Training and Racing as You Age

I am surprised this hasn’t had more discussion.

Personally I think it’s about much more than training and racing. It’s very much about ageing healthily, thus continuing to be able to train for and enjoy the activities you do.

I am coming up to 57 and have been riding ultra endurance events for last 11 years. In May I rode 84 hours, and in June 74 hours. I have not had a single training induced injury my entire life. I also don’t get sick that often, no different to when I was younger.

I think we need to reframe what we can do, and stay healthy as we age. Too much doom and gloom out there. As the podcast and researchers touch on, a lot of what is called aged related decline isn’t necessary true. It’s sedentary aged based decline, not lifelong active aged based decline.

As the podcast covered, as you age you broaden out your exercise to try age optimally, based on what’s known.

For instance cardio fitness and cancer risk in men, published last month.

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It’s huge problem that there aren’t enough examples of healthy older population. Or there are, but people’s mindset is too stuck into fatalistic thinking of “after 30 years everything is declining”. People fit in their 50s are treated as unicorns.

Maybe there is also the thing that elite athletes are young so society as whole thinks that only young people deserve to be fit. Nobody cares for masters atheltes.

Most inspiring thing for me was to see grey haired 60+ year old men squat close to 200kg/440Lbs in power lifting competition. 60year olds are supposed to be frail and weak barely able to stand up from couch, not taking 2,5x of their body weight into their backs and squat it below parallel!

Hi @Phil! We recently published an article that addresses what past research and conceptions have gotten wrong about aging athletes as part of our Craft of Coaching module on coaching masters. There’s definitely something to be said for staying healthy as we age, and it’s great to see masters athletes continually growing in number and defying expectations.


Talk to me about this topic when you are, as am I, 85 years old. One of the remodeling events for me was/is an aneurysmal section of my ascending aorta, stable as of now w/ size ranging between 45 and 48 depending upon imaging technology. It was dx’d secondary to enhanced CT imaging brought on by the need for removing my inflamed appendix.

Given the work I do I have highly variable BP measurements secondary to the psychological stress involved (working with LEO who have undergone acute episodes of encounters of the deadly force kind), and the potential forensic implications of that activity). So, I’m on 40mg of Lisinopril/day, have a remarkable presence of “white coat syndrome” yet I still maintain my BP values at median levels mid 130’s/high 80’s. One distant relative died of a heart attack at age 70 something and that after 40 plus years of shoveling coal from a tender into the firebox of a steam engine as his daily work and smoking up a storm at home.

In the three years leading up to the aneurysmal Dx, I did exclusively negatively accentuated resistance training w/ machines that were computer driven to enhance by roughly 40% the eccentric potion of the movement cycle relative to the concentric. Subsequent to the Dx, I quit all HIIT, all endurance activity, and I’m gauging my current “fitness” status via Garmin’s daily stats, mild x1/week SuperSlow (™) protocol at a maintenance resistance level, and x1/week cycling on my Wahoo KickR indoor bike. I have a self-imposed Max HR limit of 145, although previously I worked to peak HR values pre-DX of 193. FWIW, my Garmin age is 66.

Bottom line: I asked my PCP, an exquisitely smart Internal Medicine Doc, how come there is such little data on aging-athletes in my age grouping? He answered “Because at your age they’re all dead. So, unless you want to be the fittest dude in morgue, stop that shit. You got nothing to prove.”

The effects of an aneurysm are silent, that is until, you die from one. And the symptoms are easily masked or, better said, highly similar to effects of HIT strength exercises, specifically correctly performed pulldowns, pull-ups, among many others. Screening for aneurysmal effects of high endurance/HIIT training of the 80/20, especially as one ages, I think is critically important. And indeed even in youth - ya know, the 20+ year old who drops dead on the basketball court, or the 50 year old news reporter who similarly dies in Bahrain.

Now, I’m off to challenge my decision-making by fly my XPlane 12 flight simulator. Best to all of you all.