I distinctly remember the bike leg of the Immortal 70.3 riding in the top 10% of racers with athletes in their 50’s KILLING younger competitors.
As an age group Triathlete in his mid 40’s aiming to qualify for the worlds and have a good season in 2018, my training needs to be on point.
Thing is I know at my age I need to approach my training differently compared athlete’s in their 20’s.
Here’s a cool fact I learnt last year.
Us older age group athletes recover to the same level as our younger counterparts.
The kicker is. It just takes 24 hours longer do it.
^^ that bits important to factor in.
The thing to remember.
RECOVERY is KING if you want to be in prime condition and get the best from your next KEY session.
It means when planning KEY harder training sessions, you can’t put these too close together or you’ll not get the performance and adaption you really wanted.
It also means how we plan, build strength, power and speed toward our A race will take a little longer.
You also can’t escape the fact that as we age we start to get Sarcopenia.
What the heck is that?
Sarcopenia is age related muscle decline. And that means as we age we naturally lose muscle mass, strength, power and performance.
Problem is, long distance training is also very catabolic and breaks down muscle.
Basically getting older and long distance training is not a good combination.
But there are a few of things we can do to mitigate the loss of muscle, power, strength and performance.
Think lifting heavy, with well-planned plyometric work. Strength training will improve muscle strength, increase the quality and function of mitochondria and all muscle fiber firing patterns. It improves co-ordination, bone density and blood sugar regulation. I don’t know about you but that sounds worth the investment in and out of triathlon.
Power work on the bike:
Maximal power work and power sets on the bike are hard work but pay dividends in racing. The winter is a perfect time to build this, leaving it to the spring is way too late.
Nutrition: Sarcopenia hard training and low protein diets mean your ability to retain lean muscle mass and get adequate recovery is compromised.
New recommendations for older athletes are 1.6 – 2g of complete protein per KG of body weight. Studies suggest for optimal muscle protein synthesis this should be spread equally over 4 meals a day. You just have to remember that you will need to manipulate carbohydrates and fats to keep in caloric budget.
Supplements: Taking a whey protein supplement high in Leucine is also good insurance in making sure you hit your total requirements.
Creatine Monohydrate, High Strength Omega 3 and Vitamin D. These three supplements are major players in improving muscle strength, function and helping reduce excessive inflammation from training stress.
Sleep:We can’t stress this enough. Sleep is CRITICAL for recovery, injury prevention, metabolism, lean muscle growth and having the ability to deliver consistent quality training. Make it your priority.
Thanks for reading
Simon de Burgh
2 X Winner of Gym Based PT
Level 2 British Triathlon Coach
Performance & Nutrition Director