Author Topic: Getting faster when getting into mid 50s ? A dream or a possibility  (Read 14871 times)

By my reckoning my average riding speed has dropped by at least 10% in last two decades and my mid thirties, maybe this is quite a normal and acceptable decrease. My 2014 / 2015 average speed riding was 21.8 kph over 30 000 km total

But my Q is, now @ 56,  is there any reasonable training that I could use to slightly up my average speed (objective get more sleep time on longer rides) , or should I just be gracefully settling for being overall very fit (in comparison to mass population) and be happy to be so.
....after the `tarte de pommes`, and  fortified by a couple of shots of limoncellos,  I flew up the Col de Bavella whilst thunderstorms rolled around the peaks above

Re: Getting faster when getting into mid 50s ? A dream or a possibility
« Reply #1 on: February 27, 2016, 02:15:34 pm »
Hi
I am 57 and trying to get faster!  This can be patronising but has some sound stuff.  http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/1937715264?keywords=fast%20after%2050&qid=1447417089&ref_=sr_1_1&sr=8-1

Re: Getting faster when getting into mid 50s ? A dream or a possibility
« Reply #2 on: February 27, 2016, 02:26:39 pm »
I started riding fixed in 2012, at the age of 54.
No special training programme or anything, just a 30 mile daily commute.
That my fitness / speed have improved considerably, I'm sure is no coincidence.

Re: Getting faster when getting into mid 50s ? A dream or a possibility
« Reply #3 on: February 27, 2016, 02:49:09 pm »
It all depends where you are starting from. If you were training and fit at, say, 30, then it's very unlikely to be able to be as fast as you get older. However, many riders are now only starting in middle age, so they will have potential to improve rapidly.
I've looked into the effect of aging on power, and there is plenty of research that shows that a typical cyclist will lose about 3 watts/ year from their peak ( which may be anywhere from mid 20s to late 30s typically).
There is evidence that as a rider gets older, high intensity intervals are the most likely way to improve speed towards the maximum potential for the individual

Re: Getting faster when getting into mid 50s ? A dream or a possibility
« Reply #4 on: February 27, 2016, 03:01:47 pm »
It all depends where you are starting from. If you were training and fit at, say, 30, then it's very unlikely to be able to be as fast as you get older. However, many riders are now only starting in middle age, so they will have potential to improve rapidly.
I've looked into the effect of aging on power, and there is plenty of research that shows that a typical cyclist will lose about 3 watts/ year from their peak ( which may be anywhere from mid 20s to late 30s typically).
There is evidence that as a rider gets older, high intensity intervals are the most likely way to improve speed towards the maximum potential for the individual

Thanks useful thoughts; I`ve been cycling since 1970 !! and probable peak was at age 30 when did National 400 in less than 20 hours; similar 400 rides now take me around 23 to 25 hours. have never really done intensity / interval training as dislike concept of it (ie loads pain :(  ).

the 3 w loss a year I can relate to, when in 20s / 30s it was rare I was beaten up a hill by usual club riders, now a combination of 20 years + on and an extra 10kg has considerably slowed my hill climbing although I can still plug away at it steadily
....after the `tarte de pommes`, and  fortified by a couple of shots of limoncellos,  I flew up the Col de Bavella whilst thunderstorms rolled around the peaks above

offcumden

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Re: Getting faster when getting into mid 50s ? A dream or a possibility
« Reply #5 on: February 27, 2016, 04:49:26 pm »
As said above, Joe Friel's book (see link) has lots of interesting and useful stuff. 

