Are 4 week training cycles suitable for the over 50s?

Folks. All the TR plans appear to be based around a 4 week cycle - 3 weeks of incremental load, followed by an easy week. Is this appropriate for someone aged 54? Several people have told me 2 weeks of incremental load followed by an easier week would be more suitable for a 50+ athlete. Thoughts??

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It is really an individual thing + what you are doing. I find I can handle 6 week (5 on, 1 recovery) cycles if I’m doing base endurance miles, but I’m closer to 3 week cycles if I’m doing VO2 max work.

By reference, I’m 52

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At 65 I will be doing 2 on , 1 easy. I’ve done the polarized approach since May, pretty much non-stop. Currently nursing a leg injury.

I’ve done both 3 and 4 week cycles. Not sure it really made a difference. I’m 62 fwiw.

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Due to the huge difference in the fitness ability, athletic history, genetics/hormones of 50+ cyclist age is not the metric which will determine whether a 3, 4 or 5 week cycle is optimal.


Plus all the other stress in your life as well as how well you manage your recovery and nutrition. The important factor is to pay attention to signals from your body.


Last winter I rode 3 on and 1 recovery and as long as I kept my TSS under 600 I was good all winter. I did take 10 days off training with casual rides during a SouthWest thaw out. I turned 60 last winter.

I do watch my resting heart rate and HRV pretty close along with the desire to train. If any of them said I need an easy day or full day off I listened.

Looking forward to this year’s improvements with more structured training.


There do not appear to be any specific plans for over 50 which i think would be a great addition


I do the low volume plans - 3 workouts a week. I use the Century plan for my specialty phase. I’ve been a Trainer Road user for a little over a year and will turn 70 in a couple weeks (Yikes!). I do one or two charity century rides a year with a few 70-ish mile charity rides mixed throughout the spring and summer. I find these workouts to be just about perfect for me and my goals and have actually surpassed my expectations. The century charity ride I did last May (Reach the Beach with the American Lung Association) was my personal best and this was the 6th time I’ve ridden it. My average speed was a little over a MPH faster from the previous year and over 3 MPH faster than when I first rode this event 7 years ago when I was “much younger”. (I missed one year due to some spinal fusion surgery). So give it a try for a couple months and see what it does for you.


Thanks for the feedback folks. What’s everyone preferred method of monitoring fatigue? I see there is a workout called ‘LSCT Warmup’ which claims to measure freshness. Anyone use this? If using resting HR, is that first thing in the morning? I’m on TrainingPeaks, but their ‘fatigue’ measure takes no account of age / recovery rate, and rarely coincides with how I feel. Thanks

This is exactly why off the shelf, same for everyone plans are not optimal. too many variables. TR is excellent for less experienced athletes. However, for more experienced athletes they are not optimal. Sure they will work, but after 4 cycles of TR training plans, it’s all just getting me the same results. TR has definitely made me a faster, fitter cyclist but I’m moving to develop my own training plans now to individualize my training.

I made a detailed post on adjusting the sweet Spot Base Plans to a different work and recovery pattern.

The same concept and guidelines could be applied to the other Build and Specialty plans.


@mcneese.chad brilliant. Will have a read. Thanks! Any thoughts on the LSCT Warmup workout as a measure of freshness / fatigue? :+1:

I used that protocol a few years ago for a short period. Ultimately, I’m too lazy to use much more than my overall feel and gut to judge fatigue. I seem to have a decent read outside of workouts on most days, and just have learned to trust that. I re-check as I roll past a warm up and into any first interval, and will adjust as needed.

Sorry I don’t have more helpful info on that. It seems to be a tough area to review, even with some of the newer gizmos.

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The answer is…it depends…on things like your current training load, training history, are you new to the sport. There’s no one answer that fits all.

HRV monitoring

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@Mikey +1 on HRV - it takes time to develop ones sense of what the numbers mean for you. for example, I know that I have delayed response to very hard days (races), so my next day HRV will say go out and kill it, but the true impact shows the next day when my HRV tanks.

Also, keeping good notes about the workouts is helpful.

I’m 62 and found that I didn’t need to take extra recovery weeks if I did the low volume plans. Mid volume is where I needed the extra weeks.

I follow HRV as well and found that it was pretty close to how I was feeling. Not 100% of the time, but maybe 98% of the time.

very athlete dependent from what I’ve seen. SOmetimes even 3 on 1 off 2 on 1 off is a good mix. Just gauge how you feel and when in doubt, get some extra rest.


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My method is pretty screwed up, and privileges weight management above all else – I’ll eat anything if it’s near me, regardless of whether or not I’m hungry. I must have an inner Labrador.

I judge recovery by feel. If the goal is to do a block at 90% – say 45-90 min – then I know that I need a couple of pretty easy days to be able to do that. So, if the two days before are endurance, I’ll just ride at 60%, do 1500kj of work, and be fresh for the hard day. I find the key is not making the easy days too hard – it could be tempting to do those days at 70-75%, but if I know I need good legs on the hard day, then I need to back the endurance days down.

I honestly don’t do zone 1 recovery rides anymore. But, I’ve built up a good work capacity/durability over 35 years of training. I’ll do a week or two where I just go out and ride at 60% or less – that’s enough to recharge my battery and be ready for another round of whatever the focus of the hard days is (tempo, sweet spot, or VO2).