What Happens When You Turn 45 and Want to Train Harder?



We have received a pleading e-mail from Jeffrey Evans in Silverdale, WA; who feels that his age (48) is slowing him down and what can he do to combat it. This is inevitable, age slows us down and changes our body, so we run trough some things he can do to help his riding, but we cant stop the ravages of age

Question: Been actively riding again for about 3 years…48 years old…didn’t ride for about 30 years…having a hard time with my stamina…can’t seem to keep with the younger guys …I know…age, but what can I do to improve? I try to ride at least 30 miles on quick elevation change trails, but not extremely hilly by no means…full suspension bike..good components. What do ya think I can do to help?

Hi Jeffrey,

Age catches up with us all eventually, but there are a few things we (yes, we!) can do to combat the problem.

Train Less!

At 40 you can just about do the same things you could do when you were 30, but when you get to 50 then your body has changed and it takes longer to recover, so training less and resting more will help. By all means ride your bike as much as you want, but only do a hard ride twice a week at most, on the other days ride your bike but don’t push it too far and on off days take it easy. You need to recover and then you should be able to ride harder on the other days.


Eat well and sensibly, lots of fruit and vegetables. Take a good multi-vitamin and vitamin C as this will make sure that your body has all that it needs. Your joints will be less supple so you should be doing stretching exercises or/and yoga to help your movement. Some other supplements you might consider could be an oil, either Cod Liver or Salmon and also Organic Silicium as these will help the joints and flexibility.

The speed you can pedal at will drop as you get older, so experiment with using bigger gears when you can and rely on your technical skills and bike handling abilities to get ahead of your younger ride partners. Younger riders are going to be fitter and faster, but if you use your head more and try to build up your flexibility. Your other option is to get older ride partners!Your bike is probably as good as it can be, concentrate more on your body and mind.

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  1. David Dela

    Hmmm… as soon as someone can pedal @ whatever age… Then cooolllll to bike!!!

  2. D Conrad Reid

    I guess I’m just a youngster at 42, but just thought I’d chime in because I have been racing for nearly 20 years. Once in awhile I race my age group, Masters, but I am still usually racing with the elite Seniors, Pro/Cat 1/2’s at local and regional races and I give them a run for their money in the one day road races and crits. I could win more if I raced with my peers but I figure that I won’t be able to race in the big elite fields for ever… its much more fun to race with the fast guys. Wherever your at, keep it fun and stay fit.

  3. Bruno Ris

    I will be 70 years old next spring and took up cycling at 65 after 30 years I manage close to 4000 km per year at 120 to 140km per week including the 220Km conquer cancer ride this year from Toronto to Niagara Falls. My averge speed is around 25km/hr on a Canadian made Raleigh grand prix 2002 bike. A bit heavy but a very solid bike. I hope to maintain this but was wondering if i should add some weight training. In the winter I also do some cross country skiing which helps for the upper body strenght.

  4. nigel bradley

    I’m 50 next month and unfortunately overweight.
    I ride 4 miles to work everyday then ramp up the miles coming up toa bike ride (that I do 1 a year) on my mountain bike although for my 50th I’m buying a Dawes Ultra Galaxy.
    I did the C2C this year (140 miles and very hilly) in a day.
    I’ve learned that I can go all day at ‘my pace’ pushing big gears.
    My target for next year is a longer ride The Hadrians Cycleway, 175 miles, solo in a day and have recently been trying to up my cadence and using lower gears while on my training rollers.

  5. Dave

    I like to ride.

    Dave 55

  6. Jack Day

    Three months ago I turned 65 and began an indoor gym routine on a mechanical bike. I have worked my way up to a resistance level which produces a daily 18.5 miles in 60 minutes (I don’t know how this compares to actual road milage as I really don’t trust the machine’s gauges), while rotating workouts on other muscles. I am new at road cycling but plan to compete this summer in my age group.I really have no idea how much to train, how to train, or what my goals should be to win. I was attempting to raise my level of fitness before worrying about it. Can someone point me in the right direction? P.S. Age does not seem to have slowed me down, nor am I sure that it is a factor. Yet I need to lose more weight. I have 120 training days left before my first race.Jack

  7. doug hisington

    I’m 68. Own a martial arts school. go to the gym 4 days a week. teach tai kwon do 3 days a week. tai chi one day a week. take classes in escrima and tai chi 4 days a week. and ride every day. age?????? forget about it. when people ask me how I can do it I tell them “I can do it because I’ve always done it”. I think it would be pretty hard to start training at my age to do what I do. but having been an athlete all my life I don’t know anything different. No matter if I’m in the gym, on a bike or teaching karate young people are always coming up to me and asking me my age. I love the look on their face when I say 68! with modern medicine and training methods I think there is no limit. Bruce Lee used to say “there are no limits, only plateaus”. I am definately slower than I was in my 20’s or 30’s but I think I’m stronger. My advice is to learn as much as you can about fitness, health and training. read, read, read. Accept no limitions. Age??? forgetaboutit

