I’m a 50 yr old woman trying to climb out from a 2.5 year fitness trough after a successful hip replacement.
Since I miss being fit enough to enjoy longer rides, I’ve signed up for Etape du Tour 2023 in early July. 152 km, 4000m elevation gain. Only goal for now is to stay ahead of broom wagon.
Here’s the challenge: I am naturally more turbo than diesel. The shorter the segment–esp if at the end of a ride/race–the better I do. I am also a crappy climber (the two seem to go hand and hand).
I’m also 6kg heavier than the first time I did this event in 2018 (58kg vs 64kg). This is an unprecedented weight gain for me, even after factoring in the reduced activity, likely due to peri-menopausal hormone declines (and I already take MHT).
The prospect of doing a long mountainous event with a much smaller aerobic base while also being (for me) far heavier is daunting. On the other hand, it’s the only way to motivate me to train consistently.
So what should I focus on at this early stage - burning fat or building base?
- To burn fat, the message I’m getting is active women my age need to up the intensity, and decrease volume. ‘Intensity’ here means Sprint-intensity intervals, i.e. 30 second anaerobic or sprint intervals. It’s supposed to improve our fat-burning at rest (among other benefits).
EDIT: Note that I said decrease volume, NOT eliminate volume entirely. This seems to have been unclear based on the responses so far!
The argument is too much aerobic volume for peri/post menopausal women leads to cortisol accumulation => fat accumulation.
Intensity also refers to strength training: lift heavy - i.e. 5 sets 5 reps to failure. I already do this 2x/week to support another condition.
- to build an aerobic base the advice for anaerobically-dominant types is lots and lots of z2/z1 volume, and avoid anything > tempo like the plague. Apparently intensity recruits the fast-twitch fibers, which recover far more slowly than slow-twitch.
(This could explain why I was so burned-out late in SSB and all of SSSB back in 2018, not to mention why I’ve always taken forever to recover from long rides, even in my 30s).
Problem is the advice also says this takes years, whereas I have 7 months. And it completely contradicts the general advice for 45+ athletic women.
Anybody else out there have any experience dealing with these issues?