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Peter

At what age do you stop getting faster?

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Had an interesting chat with a Tri and cycling coach this morning and we are talking about a female professional (35+) that is doing MASSIVE sessions on the bike of late.  Each day between 3-5hrs.

Anyway he mentioned that over the last 4 years she has improved heap but is now at a level where improvements are TINY as she has really hit her ceiling.

@AP has mentioned he loses 7 minutes a year now he is over 60.  (can't remember the actual number and if this is just the ironman run and happy for him to correct me)

Therefore my question is At what age do you stop getting faster?

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I assume you mean for someone that has been training/racing seriously from a younger age. 

They will start slowing at an age younger than a lot of people on here that are still improving because they never competed when they were at their potential "prime".

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Yep all depends where you are on the spectrum,

when I got back into the sport from my first race I did which was club champs at foster I swam ok and I put that down to just surfing my riding was well let’s just say it hurt that much I almost cried 😂

and the run wasn’t much different 

i knuckle down a couple years later. And finally started to get some groove going and was improving every session and race ,

i have stopped again now for the last couple years but I believe I still had some improvements to go 

guess I’ll never know .

im 43 now and I probably won’t get back to where I was at 40 so I’ll set a 50 year old goal but it will be slower 

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I really think it's more relevant to "training age" - depends when you start out in this sport 

I personally started at 36yrs - I had my fastest OD race at 45-46 - and my fastest Ironman at Forster at 45yrs - I was pretty consistent from 45 - 50 and had my fastest ever IM marathon and fastest Hawaii Ironman at 51yrs

But because I'm a late starter - I'm probably a late bloomer - my IM at 51yrs was my 17th IM

I think it takes 6-8yrs to develop an endurance athlete - so I'd think most would not be getting faster after 40yrs unless they started late and are still developing. 

I have a lady in my squad who is 50-51 and is still improving regularly - she's been at the sport about 5yrs now 🙂 she's done 3-4 IM races and is pretty certain to PB at Port in a few weeks

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4 minutes ago, AP said:

I really think it's more relevant to "training age" - depends when you start out in this sport 

I personally started at 36yrs - I had my fastest OD race at 45-46 - and my fastest Ironman at Forster at 45yrs - I was pretty consistent from 45 - 50 and had my fastest ever IM marathon and fastest Hawaii Ironman at 51yrs

But because I'm a late starter - I'm probably a late bloomer - my IM at 51yrs was my 17th IM

I think it takes 6-8yrs to develop an endurance athlete - so I'd think most would not be getting faster after 40yrs unless they started late and are still developing. 

I have a lady in my squad who is 50-51 and is still improving regularly - she's been at the sport about 5yrs now 🙂 she's done 3-4 IM races and is pretty certain to PB at Port in a few weeks

Gee she looks older than 50/51!!!

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Meridith Kessler just had her fastest half Ironmana at 40 years of age, with a 4.08 at Texas 70.3 on the weekend.

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7 minutes ago, Bored@work said:

Meridith Kessler just had her fastest half Ironmana at 40 years of age, with a 4.08 at Texas 70.3 on the weekend.

Yeah but what was her fastest 70.3 before that?
Did she just PB by a minute or 2 or by 15 minutes. And where was the improvement?  The run or the bike where times can swing due to drafting.

 

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Dave Scott coming second in Kona to Welchy in 94 at 43yrs was a good indicator of someone who has stayed in good shape and excellent health can perform well into his forties.

In an interview after that race he claimed a lot of his longevity can be attributed to his strength maintenance plan.

I think people who feel they have not reached their peak yet, or those who have and want to stay up as long as possible, should work on flexibility, core strength several times a week.   

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2 minutes ago, Peter said:

Yeah but what was her fastest 70.3 before that?
Did she just PB by a minute or 2 or by 15 minutes. And where was the improvement?  The run or the bike where times can swing due to drafting.

 

I can aske her if you really want?

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4 minutes ago, AP said:

Dave Scott coming second in Kona to Welchy in 94 at 43yrs was a good indicator of someone who has stayed in good shape and excellent health can perform well into his forties.

In an interview after that race he claimed a lot of his longevity can be attributed to his strength maintenance plan.

I think people who feel they have not reached their peak yet, or those who have and want to stay up as long as possible, should work on flexibility, core strength several times a week.   

Kev Ferguson & Vincent Tremaine are two local guys who seem to be going o.k.

Vincent went 9:36 in the 55/59 age group.