You quote your average speed, but this is not necessarily helpful.  Much depends on the type of riding (hilly, urban commuting, on/off road?) and whether this is done at a constant effort level, or includes intermittent hard efforts. No need for formal 'interval training': occasional 'purple patches', or just charging up hills can be effective in boosting power/speed. Some people go as far as riding a weekly club '10' to raise their game, but you might prefer to retain your dignity  ;)

Re: Getting faster when getting into mid 50s ? A dream or a possibility
« Reply #6 on: February 27, 2016, 05:40:44 pm »
average speed was on road, not commuting and in hilly terrain generally , including Alps and Pyrenees weeks; total ascent in those two years was near 350 000 m, so not flat terrain at all ! Riding was steady effort with no racing etc, or indeed club runs or sportives
....after the `tarte de pommes`, and  fortified by a couple of shots of limoncellos,  I flew up the Col de Bavella whilst thunderstorms rolled around the peaks above

Re: Getting faster when getting into mid 50s ? A dream or a possibility
« Reply #7 on: February 27, 2016, 08:20:15 pm »
Joe Friel would class you as a classic athlete who has swapped intensity for steady state and will therefore see a 3w per year fall in power.  The only way to reverse that and maintain the speed seems to be intensive strength work and power work.

There are increasing numbers of men in the USA who are using testosterone patches as they head into the 60s and 70s to help maintain that muscle power.  Whether it will catch on here is difficult to tell.

Re: Getting faster when getting into mid 50s ? A dream or a possibility
« Reply #8 on: February 27, 2016, 08:32:50 pm »
Joe Friel would class you as a classic athlete who has swapped intensity for steady state and will therefore see a 3w per year fall in power.  The only way to reverse that and maintain the speed seems to be intensive strength work and power work.

There are increasing numbers of men in the USA who are using testosterone patches as they head into the 60s and 70s to help maintain that muscle power.  Whether it will catch on here is difficult to tell.
Only one small problem ( as well as supply) positive dope tests ( one at least in US I believe)

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Re: Getting faster when getting into mid 50s ? A dream or a possibility
« Reply #9 on: March 01, 2016, 12:19:22 am »
Not quite as old but have been doing structured training and some high intensity work and I've seen an impeovement. I don't mind the pain. Pain is temporary.

Re: Getting faster when getting into mid 50s ? A dream or a possibility
« Reply #10 on: March 01, 2016, 06:36:32 am »
There is only one way. Try harder little by little. ( progressive resistance )
If your 10 mile time is 28mins, try for 27 ½. When it gets there, try for 27.

“No one got good by takin it easy.”  Tommy Godwin, Olympic cyclist.

Re: Getting faster when getting into mid 50s ? A dream or a possibility
« Reply #11 on: March 01, 2016, 07:22:55 am »
So maybe if on my regular potter of 50-60 km around lanes I fitted in some 30 - 60 sec high intensity, high cadence (?) bursts eg sprint up slight hills, as fast as possible on flat that may help ? ,
....after the `tarte de pommes`, and  fortified by a couple of shots of limoncellos,  I flew up the Col de Bavella whilst thunderstorms rolled around the peaks above

offcumden

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Re: Getting faster when getting into mid 50s ? A dream or a possibility
« Reply #12 on: March 01, 2016, 08:57:21 am »
So maybe if on my regular potter of 50-60 km around lanes I fitted in some 30 - 60 sec high intensity, high cadence (?) bursts eg sprint up slight hills, as fast as possible on flat that may help ? ,

Done, say, a couple of times a week for several weeks, that should begin to show results. 

Have a look at this - http://joefriel.typepad.com/blog/search.html - and search for 'aging'.

Have fun.

Re: Getting faster when getting into mid 50s ? A dream or a possibility
« Reply #13 on: March 01, 2016, 09:09:23 am »
That would almost certainly help you get faster than you are now. Doing  shorter, 10km as an example, at a target speed - faster than your usual average, could also help.
Personally, I prefer to do short, hard intervals on the Wattbike, in typically 1 hr sessions, and then be able to ride tempo and enjoy myself more, when on the road.
Does this make me faster? Well, not as fast as I was 10 years ago, but almost certainly faster than I would be if I was just riding steadily all the time.
Racing is also likely to make you faster - the racing itself is good high effort stuff, and the regime of training. Depending on where you live, and if you have the patience to get the through the long accreditation processes ( I don't!) Vets SQT sessions on the track will also help with speed. However, if you look at the times of over 50s, over 60s etc on the track, which is a comparable environment, you can see how age affects speed.
In short, we can go faster in our 50s (than we would be without specific training), but it does mean changing how you ride, maybe riding less but harder. For some people I can understand how this would turn an enjoyable recreation into a wearing regime ( at least, that's how I feel on a nice day when I would enjoy a relaxed ride in the countryside, but instead do specific hard efforts in a gym on the Wattbike)

