Age related plans for Over 50s

I am a 62 he old experienced road and CX rider, competed at National level and new to TR. A question I have is whether the age of a rider is taken into account when determining the selection of workouts in a training plan.
From experience I am aware of the need for additional rest and to keep intense workouts short and less frequent than for a younger rider. My current FTP was coming out as 207 with a weight of 144 lbs, but am due to retest on Monday. I am now retired and train for 10 to 12 hrs a week, resting HR is 32, max 160.


Welcome @Raythebike. I’m 54 with likely less of an endurance training history than you have. I’ve found that in general I can tune the plans with either dropping one of the intensity days (2 vs 3) or by going with a reduced versions. I also make the easy days easier. This lets me train 5 days with two rest days on Monday and Friday.


You should consider doing some minor rearranging, by moving to a 2 weeks on and 1 week recovery (instead of 5/1 for base, and 3/1 for build).


At 57, I do the low volume SS base plan (so 3 sessions/wk), and add one session if/when I can. I know my knee won’t hold up if I ramp up volume/intensity too fast, but so far (4 weeks into it) so good. If needed I’ll change the periodicity to 3/1 (i.e. adding a rest/easy week after every 3 weeks). It’s all about knowing what you can and can’t do, and not locking yourself into a plan that you can’t execute or that will cause injuries.

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… and the funny thing is Max HR - which for the first time in my life is getting close to the darn 220-age formula. I’ve always had a low max HR, but it has slowly dropped (about 160 as well now).

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I’m 51 with an extensive background in long distance running and tri’s, but w/ a 10 year layoff (~2006-2016) due to chronic fatigue syndrome (now in remission). I’ve been doing TR for about 6 weeks (SSB mid volume for full distance tri), and find the workouts to be dead on in terms of intensity and duration. I haven’t had to bail on any of them, and can tell my FTP has increased (although I haven’t re-tested yet). I would say if you’re having any difficulty completing or recovering from the workouts, drop down a level (ie from mid to low), or manually lower your FTP a bit. Otherwise, I think FTP is a solid indicator of your current ability - if you score 207w (or higher on the next test), I feel like the program will automatically adjust to your abilities and challenge you just enough to keep you improving

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Here are two options that I have documented. I am using Option 2 and it is great for me, at 47 yo.


@Raythebike I’m probably not too dissimilar from you: 61, and while not a national level competitor, I have been training with an elite cycling team for the past 3 years (i.e. lots of volume at a “spirited” level). I’m 6 months into TR and here are a couple of tips that worked for me:

  1. While knowing your FTP is obviously important for setting power-based training zones, knowing your FTHR is equally important. Do Andy Coggan’s 20min FTP test. In addition to being a great protocol for FTP testing (that you are probably quite accustomed to doing), you will get your FTHR (as far as I know, it’s not available with the Ramp Test).

  2. At the completion of each interval, monitor how long it takes for your HR to go from Z4 (threshold) to Z3 (tempo) to Z2 (endurance) - the way we used to do training :slight_smile: . Import the prescribed workout into Workout Creator (a great tool!) and adjust the Rest Intervals for what you need.
    Note: I created a mini-chart for myself that has both my power zones and HR zones that I use during my workouts for referencing.

After a couple of weeks of doing this, I found that I no longer needed to make any RI adjustments. And given your training background, my suspicion is that it won’t be long before you don’t have to either. As for the macro-adjustments recommended (e.g. 3 on 1 off, etc), I think you will have to listen to your body. I use TP Premium’s PMC chart to monitor my training load and fatigue level and layer my body feeling on top of that to make adjustments (e.g. day off; changing an endurance day to recovery; or the opposite - doing a +1, +2 workout; longer endurance block between training blocks).

FWIW: I entered TR with the same 3.2WpKg as you; now at 3.6. I’m betting with your background and time commitment (similar hours to mine), you will achieve the same or perhaps even better.

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For the Alternate plans, do you build them manually using the work/recovery template? I’ve added my races into the Calendar and will adjust my workouts to suit them in terms of warm up rides, endurance and VO2 rides etc.

I just apply the default plan, then shift weeks and copy weeks as needed. Then I do a bit more juggling to get Ramp tests at the start of each load cycle, but that isn’t required.

I recently started modifying workouts with workout creator. I’m 60 with ftp 264 and last weekend in the HIM low volume build plan (that this is my 4th season for) I did Frissel +1 and realized I had not done it before. Maybe this is new to the HIM plan, but it could be I was injured by this point in build each of the last 3 season’s. This is the first time I got this far into the plan without being hurt.

2016 season right kneecap overstressed by this point. Got cortisone injection and able to continue after a few weeks. Made it through the summer, but ended up having surgery in November.
2017 still recovering during build phase, but had my best HIM time by August, averaging 22.4mph for 56 mile bike segment.
2018 build phase strained hamstring during 30 second run sprints. Got secondary injury in left hip and missed 3 months running but continued with riding easy and long outdoors and easy TR rides indoors.
2019 started HIM base phase in late 2018. No real issues, but built in extra rest weeks. For build, I have scaled back VO2max rides to 110-114% and limit at 15 minutes total. I take extra rest days if my legs aren’t recovered for the next ride. I’m focusing mostly on the bike, with swims for form and no intervals (yet). Runs I do repeat miles (various 1 to 3 mile repeats. No sprints!

I no injuries thus far and best bike peformance since starting TR. Hoping for some PRs this summer!


Guys, FTP now up to 230, so 3.5W/kg, and yet to start a build phase -so expect more improvement to come. One thing I can attribute to TR is the ability to raise my heart rate both indoors and outside when not in competition.

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6 weeks on and even with 6 decent 50+ mile rides in Mexico and several weeks of general build including Vo2 workouts my last FTP 20 minute test was only 207. I attribute this to fatigue despite an easy couple of days beforehand. My TSS has been fairly high with outside rides with values of 505,671,508 and 415 preceding the test.
I’ve taken the dip into account and adjusted down from 230 to 221 for training purposes. With my racing season starting shortly I’ve adjusted my planned workouts to give me more recovery or shorter duration but keeping the intensity as planned. I can handle the Vo2 at 120% up to 2 minutes or so, it’s the short recoveries that are creasing me.
I’ll monitor recovery with Polar Orthostatic tests after hard day’s and balance with more sweet spot workouts as they worked well during the base phase.
Looking forward to group rides as generally I am climbing well and can raise HR quickly up to zone 4 when putting in an effort.

or maybe even a mini rest week here and there with a 3 on 1 off? Seems to work well for some 50+ that don’t need the entire rest week as often. Just a thought!

you’re in a great starting place with your experience knowing that doing too much can be detrimental. Have you considered something relatively basic with 1 vo2max and 1 sweet spot during the week, then endurance the 3rd day, as well as on the weekends (with longer rides to build the aerobic engine?).

The plan doesn’t need to be overly complicated, which would allow you to test the 3 week on 1 week off protocol as opposed to maybe 2 week on 2 off. With your natural base from all the previous riding, you might be able to just stick with normal rest weeks and just ensure you recover from the vo2max and sweet spot, possibly by swapping out the midweek enduro ride with a recovery one.

Let us know what you go with!


That weekly structure of a vo2max, a 3x12 min SS and a long endurance ride is exactly what joe friel recommends in his book fast after 50.


awesome! I need to read that, thanks for pointing that out.


Thanks for the input. I will be racing in 10 days time , and thereafter will have one or possibly two races each week. I will treat a race as a VO2 effort, therefore with a race warm up ride of less than 45 minutes, one sweet spot and an endurance ride and a 1hr recovery ride will be possible.

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