I am 66 and looking for fitness cycling plan suggestions

But the bigger question is what workouts to create. I have read several of Joe Friel’s books and also texts from coach John Hughes, but much of the informations is for racing. My ambition level is much lower.

I love this question and discussion:) if money is not an issue it would be best to find a coach. Finding the right one is not so easy but I know a lot. But if you are not interested in the coach route I am more than happy to have this discussion. I also have read all Joe’s books and a million others and it took me a long time to figure out what I consider a good approach to this answer. My opinion was finally sealed after meeting a few coaches with 30+ years of experience each, one is a top pro-coach that we all shared a very similar perspective which is a bit different than the modern mainstream approach to training.

I moved this to a new topic in anticipation of a longer and interesting discussion :slight_smile:

So I always talk about my pro-coach friend that really is the best from my perspective. He has been a pro coach for 30-years and is really the top of the top. He also recommends things different from most. So his philosophy as well as mine is most people should take a health first approach to fitness, and that is likely to produce as good or better results than a purely fitness first approach.

He thinks virtually all amateurs should only train 3 or 4 hard days a week. If you are a pro in your 20s and all you do is train, and recover, then 5 and maybe 6. So for your 3-days a week is perfect. Some people recover well with a recovery ride and you can inject them if it does promote recovery but it’s unnecessary.

Second, he strongly suggests enjoying yourself and having fun. So you design a program and design intervals around what is enjoyable to you. You do need to follow training fundamentals but some people might enjoy longer rests and longer intervals and another short intervals and short rests but the total time in zone might be the same and produce a similar enough training effect that it’s fine to take the more enjoyable route.

So all of this is not the mainstream American style of “no pain, no gain” which is taking more of a hold in Europe as well these days. I am an American in Europe, so I get both…

Joe Friel actually has strong roots in a health first approach as well but he injects so much fitness it’s sometimes hard to read between the lines.

I know I am not telling you what to do, but I am starting with the view point that your 3-days a week is a good plan from my (our) perspective. We both think strength training can be valuable but the right kind and the right amount and it is not necessarily necessary year round for top cycling fitness (for top performance many do it in the off-season). It also needs to be balanced with the type of cycling training you are doing.

As Friel iterates stress management and recovery are key components to success. Good sleep and your 3-days a week is a good start, just have to be careful with that strength training as too much anerobic activity in a week is not optimal for extended periods of time (hightly individual as to how much is ok).

Joe in his book, fast after 50 suggests, many or most 50+ riders might need to inject a bit of high intensity each week just not to lose it. So base season might not be pure base. Most of us as we age start avoiding high intensity, and this might be part of the reason for decline. I am not sure what I think about this but I tend to believe Joe in this case. I don’t think there are good studies for proof but I always try to always do a bit of HIIT or something. I believe it can be really short 4-tabata intervals might be enough. Anyway this is not my actual training suggestion, just a bit of understanding of where I am coming from.

Finding a coach would, imho, a waste of money, even if money is not a problem, given Markku’s aspiration level.

The easiest answer is: just ride and have fun, but put yourself to the test every now and then.

You can do that easily indoors, through a (HIIT or VO2Max) workout, or by virtually climbing a mountain.

Many are around 1 hour, but if you do not mind spending longer hours indoor, you can go as extreme as climbing Haleakala.

When outdoor, you probably have some hills or quiet (flatter) stretches in the area, which you can use to go hard for 5 - 20 minutes at a time.

The more you read, the more difficult or confusing it becomes :sunglasses:

I actually fully agree with this :slight_smile: It’s just if he wants a training plan it would seem his aspirations are a bit higher than only fitness.

My question would be: do you want a training plan and if so, for what?

You’d typically do that for a reason, like being able to get a Gold at the Marmotte. You might over-train/under-rest yourself in the process, if you wouldn’t know you are actually capable of doing that, but it would be a valid reason.

But if you do not have such goals, no interest in racing, etc. then why follow a plan? Create the occasional workout, okay, but a plan…

No I haven’t any hard goals next year. The only not so important goal, is to ride a 140 km route in September, which I usually do every year. Next year, maybe also a 200 km Randonneur in September.