Re: Getting faster when getting into mid 50s ? A dream or a possibility
« Reply #14 on: March 01, 2016, 09:37:06 am »
So maybe if on my regular potter of 50-60 km around lanes I fitted in some 30 - 60 sec high intensity, high cadence (?) bursts eg sprint up slight hills, as fast as possible on flat that may help ? ,

Done, say, a couple of times a week for several weeks, that should begin to show results. 

Have a look at this - http://joefriel.typepad.com/blog/search.html - and search for 'aging'.

Have fun.

very useful and much to read there, thanks  :thumbsup: Think I`ll try a few quicker bursts riding at times , but as part of my normal riding to keep it still fun and enjoyable. And possibly reduce overall amount have more days off might help
....after the `tarte de pommes`, and  fortified by a couple of shots of limoncellos,  I flew up the Col de Bavella whilst thunderstorms rolled around the peaks above

Re: Getting faster when getting into mid 50s ? A dream or a possibility
« Reply #15 on: March 01, 2016, 12:11:13 pm »
I think there are things you could do to mitigate the natural loss of power that comes with age, but you would have to cut the miles down drastically.  I've been on training camps with super fit guys in their 50's and 60's and I've raced against veterans who were beating the times they recorded in their youth but they all said the same thing - you can still train hard, but you have to rest more.

In other words, fewer miles.  Doing the sort of riding you do I don't think there's anything you can do but accept a gradual slowing down.

The loss of power manifests itself mostly in hill climbing.  Many of us older folk will recognise that feeling of not being able to zonk up the hills any more, but I think you can mitigate this again with specific training, but it will hurt.  I'm 60 and feel as though I'm just hanging on but only by virtue of a lot of short intensity riding.  I often wonder at what point you simply have to accept the effects of age - the great Brain Robinson took to an electric bike at 83 I think, and he was a top international rider - what about the rest of us?   




Re: Getting faster when getting into mid 50s ? A dream or a possibility
« Reply #16 on: March 01, 2016, 12:24:22 pm »
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hypertrophy-specific_Training

Power only comes from heavy pedal strokes, more often.

Mix 'power-work' with spinning on a hilly road route, and you'll get more powerful.

A big mistake 'more mature' cyclists make is eating at the same rate as they did when they were young. A closer regulation of nutrition intake is required alongside a physical training programme.

Go for it...  :thumbsup:

Re: Getting faster when getting into mid 50s ? A dream or a possibility
« Reply #17 on: March 01, 2016, 01:16:56 pm »
The loss of power manifests itself mostly in hill climbing

very much what I`m noticing, my local 150m ascent / 2 km hill I could do in 9 min in 2010 ; I can barely get under 10 minutes for it now--often I`m taking near 11 minutes for it.

As for `fewer miles` last few months due to redundancy enforced  `temporary retirement` I have been using cycling to get out of the house to avoid stagnating at home and that situation seems to be continuing
....after the `tarte de pommes`, and  fortified by a couple of shots of limoncellos,  I flew up the Col de Bavella whilst thunderstorms rolled around the peaks above

CrazyEnglishTriathlete

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Re: Getting faster when getting into mid 50s ? A dream or a possibility
« Reply #18 on: March 01, 2016, 03:14:35 pm »
One of the things that I took out of Joe Friel's book is the importance of rest.  However, that's proper rest not just rest from physical activities.  I've observed a fairly good correlation between my professional workload and my speed/performance on the bike.  When I'm knackered from work pressures I don't train as well and my speed goes down.  (I was 2 hours over par on the Severn Across last year and back on par for the Kernow & SW simply for that reason - the performance difference is also clear on shorter rides - I'm riding worse now than a month ago...

