Best way to maximize fitness improvements (FTP) as we age?

I’m 49 years old, 180lbs, 6’4. This may be good topic for Nate. I’ve done 6 Leadville 100s’ and this year hopefully will be number 7. My fastest time is 9:31. I can’t seem to break the 9:00 barrier. My best FTP going in to the race was 322W. I’m wondering if I’m pushing the ceiling of my FTP. I feel with a little better training I may be able to increase it by 10 or 15 watts. At what age do we start to see this “top out”? Also, if I do reach the max, can I better train my efforts under this level? My normalized power for my best LT100 was 190W so I am obviously not utilizing my fitness under my FTP? The climbs are always a big time loser (being a big guy) but there’s got to be a way to get it done. Help!?

Had similar questions as you have and found this blog very helpful for setting targets. Half a percent decline in FTP per year beyond the age of 35… The model described here would indicate that you are close but still might have some room for improvement using a MV plan. Error bars on that model are significant though.

  1. keep volume high. increase it if you can. I’ve actually raised my FTP 15w since age 45 (I’m 54 now) by increasing from 500 hours a year from 45-48 to 650+ since 49.

  2. intensity. do the FTP and VO2 work. during the FTP and VO2 cycles, do your two hard days a week, and they should take you 2-3 days to recover from.

I’m 51 and seeing my best fitness due to additional volume and more focus. The ceiling goes down every year, but very few amateurs are up against their ceiling.

I’d also say that Leadville leans heavily on endurance and nutrition. Critical that you can hold a high percentage of ftp for 8+ hours, actual ftp is just a starting point. I’m a big believer in doing a few 5-6+ hour rides w/~300 tss each month to really push the endurance.

This, for sure.

Although age is a factor, I don’t think it’s “the” factor in this case.

It’s been a long time since I’ve done a 9 hour effort, but a 0.59 IF seems low to me. What’s your NP on shorter rides, e.g. 5-6 hours?

How are you fueling your LT100s?

Definitely need to up the volume a bit. A correction on the power numbers: “weighted average power” through Strava was 204. Not sure that’s the same as normalized. Shorter rides I’ve kept around 65-70% IF. Thank you for the help.

Thank you!. I’ll increase the volume a bit. Nutrition is pretty dialed in( lots of past mistakes!).

Strava’s Weighted Average Power tends to be a bit lower than NP, IME.

Got it.

Definitely room for improvement there, I think.