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Think you have to compare the same course year in year out 

even then different conditions on the day wind ,rain etc 

so to me times mean nothing in a race ,unless in a pool or on a track 

it’s all about position and beating that pesky guy that got you last time to claim bragging rights 

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I did my fastest 5km, half mara and IM at 40. However I didn't start endurance sport until after 30. I also had my fastest Half IM at 40 but matched it at 49 within 20 seconds. But something happened at 50 for sure. Aching knees and a general 'blah' feeling. Bit hard to judge as I've gone from living in the flattest place on Earth with slick roads (doing 30kph for easy rides) to the hilliest place I've ever lived with chunky roads (doing 20kph for easy rides).

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46 minutes ago, The Customer said:

But something happened at 50 for sure. Aching knees and a general 'blah' feeling.

The is a tipping point for all of us where we start to feel the weight of the years - it seems to be around 50 

I have a couple of theories on it - as we get older we don't produce digestive enzymes as efficiently so we're not absorbing our nutrients as well

The other is older people don't generally sleep as well - if we supplement with melatonin  we can normalise sleep patterns  

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I'm not sure I'm getting faster, I had a good TT year last year but I think I'm getting stronger. What I mean is, overall I'm probably slower but I seem to be able to produce those results throughout more of the year on more occasions.

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I would have liked to do one PB after 40 but it never happened, despite having raced a broad spectrum of distances. I think my last PB was at 36.

If you're wondering when athletes slow down, you only have to look at the ages in Olympic or World Championship finals. Endurance tends to maintain a little longer than raw speed. Generally speaking, peak years are 25 to 35, (swimmers tending to be an exception, though of course they take "elite' training volumes much younger).

If you're posting PBs after your mid 30s, it's doubtful you were training nearly as much, as hard or as intelligently during your younger years.

I have one friend who posted his marathon PB of 2:17 at 39, though he's an exception for an athlete who was already training consistently while at school. 18 months on, he's still looking to improve.

 

 

 

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1 hour ago, Bored@work said:

Kev Ferguson & Vincent Tremaine are two local guys who seem to be going o.k.

Vincent went 9:36 in the 55/59 age group.

And what were they doing at 30?

Unless they were doing IM, it's largely irrelevant.

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As I don't use ironman as the be all and end all of test environments, I answered this threads question on ongoing performance over 33 years in this sports. 

Swimming - I swam better in my 40's than in my 20s and 30s. However, I am swimming only slightly slower at 56 than I did at 46. Slightly means only 20 secs slower per km. 

Biking - my speed increased between 25 to 35 years of age. Then it plateaued until 46 where it improved until my early 50s where it remains constant. No speed drop of.

running - I ran my fastest in my 20s ( 5km PB of 17.10, 10km PB 38.52, 1/2 marathon 1hr 28min, marathon PB 3hrs 4 mins). I improved into my 30s. At 34 I had a serious motorcycle accident and my running has just been slow ever since. 

Strength - I have always lifted weights, done mobility exercises, circuit training and core exercise. I also stretch daily and always have. I read Dave Scotts first triathlon book not long after I started in the sport and thought his message made sense.  I think strength training all those years has had a direct relation to the lack of drop off in speed with my swimming and cycling. 

 

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Congrats, Greyman.

What other factors (if any) do you feel have contributed to your success? Has your swimming technique improved or your training changed? Do you think improvements in bike technology, equipment and aero have contributed to your success on the bike?

Edited by Paul Every

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44 minutes ago, AP said:

The is a tipping point for all of us where we start to feel the weight of the years - it seems to be around 50 

I have a couple of theories on it - as we get older we don't produce digestive enzymes as efficiently so we're not absorbing our nutrients as well

The other is older people don't generally sleep as well - if we supplement with melatonin  we can normalise sleep patterns  

I'm asleep once my head touches the pillow and usually wake up 9hrs later 😂

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I’m still getting faster the older I get,

 

 

unfortunately It’s in bed    :lol: 

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I was still setting PB's from 45 to 48 yo. Been a fraction off in the last 2 years, but still haven't given up hope yet. Did my first triathlon at 34.

Set an Olympic Distance PB this year on a course that had long transitions and a long run, but I do so few OD's that my previous PB was terrible (set over 10 years ago).  And had a Swim PB at Geelong 70.3, unfortunately my run was shit, otherwise it would have been a 70.3 PB.

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I stopped getting faster at 38. I started getting fatter at 38 and a bit. 

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2 hours ago, Paul Every said:

Congrats, Greyman.

What other factors (if any) do you feel have contributed to your success? Has your swimming technique improved or your training changed? Do you think improvements in bike technology, equipment and aero have contributed to your success on the bike?

Yep. Hence why my swimming improved. 

