Is it just age?

Discussion in 'Cycling Training' started by Returning_cyclist, Dec 13, 2019.

  1. Returning_cyclist

    Returning_cyclist New Member

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    Gotten involved in cycling again after like a 25 year break(I'm 63). I bought a Trek Hybrid and it's been ok. I'm riding about 50 miles a week right now. But I don't really see much improvement in speed, ability to climb, etc. Back in the day, if I was riding regularly I'd see real improvement in my ability to climb and go longer distances. But I don't really see much/any improvement now. Is it just that at my age, muscles don't build easily?

    Any suggestions about how to proceed?

    Thanks!
     
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  2. Froze

    Froze Well-Known Member

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    With age comes a longer period of training time to get up to even half of where you once were! I know because I'm 63 as well. So you have train longer than someone half your age, that should not have come as a surprise to you.

    What I suggest is following a program of training for say a 100 mile ride (in one day). With the wonderful world of bias internet we can find some useful tools like this training schedule: http://www.angelsofaction.org/wp-co...an-16-week-intermediate-experienced-rider.pdf In order for this to work you have to follow it to the letter beginning with week one even though you said you can do 50 miles in week, but following the schedule to the letter you prevent injuries and burnout. If your goal is not doing a 100 miles in day but say rather 50 is your goal then simply train till week 8. To maintain that level of fitness you will have to constantly do week 8 after that, or if you decide to shoot for a higher level say a few months after you reached the 50 mile goal you simply go to week 9 and continue till you reach your new goal. That schedule is good for base miles, you need to do that first before going for speed, but speed will improve gradually and naturally as you pile on the miles, but to get significantly more speed you will have to do interval training AFTER you get those base miles in. You can come back here later after you completed whatever goal you want to get to and we can go on with how to improve your speed at that point.

    Another thing to seriously consider at your age is going to a gym and working out to improve your overall body conditioning, again this will take a lot more time then it did in your 20's but you can improve your body over time. The new thing that science has discovered that working out with lighter weight and doing more reps is just as effective as working out with heavy weights and less reps, but the lighter more reps will be less injurious to your body.

    If you decide to go to the gym then I would do the cycling thing every other day and going to the gym on the off cycle days. As you get older you don't want to overwork your muscles or you will become fatigued due to not resting your muscles and that will frustrate you because you can't figure out why you're not improving or feel tired when working out...that's a sign of overdoing it. So don't go crazy at the gym, just spend about a 1/2 of an hour working a circuit working on devices designed to improve your core which in turn will improve your cycling ability.

    If you would rather buy your own gym stuff instead of going someplace a machine that I saw that I know works because I know a guy who is 73 years old and uses it every day for about 1/2 hour and since he's done that and walks a couple of miles a day, I've seen a dramatic improvement on his fitness look and level, that machine is the one that Chuck Norris sponsors and uses himself every day called the Total Gym, it's actually cheaper than other types of machines but if you watch Craigslist long enough you can find one for a lot less money.
     
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  3. Returning_cyclist

    Returning_cyclist New Member

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    Thank you for the detailed reply. I looked at the 16 week training plan. My problem is that I've been stuck at week 3 in the program for about 2 months. Rides over 25 miles are hard, and any climbing takes a lot out of me. Part of it is that I have osteoarthritis in my neck and spine. I have to stop and stretch about every 1/2 hour. But that shouldn't affect that my legs turn to mush at mile 20, even though I've wracked up 600+ miles over the last 3 months.

    I think I'm going to take your advice about doing some work in the gym, see if that helps.

    Again, thank you for the reply.
     
  4. jhuskey

    jhuskey Moderator

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    I have been alternating cycling and weight training for 18 years. Seems to work well for me. I can't do the hard miles I did 10 years ago but do pretty well for my age. I think what you do in the earlier years has an impact on later performance. With that said don't get discouraged. It takes the pros 6000 miles of training to prepare for a season of racing.
    Be consistent in your efforts but have fun. It also helps to have a training partner that is a little better than you.
     
  5. Froze

    Froze Well-Known Member

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    I would suggest, if you haven't already, is to see a doc for a complete physical and tell the doc what you are wanting to do and what is exactly happening to you when you try to do that and for how long that has been happening. Give the doc details, details, details, write those details down before you go so you don't forget anything.
     
  6. rclouviere

    rclouviere New Member

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    Froze gave you some excellent advice.

    I’m 62 and have been in the gym, consistently for over 25 years and cycling for around 15 years. Age is obviously somewhat of a barrier, but with the right program and dedication, i believe, the results will come. This last year i cycled over 8,000 miles and was in the gym for around 300 days. It was only possible because I’m retired. However, i can push many of the young cyclists and end up on leaderboards for many of the strava segments around here.

    I’d recommend getting a strava account and getting a gps if you haven’t already. You can compete against yourself on the segments and, for me, it’s very motivating And i can see my improvement.

    Finally, over the last year or so, I’ve added a stretching program to my routine. I believe it has helped with performance and injury reduction.

    i think, if you see the doctor as froze recommended, he’ll say the above program will help the osteoarthritis.
     
  7. Lenkearney

    Lenkearney New Member

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    I can relate- I am 69, 5'8" and 200# - took me a while to get beyond 20 - now I am doing 30s, with plans to do 40s.

    couple suggestions..
    -I can't go hard every day - sometimes not even every other day. How fast are you doing your 20? If you slow down can you go longer?
    I do a ride a week where i keep my heart date under 126 - (my max is about 165) I have to focus to keep it that low. I try to do at least 90 minutes.
    Also do a spin class once a week, this is my HIT effort - only an hour but wears me out.​

    -are you hydrated? This was a big issue for me, I was not drinking enough before or during the ride. Now I use a camel back and drink every 15 minutes.

    - are you eating? If you average 15MPH, then a 20 is taking over an hour. Try snacking on something after 30 minutes, then every 15 after

    - Climbing is hard. I had bike with a granny gear and I was not ashamed to use it. I found sitting in the saddle and cranking away more effective than standing (for me).

    - on long rides (two hours) I have hand, shoulder and neck pain., this is an ongoing issue for me as I am somewhat top heavy. Have you had a professional bike fit? Sitting more upright may help the neck issues

    - I found someone to ride with. This helped a lot as it was more fun.

    Len
     
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