The amount you do on other things may be something you have control over, in which case doing less other stuff gives you more time to rest so that when you train you can train harder.  If you've just put in a 60 hour week you probably won't be able to train very hard.
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Re: Getting faster when getting into mid 50s ? A dream or a possibility
« Reply #19 on: March 01, 2016, 05:20:39 pm »
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hypertrophy-specific_Training

A big mistake 'more mature' cyclists make is eating at the same rate as they did when they were young. A closer regulation of nutrition intake is required alongside a physical training programme.

Go for it...  :thumbsup:

One of the things that I took out of Joe Friel's book is the importance of rest.  However, that's proper rest not just rest from physical activities.  I've observed a fairly good correlation between my professional workload and my speed/performance on the bike.  When I'm knackered from work pressures I don't train as well and my speed goes down.  (I was 2 hours over par on the Severn Across last year and back on par for the Kernow & SW simply for that reason - the performance difference is also clear on shorter rides - I'm riding worse now than a month ago...

The amount you do on other things may be something you have control over, in which case doing less other stuff gives you more time to rest so that when you train you can train harder.  If you've just put in a 60 hour week you probably won't be able to train very hard.

Wise words there I'd say. 

People often accuse me of being "naturally thin" which I resent as there's nothing "natural" about it, but there is a lot of determination and self restraint.  As Ning says the older you get the more you have to think carefully about what, and how much, you eat.  And of course cyclists often justify eating a lot by doing big miles but again the effect of this isn't the same once you pass 40, I've found.

I also agree with the totality of activity having an effect the older you get.  Years ago I tried commuting by bike  - 35 miles each way - which theoretically given my state of fitness at the time should have been easy, but the ride home was often a killer.  We underestimate the effect of work related pressure/stress.

   

Re: Getting faster when getting into mid 50s ? A dream or a possibility
« Reply #20 on: March 01, 2016, 06:04:25 pm »
some good advise here. my dad started cycling at 61 (he's 63 this year), asks me gazillion questions, reads Joe Friel, does some structured training and plans on getting a power meter too.. the increase in fitness was very obvious in the first year, but now leveled off. i think there's a room for growth for another 5-7 years and then to maintain fitness for another 5-10 years, if motivation is there*.

it seems that people are keen to write themselves off too soon, 70 is the new 20 :thumbsup:

*he has done his first (hilly) 300 ride few days ago and there are plans for bigger rides

mattc

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Re: Getting faster when getting into mid 50s ? A dream or a possibility
« Reply #21 on: March 01, 2016, 06:38:11 pm »
I've read that a few (not very large) studies - plus anecdotal evidence from coaches of "mature" athletes - suggest that most folks who take things seriously see improvement for about 10 years (with Yr1 being the biggest, of course). Then they plateau and/or start declining.

If you start at 16, the improvements may continue for longer, but for us older folk the effects of aging at some point start to defeat the effects of all the training, nutrition yada yada ...

The 10 Year Effect seems to work equally for 40yos and 60yos.
Has never ridden RAAM
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Re: Getting faster when getting into mid 50s ? A dream or a possibility
« Reply #22 on: March 01, 2016, 08:30:33 pm »
I returned to cycling at 47 after 25 years off with a knee problem which I now realise was related to old style zero-float pedal/clip/cleat systems.

I came back into it at 47 fit from other sports.  Through progressive training I am now fitter and faster on the bike, with fairly limited mileage (under 4,000 miles a year).

My goal was to get fitter and faster so, so far so good.  I'm about to turn 52 which will coincide with my second season of TT-ing.

On a rolling (around 50 feet of height gain per mile) 20 mile route I'm averaging 17mph on a steady training ride, 18-19mph on a hard ride and 20mph+ on an eyeballs-out ride.  In the local 10 (not all that flat) I'm doing consistently over 23mph average.  All of these averages are significantly faster than I was doing 5 years ago.