  8. Joe

    I am also 48 and here is my story. I bought a bicycle last year and rode with some co-workers who were near my age but experienced cyclists. I worked my way up by adding about 5 miles a week to my big rides. I learned to have a good cadence where is we fast enough to keep up but not too fast to bounce in my seat. I worked up to a 75 mile ride a the end of the summer. I moved to mountain biking in the fall/winter just once a week. This spring I started riding at lunches for about 20 miles a couple times a week. Then I joined a local bicycle club started longer rides on Saturday. My first ride was 46 miles. I barely made it and was dead on my feet. After a couple of shorter rides during the week I moved to a 60 miles ride that turned into a 80 mile ride when nobody I was riding with was turning back. It was real tough but I fought through it with the help of several people blocking the wind for me. I continued the short ride during the week with a day or two off, I continued the Saturday rides. Electrolytes (Cytomax and Gatorade) and energy bars helped a lot. I also lift weights, do running or swimming on off days). I did a couple of 70 mile rides, a 2500 ft climbing 85 miler riding with older experienced riders. It was tough but good for conditioning. This weekend I did my first century – 103 miles (I was suppose to go 82 miles but too a wrong turn). I felt strong the whole way. We made 4 stops to fill up on electrolytes and energy bars (Cliff, zone, whatever) to keep calories in my system. Now I attack hills, moved from 16 mph average to 17.5 mph and moving up. I am not up to the youngsters, but i am progressing.

  9. David Hatcher

    I started riding with a group in 2004 at age 46. I rode Mt.Mitchell the highest point east of the Mississippi in 2007 104 miles with 28 miles of climbing. I ride 150 to 200 miles per week all year living in Tennessee. I have beat several 20 – 30 year olds in the club ride sprints, the latest this past weekend. I think the one comment I loved was the guy that said he would rather die riding a bike or running than lying in bed. Get out there and go hard, forget about age.

  10. Faron Madderra

    I just noticed, of all the comments nobody mentioned your bikes fit. Avoid alot of pain and get your bike fitted. Even if it was fitted 10 years ago. Our bodies have changed, like it or not.Ride Safe

  11. LaBaron

    As to age, I’m 53 and just started seriously riding last Oct. and lost 65lbs (was 285), My target is 180lbs. I ride a basic Brigstone MB6 (Classic), My advice is simple, Listen to your body!!! Eat resonably and by all means stay well hydrated. I usualy average about 60 to 100 miles per week but I also listen to my body and rest when I need to. Just a note: I’ve supprised more than one road biker with my old mountain bike. Faron Madderra

  12. Bill Kaferle

    Age is only a number. Go as long and hard as you can. Like I told my wife, “I’d rather die biking or running then in a bed somewhere”.

  13. Lee Joo Mong

    In my country, we are not allowed to participate in the Olympic or ourside it? How do we promise not to outdo the “younger” participants? (Told that I broke all Divisions school short putt records, the first time I chanced upon the sport without formal traning as a school kid, completed my first 120 km cycling without preparatory training last December)Surely with some formal training many of us aged could do better than just to wait for wheel-chairs or use walking sticks to be available

  14. stephan vance

    At 54 I have been riding since 1991, starting in college. I have enjoyed the sport for personal pleasure, finding it brings a calmness to my mind, and a good physical fitness. Trained with a professional coach for a year in 2004 to learn how to get to the best fitness level. Still commuting to work, 12miles rdtr, and doing 40-80 miles on each Saturday and Sunday. Rather than pay attention to my age, I listen to my body. I may take an hour sometimes to get warmed up and be able to get into that cycling high that allows problems to flow off with the wind across my body. This state is when doing intervals, sprints or a higher tempo. Focusing on the body and letting all other thoughts dissipate allows me to gain the most balanced mind and body. Feel the pain or discomfort but not allowing it to dominate by concentrating on breathing.

  15. Howard

    Like many others, I returned to cycling 6 years ago after 30 years. I couldn’t ride a mile without tiring. I have ridden sevearal centuries, the century around Lake Tahoe the most challenging and my personal best accomplishment. This last time I road with my son, 23, who is new to cycling, and except for the hills, I stayed right with him. It is noteworthy that we were both passed by a group of women in their 60’s. That shut us both up. I ride a 853 steel road bike, a full suspension off road, a single speed and a hard tail bike set up with street tires and an old mtb set up for errand duty. I rarely drive unless I have no other choice. I have found the most important things are consistency, nutrition and rest. On off days, I just cruise around and enjoy the ride.



