Programme adjustments for age

I don't think I've seen this discussed here - apologies if it has been - but as far as I'm aware, there's no way of adjusting your training programmes to take account of age and I'm after some pointers. 

Clearly as you get older, even if you retain a relatively high fitness level, your body does change and, in particular, recovery isn't as good for someone, say, in their 50s as it would have been 30 years earlier. No prizes for guessing which end of the spectrum I fall. I also appreciate that this is going to vary with individuals, but in very general terms, your cookie cutter plans don't take any account of age-related recovery differences, so while a younger athlete might be able to sustain two or three relatively hard consecutive training days, an older rider might struggle.

I'm wondering what the best way to tackle this is. Would it make sense to substitute an easier session instead of a consecutive hard day for example, one targeting a different part of your fitness? Or to dial back intensity or even duration on a second hard session. Or simply to substitute an endurance session or even a recovery one? Or to play it by ear depending on how well recovered you feel / if HRV levels indicate.

I know it's not an exact science, but any general pointers would be appreciated. Any thoughts?




  • Official comment
    Hey Jon!
    Great question!  I was able to reach out to our Chief Science Officer, Sir Neal Henderson for an answer to your question.  Here is what he had to say:
    "As something to consider, each individual's needs and responses for training do have some variation. We do have some older athletes who are capable of adapting and improving with relatively aggressive training, and we also have young athletes who need more gradual increases in training. That being said, almost all of the Novice and Intermediate plans are 2 weeks of progression, followed by an easier week. The Advanced plans are generally 3 weeks of progression, followed by an easier week. Using the Novice and Intermediate plans will tend to match the type of training progression that might match an older athlete. Also, as mentioned - for a second hard session in a week it could be helpful to reduce the goal intensity if they are having difficulty finishing the sessions or if they are not improving with the workload that the plan suggests.
    I hope that helps!"
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  • Hi Cody,

    Sorry, I thought I'd already come back and thanked you for your rapid and useful reply. I guess I somehow never pressed submit, so... thanks to you and Neal for your rapid and useful reply. I've been wiped out with some death virus for a few months anyway, but I'll definitely take Neal's thoughts into account once I'm back to some sort of normal level.




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  • Of course, Jon!  The pleasure is ours!

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  • I'm glad I found this.  Today I completed the first week of the intermediate road plan riding Blender.  I had given myself a day of rest between Team Scream and Blender, but I found often I could not hit the suggested numbers, and even had to stop for a minute in the middle of the second set of pain shakes.  At 67 I find I don't recover as quickly from hard sessions as I did even 5 years ago.  I'll take Sir Neal's advice into consideration.



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