I like a plan because it creates structure to my training, and I don’t have to decide every time what workout to do.

Get good fitness is nice, but I don’t strive for maximal fitness, which I know demands much hard work.

Well, then don’t. Just ride, do some hard/max efforts every now and then.

Really, if you just get a service you like (Rouvy, Zwift, BigRingVR, whatever) and put your trainer at use, riding these virtual routes, it’s just like riding outdoors.

You seem to have experience enough, so you know what feels/is right and you will skip a day if you don’t feel up to it.

A plan just may force you to do whatever is the prescribed workout for that day.

For those distance rides, do most of your training in endurance zone and use the inclines (hills) to do higher intensity. Increase time gradually up to 3-3.5 hours once a week. If you feel like wanting to ride harder, just do it but not all the time, to avoid over-fatigue. Three or four rides a week “having fun” riding should be all you need to comfortably finish those goals. A rule of thumb that I once read was: During 10 weeks, ride per week the expected duration of the event. According to this you should be able to do around 5 hours/week 11 weeks before the event. During 10 weeks increase a bit more to 6-7 hours/week and then dial it down for a rest week.
If you just want to finish these rides comfortably without racing, that should be totaly OK.

Maybe he prefers to do some intervals and some work but wants it all to be automatic so he just pedals. I realize zwift or rouvy you can kind of do that but you still are thinking a bit about how hard you are riding, it’s not 100% auto-pilot. You are paying attention to other people or hills or something. I like Netflix style “training” where I don’t think at all. I just pedal. But I am still in agreement, it seems like just riding and not even having a plan is the best option, especially since it is 3-days a week with no specific goals other than distances that you know how to ride.

That’s kind of what I meant earlier. Create a few specific workouts (HIIT, VO2Max, SS, whatever) and throw them in your preferred workout app (desktop or phone) once a week.

Or twice another week.

I realize that if you start to think about that, you’re actually going to create a plan, but I would really not.

As you know, I actually never do :joy:

Yes and now we are going back to his original question, what is that mix of workouts :slight_smile: I believe some level of periodization is likely good and during a build period he could have 3-staple workouts he does on a weekly basis. As he gets close to the fall he should ride longer and longer at a comfortable pace. During winter he could do a base period (mostly easy riding) which might include a bit of HIIT. Again following what Joe Friel suggests. But that spring early summer build period is the one likely where your main seasonal performance increase comes from and I am not specifying yet. If he is not riding hard, periodization becomes less important.

I should have clarified in my original statement. I would get a coach not to be his coach but to do a detailed assesment of his goals, hours avaialble each part to year target time lines, health assesment, weaknesses and create an annual training plan. This could be a very loose plan but would be better than us going through that process here. Also it can be enjoyable with the right coach. We can give rough guidance but it’s going to be less clear, and less perfect. That coach could clearly understand what training style he prefers and expand on that. I would also say more inline with @Cyclopaat, if you know you like riding Z3, just search Z3 workouts in our platform and pick a bunch of random ones and ride them. Throw in a random harder ride here or there.

Yes, I have the same issue with a lot of the training that is out there. Being almost 73, my aspirations are not for racing, but I do want to continue to ride hard and well. It would be good to find a coach, but my feeling again is that the direction would be more toward stay competitive. But I like this discussion and would welcome any additional input. Will check out the books mentioned above. Thanks all

Cool Vic, happy to have you here. I am not a coach but I a couple of years a go coached a 75-year old cyclist (Roger) in the US that won the Tennessee state championship for his age group. 98% him 2% me :slight_smile: Roger does not do anything fancy just rides a lot. All I did is gave him suggestions on how to be safe and do a bit of base training in the winter (rather than go hard all year). And for example as he started to increase his hours in the spring, I monitored his TSB (training stress balance) and just said… He you might want to take an easy week now… He had previously had heart surgery so no real coaches wanted to coach him. I knew with my style of coaching I would reduce risk not increase it. Anyway I am a strong believer is do what you enjoy and just inject a little other stuff. If you ride a lot or very consistency then you have to pay attention to recovery as much as training. Roger belives I was important to his success, , I would say other than keeping him safe, not so much