  17. Jez Cordon

    I’ve just read Maddaddypat’s concerns about age. I’m 63 and currently training for the Master’s World Championship Time Trial 2009.I concentrate on road cycling. Do low intensity rides in winter (60 – 75% of max heart rate – MHR) to burn fat and keep weight under control. Early spring, up the intensity and duration and frequency of rides but don’t push yourself, say 75 – 80% of MHR. Remember duration of a ride is more important than distance and don’t get a hang up about average speed. Into late spring, early summer, make the rides a bit harder, find some challenging hills to climb but always stay below your anaerobic threshold, in other words ensure the activity is aerobic. Whether riding low or high intensity, try and maintain a high cadence (RPM of the legs)for suppleness and better control of heart rate. There are numerous web sites that can give you much more detailed programmes but if you follow the above guidelines you’ll find year after year that despite getting older you’ll be getting fitter and stronger than you were. Also remember, eat a good balanced diet, plenty of fruit and veg, plus oily fish and use olive oil on salads, toast etc, not mayonaise, or butter/spreads et al. Good freshly baked bread is also good for you (not your typical stuff in a packet) and go easy on red meat, cheese, eggs and full cream milk. All high in fat and cholestral.Eat well and you won’t need too many supplements. Use isotonic drinks whilst riding and keep yourself well hydrated to avoid energy loss and cramps and after a ride drink 500ml of a recovery drink and/or skimmed milk for a protein fix. This aids healing of the minute lesions in your muscles which cause the pain and aching. Remember also to eat or drink something fairly high in carbohydrtaes soon after a ride to replenish stocks used up in the ride. On the ride for quick fix energy, take bananas, energy bars and gels. Hitting the “wall” can be very painful and high energy food intake periodically on the ride will protect you from this. Do stretches, particularly the legs but be sure the muscles are warm before you do this otherwise it may cause injury and invest in a good heart rate monitor (eg. Polar or other propriotory make)and bike computer (CATEYE, SIGMA etc).I came back to cycling after an 18 year layoff in 2004. I now compete and I enjoy my cycling more now than ever before. LET THE “AGE THING” WORK FOR YOU, NOT AGAINST and you’ll enjoy a good and healthy life.

  18. Ken Wilkes

    If your real serious about getting faster, you are going to want to spend some time on a road bike. Most mt. bike racers spend a good majority of their training time on a road bike. A road bike will help develop a “good spin” and tax your cycling leg muscles better than your mt. bike. I notice when I ride my mt. bike too much, I get slower, I think I just get lazy with the easier gear ratios. Make sure the rest of your body is in good shape: a strong core, tone arms and shoulders. Loose any extra weight, which will help your climbing. Just keep at it. And always enjoy your riding. I am 50 years old and ride a mountain and road bike.

  19. benjamin badagliacca

    i am 54 years old…my advise…don’t buy into the “age” thing. i do not and refuse to limit my training and/or intensity. rest is important at all ages. my biggest pleasure is kicking 20 and 30 yr old riders asses. it is really fun! i love to hear them ask me my age and then say “wow”. i just laugh! i really do believe you cannot allow your mindset to limit your potential at any age.

  20. C Hawkins

    I just finished two 3-day rides; one in May (250m) and another in August (350m) and I just started cycling after a 10 year hiatus in Feb of this year. If you are MTB’ing, you will find it harder. I MTB with my kids and though fun, I find it is harder on my joints so I limit the off road events or just take the easier trails. Even on the road, it takes me 10-20 minutes to ‘loosen-up’ before I had try to keep up with the youngsters. I find now I have more consistency – I can set a pace and keep it up all day and like the tortoise, I often pass the sleeping hares. Don’t expect miracles, train slow and steady increasing your distance/time gradually and stretch a lot – even on off days. Vitamins will help but not as much as good food, good rest and a good mental attitude. You will not likely keep up with the young guys, but then there are some pretty interesting folks in the back of the pack too! I still feel pretty good about coming in mid-point on a century ride at 50yrs – considering the average age of riders was is about 30.

  21. Gofor100

    I just happened upon this site but just it is just what I needed. I used to LOVE to bike and my goal was to do a century. Most I ever did in a day was 75 mile. Then I stopped cycling for about 12 years raising my family… too hard to find baby sitters. Well now I am really wanted to ride again and reach that goal. I dusted off the bike this weekend for a ride in our hilly neighborhood. It was hard and I didn’t make it very far but it did feel good to be back out there. I was wondering if at my age I would be able to train to ride my century. I originally thought I might be ready in 6 to 8 months but that first ride was hard! Wonder if I can really do it? You all have inspired me to keep trying. Any suggestions for training?

