Adaptations for Getting Older

Just wondering how the older age group on here change some of the workouts to suit, for example my Training plan gave me 3 x 13 -30 sec vo2 with 15 sec rest which for me at 52 was in my opinion not too hard but too strenuous so after every two intervals i gave my self an extra 30 secs rest and managed to complete the whole session … thoughts


One thing that I recall hearing on the podcast is that brief pauses during longer recovery valleys are okay to a point but that pauses in shorter ones may affect the software’s determination of successful completion. Perhaps someone can chime in with details or it may be a good question for support to get details.

I’ve found that as I get older and after recovering from Covid that I can complete higher level endurance, tempo, and shorter intervals while struggling more with sustained threshold.

To address this I am using workout alternates for those specific workouts and finding either lower intensity workouts (lower levels) or workouts with recovery valleys I am confident in.

So in your particular example, I have found an alternate workout that were 30:30 vs 30:15. This way I’m not completing a modified 30:15 which could confuse the ML about my abilities.

54 here. I’ve not adapted any workouts because of my age. Not sure why one would. If you’re following a TR plan AT will adapt it based on performance, just as a coach would (or oneself if self-coached)


That’s not too strenuous for your age. How many high intensity sessions are you doing a week. Did you enter the workout relatively fresh?

I only started my structured training at the age you are now. The only thing I stick with is no more than two high intensity workouts a week. Plus I make sure I have a couple of days a week off the bike.


Experiment! We are all different. Back when I was a couple years older than you are now, I started cycling and was self-coached. Back then my structured training looked nothing like TR plans, because I mostly rode my bike and did some intervals. Focused on hours per week (7+ hours/week). It worked, really well. Then I tried the TR challenge, reducing hours with more structure. It didn’t work as well, got slower. Then I went back to less structure, added a little more hours/week, and it worked, really well. Got faster again. Then hired a coach to help me figure it out, hit 400 hours last year (almost 8 hours/week). At sixty one I’m basically back to where I was at six years ago. For me, structure is overrated and its mostly about consistently logging hours, year after year. My focus is doing just enough structure to get adaptations, the way I think of it is a plan with built-in recovery to protect an endurance first principle (more hours) and make room for the adaptations.

Less (structure) is more (hours) and more gainz. I’ve 100% increased absolute vo2max, relative vo2max, FTP, and short power to higher levels on 8 hours/week of mostly endurance riding than I did on 5 hours of mostly structure.

Right now almost decade older I could do TR Brasted - 3 sets of 13x30/15s - its not that strenuous. But it will (eventually) impact consistently hitting 8+ hours/week in the future. Based on what I’ve done so far, I’d rather ride 2 hours and include 1 set of those intervals.

You might be different. But something to think about.


Was that workout listed as achievable, productive, or stretch by TR? Whether the difficulty was due to age or previous training is a complex question. I’d suggest trying alternate workouts with different interval patterns but similar TSS overall to see if they better suit you. Or maybe lower the intensity of that workout by 5 or 10% and slowly ratchet it back up on subsequent attempts.


Most definitely, my mate who is in his mid 50s just chucked in his job to become a pro cyclist :astonished:

Another way would be to do the workouts in resistance mode and accept not hitting the power targets but continuing giving it anything (ie panting) for the duration anyway


I would start by not following a standard template plan to begin with.

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I don’t think age is a factor. I’m 50 and just did Ansel Adams -3 (VO2 50 on/40 off) the the other day and it was hard but I managed. Although that might be me, as I prefer short intervals (up to 5 min) versus longer threshold workouts (intervals 10+ min). I guess mentally I find suffering a lot for a short period easier than suffering a fair amount for a longer period of time. :wink: In the end, answer the post-workout survey accurately and let AT do it’s thing.


I’m the same age as you. I doubt age makes this workout ‘too strenuous’. It’s probable that you just don’t have your performance levels dialed in yet. Whether age makes recovery/adaptation too difficult is another matter…

Here’s a good article:

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Follow one of the master’s athlete plans…oh wait, we still don’t have those yet.


