,
Spencer

11 Likes

Agreed on the need for more recovery as you get older. I first noticed it at about 40, and then another step change at around 50. I’m sure they’re not actually step changes, but that’s how my mind perceives them. I’m much better at prioritizing sleep now. You could check out the info in this thread: From The Coaches: The Importance of Recovery & Rest

I’m 58 and still suffering! The only allowance I make for being older is to follow the strength plans. I’m hoping the balance component to those sessions will be useful as I approach middle age. I.e. late 60’s!!
Obviously I’m nowhere near ‘middle aged’ yet!!

1 Like

Hey njgecko,

Certainly not too old to train and not too old to improve either. Giving one of our 12-week plans a go and tracking improvements in your 4DP metrics for before and after will hopefully show you that can certainly improve. Through our customised plans we’ve worked with plenty of people in mid-40s and beyond, helping them to maintain and improve fitness so I would be very confident that you can do exactly the same!

Cheers,

Andy

there’s no such thing as “too old to train” before shutting the lid of your coffin and being lowered 6ft under.
in fact, training becomes more important the older we get to avoid frailty and maintain good health and quality of life. no excuses, off you go!

(please note that these recommendations have since been updated and now suggest an even higher level of activity)

1 Like

It’s recommend a book, The Midlife Cyclist.
Lots of science but all condensed into an easy read.

3 Likes

I am presently writing up a review of this book for Pezcyclingnews.com and also recommend it. I am not sure I would call it “an easy read” as there is a great deal of material covered-- the science is in layman’s terms–but some of the concepts need time to digest. Incidentally, the author is not a fan of indoor training!

As a 65 year old who has used The Sufferfest for more than a decade, I think you are never too old to train! In fact, I did not really get serious about my cycling until I was around 42 and moved to Europe. Since then I have cycled the Alps, Pyrenees, the Dolomites, the Vosge mountains, ridden the entire Camino de Santiago, and a lot more and had a lot of fun. While I have not done any time trials for quite a while, I continue the training as I know it helps any rides I do; I am appraoching 10,000 kms indoor/outdoor riding this year. I am now at the stage where I need to add strength training and more yoga to my activities. The more you do, the better it gets!

2 Likes

There is more to it than that old adage. But this almost sounds like it has a “I’m so and so age and still do or just did…” throw down pounding chest thing. We really need to get rid of that worn out saying because research suggests there is so much more to it. Dr. Peter Attia had a great one almost a couple of weeks ago. Here it is… And you can always find the longer interview on his YouTube page.

Aww come on, man.

:joy: :rofl: :joy:

1 Like