I am a senior cyclist, yet I enjoy cycling as much, perhaps more, than I dod 40 years ago. I am fitter, more skilled, and have better equipment. I’m in my 72 year, and like years past, I plan to participate in 3 century rides: the Pacific Populaire on April 7, the MEC Horseshoe Valley on July 14, and the Annual Kawartha Lakes Cycling Tour on August 25. And, like previous years, I plan to train for these events with the goal of beating last year’s times.
I have just finished re-reading Joe Friel’s Fast After 50, an outline of training methods to negate, or minimize, the effects of ageing. He illustrates that the major limiting factors for the older athlete are –
- a decrease in aerobic capacity.
- an increase in body fat, and
- a loss of lean muscle
and recommends losing weight, strength training, and a program of regular HIIT workouts.
Last year, I focused on reducing my weight by implementing a program of intermittent fasting, daily fasted-HIIT session, daily strength workouts and a cleaner, simpler vegan diet, resulting in a 25 pound weight reduction. Today, I remain close to my ideal cycling weight, and body fat percent.
So, what do I do next? How can I continue to improve my performance?
The table and pictures above illustrate the key health and fitness indicators that I plan to track over the next year, and my rides. My objective is to increase my FTP, power to weight ratio, efficiency on the bike, and performances in 3 century rides I currently have planned.
I plan to re-test myself every 4-6 weeks and update this page accordingly. I will also comment regularly on specific workouts, equipment modifications, and other aspects of this endeavour.
In January, I transition indoors, spending more time on the Keiser spinning bike, training with power, and lifting more weights. It is also the time when I take stock, evaluating what I need to do to improve. I am naive enough to think I can become a better cyclist in spite of my age. Initially, my focus with be on improving FTP, and strength.
In December, I took on a squat and plank challenges – 100 squats / day for 30 days, and 7 minutes of planks each and every day. By the end of the month, I was surprised with the results. I was undoubtedly stronger, and it transferred to the bike. Who would have thought high volume body weight exercises would be so effective. Well, they are. So much so, that I intend to continue doing 100+ squats and a variety of planks every day throughout the year. When you think about it, the squat is the perfect strengthening exercise for cyclists, strengthening the quads, glutes, and core muscles.
I have also developed a weekly training plan based on my 5 and 20 minute cycling test – 2-3 HIIT workouts. High intensity intervals several times a week on the spinning bike.
Weekly HIIT Workouts
Joe Friel and Training Peaks have specified HIIT workouts to increase a cyclist’s FTP. This is how I am starting this year.
Following a 15-20 minute spinning workout –
- Monday 5 x 2 minutes @ 310 Watts | 2 minute recovery 10 minutes
- Tuesday Recovery spin – 45 minutes < 140 watts
- Wednesday 3 x 7 minutes @ 255 Watts | 3 minute recovery 30 minutes
- Thursday OFF
- Friday 3 x 7 minutes @ 255 Watts | 3 minute recovery 30 minutes
- Saturday OFF
- Sunday 50-75 km Zone 1 outdoor ride
January 19, 2019
Several weeks ago, I watched a YouTube video about the Sufferfest app and their integrated fitness testing. A day later, I watched Dan Lloyd, the GCN presenter and ex-racer complete the Full Frontal Test. I was surprised to see Dan’s results on the 5 and 20 minute test were lower than my power output a year ago. This inspired me to re-test myself on the Keiser.
Dan’s 5-minute average watts was 309. Mine was 323. Dan’s 20-minute average watts was 244. Mine was 256. Given I have never raced professionally, and am almost twice his age, I am inspired to work harder.
The day I completed testing this year, I sat down with my lunch to watch YouTube videos. What should pop up but Juliet Elliott’s video showing her completing the Full Frontal Test by Sufferfest. Again, my results were significantly better than hers. Like Dan, she is half my age, and races professionally.
Joe Friel is right. You don’t have to let age slow you down. Your fitness is a function of the intensity of your training, and lifestyle regardless of age.
January 21, 2019
I wear a Garmin Vivoactive 3, and somehow it estimates my VO2 Max based on heart rates and activity levels. It takes a while for the smart watch to accurately report. It needs to monitor your activity intensity for a week or two. I have been wearing it for 3 weeks now and it is telling me my VO2 Max is 45. According to the above table that is Superior for my age group. Can I improve on this with regular, high intensity training?
I use this on-line calculator (https://www.calculator.net/ideal-weight-calculator.html) to determine my ideal body weight, BMI, and body fat %. I currently weight 140 pounds, have a BMI of 20.67, and a body fat % of 5.7. This is close to my ideal cycling weight. Come the summer months, I plan to be 135-140 pounds.
Completed a 45 minute Endurance spin averaging 166 watts + a 30 minute core workout.
Completed another Endurance spin averaging 168 watts + a 25 minute core workout.
Recovering from a cold. Had to take 4 days off. May be the result of overtraining. Going to take a day off every 3-4 days as I transition to ,ore spinning HIIT workouts over the next 2-3 months.
Off – almost through cold – some congestion
Completed Lactate Acid workout – 3 x 7 min averaging 259 watts with a 3 minute rest between + 15 minute core bodyweight workout.
15 minute spinning warmup + 10 minute core workout + 15 minute leg superset workout (15 lb weighted squats (100) + 160 lb legs presses (75) + 45 lb leg extensions (75))
30 km – lap around Stanley Park + 15 minute core workout at the gym
Well, training didn’t goes as planned last month. I was sick with a cold, or the flu, for 2 weeks. I still have the sniffles, and don’t feel 100%, but am back on the bike and in the gym. I’m beginning to think I brought this on myself. I was over-training. So, this month, I’m going to take care to rest and recover more carefully. Here is the weekly plan –
- 1-2 days OFF,
- 1-2 HIIT indoor spinning sessions,
- 3-4 outdoor rides, and
- 3 days on, next day rest and recover, and every 4-6 weeks take a 3-4 day break.