Nearly 50 and returning to training

I’m turning 50 this year and have decided that I really need to start getting back into training. I used to have an ok level of fitness (did an Ironman in 2007 in 12hrs), but since then kids/work etc have all conspired to mean that I haven’t really done any structured training for any length of time.

I’ve got myself a turbo and bike and am going to be subbing to TR. My aims are to ride mtb with my son, possibly going to afan (wales) which is very hilly long XC rides, bike park wales (gravity) and possibly trying to do the SDW over a couple of days (about 100miles hilly XC).

Any ideas on where to start with a training plan? Any things I should be wary of? Or generally any other tips for a nearly 50year old trying to get fit :slight_smile:
Thanks in advance


Just load up the low volume plan builder plan with your goal events in your calendar and TR will do the rest and give you a plan.

OR follow the low volume Traditional Base plan for a few weeks and then use the plan builder.

OR just ride your bike.

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Be careful with the TR plans as they tend to have too much intensity for a lot of new riders or us seniors. If you feel yourself getting overly exhausted or start skipping workouts, don’t be afraid to substitute in something with less intensity. The key is consistency, not intensity. Also, don’t overdo it with too much volume. New riders tend to think more is more and that if they aren’t constantly exhausted, they aren’t working hard enough. Recovery days are the days when your body adapts to the training you’ve done and prepares you for the next workout. Also, fuel your workouts. You’ll be stronger and recover faster if you take in some carbs.


Joe Friel’s book “Cycling After 50” is good read. Goes into detail how the body changes and what the requirements are for aging athletes.


You missed out the fast bit :grin:


I’m not so sure he has. Ive read it (fast after 50) and I’m STILL slow :snail:


Im old (senior moment) and forgot.


I got a bit confused with it, when it came to me building a home brew plan.

Decent enough read though.


You’ll have fun. You can still be very fit and fast after 50. The only downside is that recovery takes marginally longer - none of us are as invincible as 30 years ago but we probably have much better mental toughness.

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I think the biggest thing to pay attention to is the hormonal shift that happens 50+/- men and women. Eat clean. Be lean. Keep it fun on the bike whatever that means to you.

Having been using TR since almost the beginning and now in my mid 50’s the important thing is something that was said earlier. The plans can be too intensive for the older rider. I have tried a number of times to follow the low volume sweet spot plans and come unstuck. Dug a hole and then struggled to get out of it. I once diligently followed the sweet spot base plans into the build phase and died two weeks into the build due to the intensity. The following time trial season was poor and that was 3-4 months after failing the build phase.

I now use the AI system and train now functionality with a heavy dose of my own critical eye. Enjoy the process but just use your own common sense to judge when your competitiveness is driving you on by “burying yourself” to finish sessions. If you keep doing that you will dig yourself into a hole and spoil your summer months.

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Agree with others limit high intensity to maximum of twice a week and have at least 48 hours between them. I then fill the rest with Z2 and one day of tempo. I have one day completely off the bike and the day before a VO2 max session I do a Z1 one hour recovery spin.

I’m 56, best of luck. General approach is don’t go mad with intensity and feel your way back to volume that’s challenging but manageable…

This phrase helps me balance it out.

“Training makes you weaker, recovery makes you stronger”


As someone who is over 50 and returned to cycling after a LONG time off the bike, I would like to emphasize that you should take things easy and build up your volume gradually. In addition, if you were fairly sedentary during your time off the bike, I would suggest also incorporating strength and mobility work into your training as an injury prevention measure. (The reason being that your aerobic development is likely to outpace your ability to increase the durability of your connective tissues and other stuff.)

ETA: Kudos to you for taking this step, and welcome back!

Ok, when did completing an Ironman in 12 hours equate to an “ok” level of fitness? :upside_down_face:

Welcome back :slight_smile:


My advice would be to do the individual training phases, start with the base phase, may do both 6 weeks blocks of Sweet Spot Base, if you have time do the mid volume I then mid Volume II. This is tried and tested over many years by many TR sunscribers and will get you in good shape in 3 months. After that you can move on to the build phase or do other things as by then you’ll be familiar with the product. If at anytime you’re feeling tired, failing workouts, do take extra rest days, listen to your body, we are no longer in our 20’s. You can always do the 6 week plan over 7 weeks or more, don’t be afraid of moving stuff in the calendar as required.

To get myself back into shape I’m doing the Low volume Sweetspot plan as I’m time constrained by my trail running side. I’m other side of 50… I often insert extra rest days as the aging body needs it and push workouts by a day etc.

The biggest thing I took from this was that after 50 you absolutely need to be doing supplementary strength and mobility training. I still don’t do enough…

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Many thanks for the advice everyone, lots for me to consider!

I have managed to get a wahoo kickr and bike second hand for a very very good price, so I haven’t caused the wrath of my wife!

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I was training with guys who were targetting Kona and who were all very fast! So being always at the back of their pack I always saw myself as OK but nothing better.

Also my innate athletic style is that of a belligerent Donkey, rather than a race horse :slight_smile:

Race horse in training.
Following fast guys teaches you a lot. How to suffer and conserve energy at the same time.

Totally, I’m just impressed :).

I’m still in my 40s but my one piece of advice is that recovery days are just as important as training days, and be honest with yourself about when you need them. Things don’t bounce back quite as quickly as they used to.

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