Beginning training at 65 years old

I’m a 65 yo 212lb male. I have been cycling for a few years but never really trained. Just rode. Last spring I purchased a mtb to go along with my gravel bike.
I live in Wisconsin, so winter riding options are pretty limited. Indoor or fat bike.
I purchased a smart trainer for try and improve my fitness.
I have decided to see if I can get in the Chequamegon 40 in 2024 and I would like to do Leadville in 2025. I also plan on doing a few of the Wisconsin Off Road Series short track races as well.
What I am trying to figure out is what type of training plan I should use. I see that all the plans seem to be very interval heavy. I only have a FTP of 132 right now and I am wondering if I should just not worry about a plan for a while and just do long rides for a couple of months and then go to a plan. I am so new to this I don’t want to go down the wrong path to start.
By the way I did do a couple of 10 mile short tracks last year.
Any and all comments are welcome and appreciated. I just wanted to get started in the right direction.
Thanks for listening.


Many of the TR plans have intervals what will push you towards your limits - in particular, the threshold and VO2max workouts. If you have not done high intensity workouts in a while, it may not be a bad thing to talk to your doc and get some cardio screening prior.

Probably not a bad idea until you get cleared by your doc.

Once you have the all clear, just pick one of the plans and start. No need to train before you train. The plan difficulty will adjust automatically based on how you answer the post workout surveys. Take a look through the masters plans. Probably a good place to start.

Leadville is a great goal, but be advised, the 100 is a hard race, even for people who have been riding for a while. I don’t know the exact stats, but I’d guess you need a sea-level FTP of somewhere around 3 Watts per kg to finish inside the 12 hr cutoff (others may have some better intel on this). And it’s also hard to get into.

If you want a challenge that’s easier to get into, and a good gauge of if you’re ready for the 100, consider the Silver Rush 50 - which is also not an easy race, but not as long of an ordeal as the 100 :slightly_smiling_face:

Good luck with things!!



As we age other aspects for consistent gains are just as important as structured training so focus on recovery which means quality calories and sleep.

Consider a low volume plan and above everything consistency is key to progression.

Don’t over think things, trust and enjoy the process :+1:

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I would start with the first part of traditional base - that will get you use to the regular rides on the turbo. Then you can stick with traditional base part 2 or go back to general base 1 which use to be sweet spot base. Riding on the turbo, even for endurance rides at IF 0.6-0.7 are quite tough when you haven’t done them before…good luck.

I started with Traditional Base low volume. After 3 weeks it found it was not enough and switched to mid volume. You will know after a few weeks what will work for you. Getting used to a trainer is the first step.
At the same time I switched, I used plan builder to create a plan. Base, Build then Specialty.
It’s very easy and at any time you can make adjustments.
I’m in my 70’s and saw a lot of improvement.
Good luck with your goals.


I want to thank everyone for their input on this topic. It has helped me move forward with my training plan. Going to start with the masters low volume and monitor myself to keep on track.
Thanks again everyone. Looking forward to learning from you all.


Hi Jeff and welcome to the forum!
Good to see another masters athlete on here!
I think you’d be fine to jump into a TR plan, particularly as the weather is bad where you are.
I would choose a low volume masters plan, and go for one of the Base plans.
If you are worried about the intensity, (usually 2x a week) you can swap it for an easier session ,or use train now ,where you are offered 3 different sessions to choose from.
(Don’t make the mistake I did, putting 3 hours in the duration box :rofl:) but that is useful because it offers you more choice.

You’re brave wanting to do Leadville! It is super challenging even for seasoned racers , and as a seasoned racer I wouldn’t be doing it these days (maybe 30 years ago).

But, never say never. It will be an amazing achievement if you do!

Keep us posted on your progress :smile:


Thank you for the support.
I want to do Leadville as a promise to my son.
My son ran the Trail Marathon this past year. I was his first marathon. He was so proud to finish in under 7 hours. (6:36). He wanted to do the 50 mile race in 2024 and he wanted me to do the Silver Rush 50 MTB.
Unfortunately he lost his life a few weeks later in a climbing accident in Castle Rock Co.
I will do my best to do my part to honor him by doing the race. I just want to be smart about it and not over do things.
I know that he will be proud of me regardless.


Hi Jeff,

So sorry to hear about the loss of your son.

As a fellow 65 year old rider and someone who retired from a sedentary job a few years ago. My favorite race is the Whiskey in Prescott AZ and I have been competing in the 30 mile event although this year I have a goal to do the 50. I am a mid-pack racer and just race against myself but have been enjoying learning how to improve my fitness.
The one thing I have learned as an older athlete is that being patient with gains is critical and avoiding injury. As I have gotten older injuries take forever to heal and the easy one to avoid are those caused by not taking the time to do a proper warm-up. I always take more time for a warm up than what is prescribed in the interval sessions. The other thing I would do is incorporate some strength training and stretching into your routine to keep your body more resilient.
Good luck with your training!

Thank you very much for the advice.

I’m very sorry to hear about losing your son.

It 's great you are going to do the race, and I wish you all the best :smile:

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