Age and adaptive training plans

Hi there.

Does plan builder and by extension Adaptive training take into account a persons age when building a plan or adapting??

Like, I’m 48 yrs old now, have been a competitive cyclist for about 35 of those years.
And although i think there are aspects to my fitness now that are better than they have ever been, its quite obvious i need way more recovery than even 5 years ago.

Thats certainly not to say i need things easy though. My speciality now days is marathon mountain bike races (+6hrs) or basically any riding/events/races that get up over that 6hr mark.
But looking at plan builder and its suggested 4 big sweet spot workouts a week in the base phase, i reckon id start to get run down after a few weeks of that.
I also realise i can adjust plan as required and i have the experience to know what i can and can’t do.
But im wondering is the plan, plan builder sets for someone my age different than a 21yr old?? i guess it would be very hard to do.


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No on age, pick lv and adjust as needed by adding more volume if you can

If you like endurance stuff do Traditional Base plans as those are my go to plans and find they are quite good.


No, it doesn’t take age into account (nor a host of other potential factors). This has been discussed at length in several threads, e.g. this one:


Yeah so as I suspected really.

  1. If 4 sweet spot workouts is too much, choose a lower volume plan.

  2. The whole point of adaptive training is not to make assumptions about age, etc. It is to look at how YOU are responding to the plan. If you are completing workouts comfortably, it will give you harder workouts. If you are struggling to complete the workouts, it will give you easier workouts. And the harder and easier adaptions may differ for say, sweet spot versus VO2Max workouts, depending on how you respond to each style of workout. You will end up with a different workout plan than another 48 year old who responds differently.


I think this is really the key bit - if you are struggling with the progression for any reason (including age), it should adapt to that and serve you up a slower progression. And vice versa of course. In that respect I think it should be a lot better than pre-AT where everyone was fixed to the same progressions.

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Age is just a number, at 45 there are some 50-60 year olds far faster/ stronger than me and similarly I’m stronger than some 20-30 year old. What AT will do is take age out of the equation and look at your individual performance bespoke to you at the time.

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But @SJB is right in some ways: PB and AT will not alter the structure of plans in response to our desires to do, say, 3 weeks on / 1 week recovery or no more than 2 or 3 hard sessions per week. At this stage, at least, all that AT will do is modify the individual workouts.

There are work arounds. @ericallenboyd suggests a LV plan with added workouts. My alternative is to go HV, and merge the Friday Z2 ride with Sunday’s easier SS ride and then create a long Z2 ride. Which sort of basis you work from depends on how much time you have during the week for longer hard sessions.

Traditional Base will not work in PB, and so will not work in AT. Polarized does work in PB and so in AT.

You can push weeks in the plan to create a recovery week. Then just copy and paste the existing recovery week workouts into the spare week that you’ve created and, when you come to it, delete the existing recovery week.

But in the end, if you want to modify the structure in any substantial way you will need to keep making modifications. Workouts that you adapt / modify in this way will not get adapted by AT, but they will contribute to planned workouts in the future.

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I second @ericallenboyd’s suggestion: lower your volume and pad your training plan with Z2 workouts and/or extend the fewer workouts at intensity. Some of the older riders in my team are tough as nails and will keep up with the youngsters like me (I’m 40 btw) over a long day even though they no longer have the same snap they used to.

I realized, too, I was carrying too much fatigue in MV Short Power Base, so I replaced the Sunday sweet spot workouts with longer endurance workouts. Worked like a charm for me.

TR might be a tough go for you as it is me. I’ve been training and racing fir nearly as long as you (31 years) and three intense days per week (yeah I’m calling 94%of FTP intense) is all I can handle. It cuts your riding down to 4 1/2 hours per week and even then can bury you. Now that we can actually ride a decent amount it seems the plan sticks us on exclusively 4-5 hours of intensity. I’m not convinced either way but after a few weeks of adaptive training that’s what I’m thinking. Most of the people doing these plans are experiencing noob gains….which is really great but not anything like what you are experiencing.


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Yes 31 years is a lot more than me! But I have had good gains with AT coming off 5 years of TR… I don’t think that counts as noob gains although your perspective may differ :smiley:

If you select an LV plan you will not get 5 hours a week of intensity, typical structure is 2x 1hr (“Difficult” according to plan builder) in the week and 1 x 1.5 hr (not always “Difficult”) at the weekend.

The good thing with AT is it is very easy now to select a lighter alternate. So you could keep the 2 harder 1hr rides midweek and reduce the 90 minute weekend ride to something in the Achievable category - or replace it entirely with a longer endurance ride as above.

More flexibility with setting rest weeks would be much appreciated in Plan Builder. The push-pull week option seems to have gone now with PB/AT which is kind of annoying.

I’ve had a couple of weeks this year where I was away with friends/family, but with a bike, and would have set it as a recovery week, but PB seems to think the best option when you set time off is just to skip the workouts in that week and leave everything else as normal - I had one where I had my week off with a bit of light social riding then went straight into a rest week. Which was daft.

I appreciate that time off doesn’t always equal a rest week (and can be stressful in other ways) but you should at least have the option.

Sure would.

Thanks for the comment, that’s great to hear, I hope it happens for me too!

This week for me is starlight -2 (3X10 minutes over unders), redondo +2 (10 minutes at 94% with two 150% 20 second spikes), and redondo +2 again. 94-95% plus some efforts above FTP are damn tough and three per week seems like a ton of intensity for being in my “base phase”.

I feel like I’m not riding very much (because I’m not!!) but the 4 1/2 hours per week I am on the bike feels super tough. I’m gonna stick with it and see what happens but usually when I get to this point in SSBLV I bomb out of the plan.

How’d that feel? Very difficult. Why? Intensity!!!


I just started with AT, but can’t you skip workouts and it will adjust? Same thing with adding in rest weeks, and it will adjust? That is my plan - let PB set it up but when I have a week where I only want two intense sessions, just replace the third with Z2 and let AT view it as a skipped workout, adjusting the go-forward plan. The other thread about AT being open in beta for everyone has some info about adding a rest week.

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