They have to be very cautious about master athletes plans. We are old, opinionated and know what we are doing. ???


What I think you need more of as you age is rest and recovery in between workouts. Granted I’m only mid 40’s not mid 50’s yet, but I feel any individual workout isn’t impacted yet, but I do have to be much more focused on eating, sleeping, recovering so I can be ready for the next one.

“I’m not as good as I once was, but I’m as good once as I ever was.”

With that said, muscle loss does start to become a thing. As you get older strength training is one of the most important things you can do for general health and longevity and there’s a pretty strong body of research that says you should focus on it more and more as you get older.

That strength / muscle loss will impact you on certain workout types and your peak PL’s as you get older, it just depends on the individual and how much you’re training to prevent it.


I’m 54, and don’t adjust any of the workouts. I’ve been working with structure in some form since my early 40’s. My volume has generally been around 7-10 hrs/week.

I’ve always had trouble with sustained threshold efforts, and have done well with the short, sharp efforts like 30/30’s and sub-5 minute all outs. That hasn’t really changed. What has changed is my sensitivity to other things like poor sleep, non-ideal fueling (on or off the bike), and life stress. What once was an annoyance to push through can now derail a workout. I’m having to learn how to recover better too.

If you’re having trouble with “productive” workouts, I’d look to external factors first, not your age. And be honest with the post workout survey. Ego will get you into trouble.



I’m 52 and what has made my entire structured training on the trainer more successful is the LV plan. By any metric, miles, hours, TSS I’ve been reducing my training time three years running. I’m also faster and in better shape by almost all metrics. I am a bit heavier.

I can see a time coming where I might need to step up to a medium volume plan, or just ride more in general for a boost in adaptations. For now I’m just sticking with the plan. I also have accepted every adaptation, and I try to tell TR the truthful answer. I do sometimes question what it is doing, like when it edits a workout weeks from now. I will say for me it just works. I’ve had some really hard workouts on occasion, but I haven’t failed one in a very long time.

I’d just fail the workouts in the way you need and answer the survey questions accurately. I bet it all turns out, and isn’t dependent on age as one might think.


I am 10 years older then you. I found recovery is critical for how the workouts feel. I still find if I have worked up to that workout then I am able to achieve it.

We all adapt differently though so taking some extra rest from my perspective for me would mean I need more rest prior to the workout or the workout is a bit beyond me. I tend to be more inclined to follow the general premise of the workout so if you need 30secs rest every two intervals I would suggest you switch to 30/20s or 30/30s and see how those go. I find 30/15s definitely require me to be at the correct level to do them consistently throughout the workout.

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My personal feeling about many of the TR plans has firmed up over the years. Enough so that I did not sub for the first time in years (4 or 5 years). Coupled with the price hike at a time of high inflation, I’m doing something else this year and it’s going great. In short, for me, there was too much intensity at 56.

It may not be my age but decades ago as a D1 runner I did well with low mileage and high intensity. I actually like intervals but always broke down and was tired a lot with the TR plans (3-4 hard sessions per week). Yes, I did the mid and even played with the high-volume plans. However, last year I did the low vol plan and felt unprepared outdoor. Until this week I have done very consistent, “high” mileage (for me) and have an FTP near my best from . . . 2-years ago? Now doing 8.5-10 hrs per week all year.

Anyway, I love TR. The podcast and the people and the science won me over. Honestly, this is my 7th year and I’m still trying to figure out what works as I’m fighting off the aging process. I just want to ride my bike and make these youngsters work for it!

PS: I have found that I need to recover more. I ride 5x per week and take 2 off. It works for me. Those 2 days feel absolutely necessary.


Did you try the POL plans? I am doing MV, which is 2 hard rides (one VO2 and one Threshold) per week plus Z2 and adding extra Z2 and/or Strength, which still gives me 2 days off per week. I’m enjoying it.


Im only 47 but I think with the amount of outdoor riding I am doing I need to recover more so I have dropped the intensity of the middle of the three LV workouts to an endurance intensity.

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