Cycling, yep bikes have improved but so has my leg strength from manipulating my strength program with better techniques and exercises.

and there in lies the secret, as teased out by Mr Every. By using better training techniques and methods along with effective nutrition to suit your individual bodies needs, you can limit the decline in your performance. 

All that is fine and good, but the real issue as you get older is recovery. You can pump out your near best efforts in swimming or running, but instead of being able to back up the next day for more, it usually takes two to three days. Fortunately with weight training and gym work, your muscles can cope with maintaining a regular routine, most older athletes find their skeleton and ligaments become the limiting factor. 

So enjoy getting older. A lot of non triathlon people don't. 

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13 hours ago, AP said:

 

The other is older people don't generally sleep as well - if we supplement with melatonin  we can normalise sleep patterns  

AP - keen to know more about this. I have always been a great sleeper, until about 12 months ago (I am 49 now). I still sleep well most nights, but some nights are shocking. No stress or anything I can put it down to though.

Thanks

NSF

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Send fitness buddy a pm. He may help you out.

for me, in summer, Two gym sessions a week at my work gym. In winter 3 sessions. That third session replaces an open water swim. I only spend 45 mins max in the gym. No need to spend hours in there. It's a maintenance workout, not a primary focus workout like a swim, bike or run. If it's pissing rain outside I will do a run on the treadmill as well. Better than no run at all.

 

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58 minutes ago, more said:

How do you incorporate strength training into your weekly routine? 

are you going to start getting up at 3:30am to fit everything in?

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54 minutes ago, more said:

How do you incorporate strength training into your weekly routine? 

First thing - don't ever avoid manual work - gardening - renovating - helping friends with this sort of work - it can work every muscle in your body

I am lucky because I still enjoy doing manual work - some days I'm smashed by it - but I always recover - recover harder and tougher than before

My strength work apart from manual stuff is simple - three times a week arrive at the pool 10-15min early - do 3-5 sets of chin ups and push ups - before joining the squad for 10min of core strength work - everybody does three core strength sessions each week before swimming 

You don't need much gear to stay strong - early in our preparation we do 8-10 push ups every 10min in our long runs - so at the end of a 2hr run we have accumulated as many as 100 push ups and we've divided the run into a whole lot of 10min technique focused intervals (now isn't that what a HIM or IM run is between aid stations)

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15 minutes ago, Peter said:

are you going to start getting up at 3:30am to fit everything in?

God knows.. really struggling at the moment tbh

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12 minutes ago, AP said:

First thing - don't ever avoid manual work - gardening - renovating - helping friends with this sort of work - it can work every muscle in your body

I am lucky because I still enjoy doing manual work - some days I'm smashed by it - but I always recover - recover harder and tougher than before

My strength work apart from manual stuff is simple - three times a week arrive at the pool 10-15min early - do 3-5 sets of chin ups and push ups - before joining the squad for 10min of core strength work - everybody does three core strength sessions each week before swimming 

You don't need much gear to stay strong - early in our preparation we do 8-10 push ups every 10min in our long runs - so at the end of a 2hr run we have accumulated as many as 100 push ups and we've divided the run into a whole lot of 10min technique focused intervals (now isn't that what a HIM or IM run is between aid stations)

Thanks AP, so it doesn't sound like you do/recommend anything in the way of actual gym based workouts such as squats, db/kettle bell work etc?

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43 minutes ago, Greyman said:

Send fitness buddy a pm. He may help you out.

for me, in summer, Two gym sessions a week at my work gym. In winter 3 sessions. That third session replaces an open water swim. I only spend 45 mins max in the gym. No need to spend hours in there. It's a maintenance workout, not a primary focus workout like a swim, bike or run. If it's pissing rain outside I will do a run on the treadmill as well. Better than no run at all.

 

So are the gym sessions also on days where you would do a run or ride? If so do you try to seperate them with a morning/afternoon split?

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46 minutes ago, more said:

Thanks AP, so it doesn't sound like you do/recommend anything in the way of actual gym based workouts such as squats, db/kettle bell work etc?

You develop specific swim strength with long sets alternating paddles on and off - develop bike strength by cycling up hills in a gear higher than what's comfortable - and develop run strength by doing blocks of hill running (I usually do six weeks of hills followed by six weeks of run track sessions so you build strength then apply it to good run technique) - squats won't hurt in the off season but when we have limited training hours in a preparation specific strengths are more important use of time 😎

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Well here goes one 35 year event log, maybe I should add another column for weight - because this for me is an indicator of current fitness - and it tends (for me anyway) to go in 9ish year cycles.