  22. Bert

    Hello maddaddypat,I’m 48 years, and have been riding three years, mostly road. Doing my 5th century in 2008 this weekend. The hilly hundred. I average 100+ miles a week. 19-20 mph avg. Just started mtb some. Because of all the road riding, I catch the kids on the climbs and less technical trails. Road riding can build your endurance and intervals your speed and acceleration. Climbing on the road will give results you can notice in the woods. The more I ride, the stronger I feel. What you eat matters too. What was Micheal Phelps breakfast? Something like 4000 calories? Of course swimming is real work. Just some fruit a bagel or Cliff Bar an hour before helps me. Hope any of this is helpful maddaddtpatGod Bless Ted, Maj and Clyde. I hope (plan) to be still riding, what an addiction, right?Happy Trails!

  23. Lee Joo Mong

    Furtherance to the earlier comments, being overweight is what prevents me from overtaking all the younger cyclists during each event (not age). Just replaced my 300 degrees glasses 250 degrees recentlyKeep cycling if you want to avoid ageing problems/illness/wheelchair-bound. Go for road cycling to avoid fall(s) with mountain biking tripsCommuting with road cycling trip exceeding an hour is not recommended, if you are not carrying water bottle of electrolytereplenishment, depending on the climate, weather, terrain, your fitness

  24. Ted Cherry

    You mention full suspension, so I assume you ride a Mtn bike? Do you ride both in the dirt and on the road? I’m 75 years old and ride road only. Maybe 30-50 miles once a week, now and then twice a week. A lot of , if not most, aging issues are heredity related and life style. Some folks lose it a lot sooner than others. I tried Mtn bike riding (in the mountains) and it was a little rough on my joints, so I took up Road riding 100%. You can take vitamins, and exercise, etc., etc., but nothing turns back the natural process of aging. I don’t do anything specific, I just try to be moderate in all my habits. i.e., don’t drink (beer) too much, DON’T over eat, try and get enough rest, etc. Just common sense items. As you age, things start deteriorating, and there isn’t much that can be done, period! Heredity is the biggest factor.

  25. MAJ. Liendo

    I just got back from doing 150 miles. I have been active cycling (road bike)for about 5 to 6 years. Never give up, eat right, sleep well, and get into a training cycle not only cycling but do some stregth training starting slow and then pick it up.I am now trainig for a 40 mile ride this coming week-end. Oh by the way I am 66 yrs old and I have left some 30 yr old behind in some rides. It’s never too late….

  26. Clyde Lulham

    I started riding at 67 in March 2008. Started at 8 miles and was about done in. Have recently finished my first 50 miles and average speed has increased by 50%. Have noticed that I need 2-3 miles of warmup and 2 miles for cooldown. I have been using Heart Zones Cycling as a training guide. Have used resting heart rate as a recovery measure.

  27. Lee Joo Mong

    As part of retirement planning, I took up road cycling from September 2006. Participated in 120 km night cycling event last December, and another day event this June at age 54. Now looking forward to longer tripsAt age 48, besides injury(ies), medical ground, could it be a lifestyle with little physical exercise most of the time? Your body needs time and practice to adapt to the changes physical exertion demandsYou may find road cycling much safer than mountain cycling. Your body weight against your power output determines your cycling speed/stamina no less than your bicycleDoing body crunch/sit-ups done on the eve before retiring does help in cycling performance the next daySome could rejuvenate white/grey hairs by regular hard cycling sessionsIts believe to be more suitable for aging population, trying to avoid aging problems be it dementia/others

  28. Anibal Menezes

    Hi,I’m also 48 and returned to cycling last february after 30 years. Three things I found important: a good trainer — that takes in account your age –, streching and good nutrition. I’ve been preparing my muscles to deliver more power as I go out cycling at least 3 times a week (average 40 kms each ride) for over at least an hour.

  29. Claire Achen

    I’m assuming you’re all gents who’ve responded to this aging and biking question. I am a 60 year old woman, lifetime cyclist, who averages 120-140 miles/week, road cycling. It’s taken me some time to mentally adjust to a slower average speed, but once I did, I so enjoyed the surroundings I was biking in…the wonderful American River bike trail here in Sacramento, CA. I ride a 1985 Trek 510, on which I’ve put 64,000 miles. Fast or slow, there is NO substitute for cycling. Stay with it.

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