I now expect to do a hilly 100 mile sportive at over 16mph (except the Fred!!).

It's a real buzz to be in my 50s and still getting stronger and faster.

Due to family/work life I'm limited to lots of shorter rides (occasional long ones) so I tend to train at high intensity most of the time (what I see is referred to as "sweet spot" training these days).   I live in hilly country so almost all routes lend themselves to be effectively interval sessions if one makes big efforts on the many hills.   I do very little turbo work but am cramming in more consciously, this winter/spring, proper intervals during training rides to increase my power output and am slowly shedding one or two more pounds.  The stopwatch will tell me if I've been successful! 

Re: Getting faster when getting into mid 50s ? A dream or a possibility
« Reply #23 on: March 02, 2016, 07:58:39 am »
As a 61 year old who re-started cycling at age 58 with a 20 odd year prior period of absolutely no exercise whatsoever, I can say that you can re-gain some of your fitness and strength as you age, but it ain’t easy.

My first re-bike ride at 58 was a tentative 3 miler round my house which comprised of a stretch of mildly undulating generally downhill then a length of flat road followed by a long steady climb of about 3% and finally a shorter downhill home. I used every one of the 21 gears I had on that ride and I was slooow. Got back home and felt like I was going to die, Sweating profusely, legs unable to walk properly and gasping for air with my heart racing which felt like it was in my throat not my chest. For the rest of the day I was knackered, unable to do anything but sleep. Looking at those pictures up thread of leg muscles, mine probably would have looked like the 74 year olds’ with no exercise, little muscle fibre with broken mitochondria and too much fat around it.

I followed this up each Sunday with a slightly further ride until I could ride a decent distant without too much effort. I then decided I needed more exercise so I joined a gym and used the bike there first twice a week but found this was too much as I wasn’t recovering between bouts so I simply did Wednesday gym and Sunday bike. This seemed to help. I then got an old book of heart rate training for cyclists and did those exercises religiously keeping my heart rate around 70% MHR thinking I was doing myself good after all base training was supposed to be long and slow right? This Christmas saw me off the bike and exercise for about 2 weeks total due to my arthritic hip giving way. When I got back to the gym my right leg was like a pencil compared to my other leg and had no strength in it at all, in fact I had to haul myself up the stairs with the banister for a couple of weeks in place of that leg not being able to raise my body weight. What ever happened to my fitness and strength I’d built up the last 2 years? Gone.

Since Christmas I started training with power as my base and have since come on in leaps and bounds. My leg muscles now feel more like they did 30 years ago, alright not quite so good but much better than previous and my cycling is getting much quicker and more enjoyable. I’ve found that high intensity training is the way forward for old gits, I do 2 sessions per week of an hour each Tuesday and Thursday 20 mins warm up (not enough I know) followed by 3 x 10 minute sessions maintaining a power which elevates my heart rate to my anaerobic threshold with 3 minutes in between at a low power recovery. This regime has transformed my abilities way beyond the previous long slow effort I had been doing. I also recover much quicker than ever.

I suppose my take home message is that there is light at the end of the tunnel for us old gimmers but it’s not an easy road to take, but rewarding. I totally agree with what Joe Friel says in his book again up thread as my experimentation on myself is living (well almost) proof.

Pedal Castro

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Re: Getting faster when getting into mid 50s ? A dream or a possibility
« Reply #24 on: March 02, 2016, 06:12:32 pm »
I am now 55 and started riding again about three years ago after a 22 year layoff. When I started again I told Mrs PC I wouldn't race again but stick with my first love of touring. It wasn't long after my first tour (to Cuba) that I stumbled into audax, then last year I did a handful of TTs. On no speed training, only miles, I didn't embarrass myself but I wasn't as fast as I was in 1990.

I have now started training properly and my targets are PBs at all TT distances and the club 12h record. I am assuming that aging can be overcome by training, because I didn't take it that seriously when I was younger :-)

On the subject of Joe Friels book, it is interesting that he says HIIT is the way to go for older athletes, but of course that was/is true for all ages I would suggest.