(the colour changes in the columns represent course changes), here have also been years with flats (sometimes more than on) and even rotor cuff tears (necessitating one arm'd backstroke swim) and latest  cardiologists warning not to "race" (so I didn't "race", despite being pretty fit just coming off another ITU worlds campaign (1991, 2009 & 2019 if you read anything in there - seemed to do better the preceding season each time (qualifying is always the hardest part)).

Anyway make what you will of the times and overall placings over the years.

RonsNoosaResultsTable-the-first-35-years.pdf

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8 hours ago, more said:

So are the gym sessions also on days where you would do a run or ride? If so do you try to seperate them with a morning/afternoon split?

My gym sessions are usually on a day when I ride. I usually swim and run on the same day if possible. Between work and life, sometimes it's only a swim or only a run. I never try to makeup for a lost session. Once it's gone, it's gone. Best way to avoid injury.

7 hours ago, AP said:

You develop specific swim strength with long sets alternating paddles on and off - develop bike strength by cycling up hills in a gear higher than what's comfortable - and develop run strength by doing blocks of hill running (I usually do six weeks of hills followed by six weeks of run track sessions so you build strength then apply it to good run technique) - squats won't hurt in the off season but when we have limited training hours in a preparation specific strengths are more important use of time 😎

AP and I have agreed on the use of paddles in swimming. Where we usually disagree is on the amount of use. I tend to use paddles more than other triathletes. We are all different. For me the paddles give me a swim strength workout, a hand entry and stroke pull technique check and correction and have a bonus of working my last for paddling my kayak. 

For my running, Where I live is pancake flat and I can only do hills once a week and I have to drive a fair way to any decent hills. So I incorporate them in my long run. Works for me.

For my biking, as I can't readily access hills, I use leg exercises in the gym to assist my cycling strength. In winter I will use squats and leg presses in my session early in the day and follow it up with an evening bike session. Works similarly to APs hill strength sessions. You do what you can in the environment you have and the time you have. 

How and what you do to train is only limited by your imagination and the training effect you are looking for. For a good example of someone who has accessed information and then set up her own training environment,  Speak to Cranky. She has worked out how to have a killer bike program to use on the trainer a few times a week with only one road ride per week. There's lots more examples on here. Just ask.

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On 09/04/2019 at 9:49 PM, Greyman said:

Cycling, yep bikes have improved but so has my leg strength from manipulating my strength program with better techniques and exercises.

I've found the same.  When I was just doing tris, the only strength work I did was pushups & crunches.  When I stopped doing tris and got back into the gym 2x/week, I added leg strength work (deadlifts, wall squats, kettle bell swings, squatting and throwing a medicine ball high against a wall, sissy squats etc).  Even though my cycling hours have dropped from 10+/week to about 3hrs, I found I did not lose as much cycling performance as I expected, at least over short rides of up to an hour.  Getting into MTB also helped cycling strength, as there are times (steep rocky/slippery hills) where you really need to apply much higher forces to the pedals than in tri training, else you just stop & flop!

My wife rides much more regularly and intensely than me (most on the trainer, only once/week on the road), and I can still more or less keep up with her over an hour.  I put that down to the leg strength work.

The gym circuits are fast and fairly aerobic, upper & lower exercises and only take between 22-30mins. HR gets to 150 on some exercises (esp kettle bell swings and battle rope).

Re the OP, I started short tris at about 28, got into longer tris in my 40s, took 30mins off my HoW time between ages 47 and 49, then stopped tris.

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I've been racing triathlon for about 12 years now, currently riding faster than I ever have. I guess it shows the benefit of actually working harder on my riding and doing something different in training. 

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18 minutes ago, AA7 said:

I've been racing triathlon for about 12 years now, currently riding faster than I ever have. I guess it shows the benefit of actually working harder on my riding and doing something different in training. 

10,000 hours made?

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On 10/04/2019 at 1:27 PM, trifun said:

Well here goes one 35 year event log, maybe I should add another column for weight - because this for me is an indicator of current fitness - and it tends (for me anyway) to go in 9ish year cycles.

(the colour changes in the columns represent course changes), here have also been years with flats (sometimes more than on) and even rotor cuff tears (necessitating one arm'd backstroke swim) and latest  cardiologists warning not to "race" (so I didn't "race", despite being pretty fit just coming off another ITU worlds campaign (1991, 2009 & 2019 if you read anything in there - seemed to do better the preceding season each time (qualifying is always the hardest part)).

Anyway make what you will of the times and overall placings over the years.

RonsNoosaResultsTable-the-first-35-years.pdf 81.52 kB · 6 downloads

This is my definition of a great athlete - congratulations! Someone who can show up and perform consistently over an extended period of time.  

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