Three Ways to Adjust Your Triathlon Training As You Age

Three Ways to Adjust Your Triathlon Training As You Age

Training doesn’t have to stop just because you need a little more recovery than you used to. Follow these steps to train effectively as you age.

Many of us experienced triathletes are feeling we just don’t have the time or energy to train that we once did. On top of this we might be seeing the same niggly injuries recurring time and time again. If this sounds like you, do not despair—and put down that golf club membership! You probably just fall into the category of a masters triathlete, i.e. over 40 years of age. You just need to make some simple adjustments to how you train.

Firstly, you may need to examine how often you take rest days. In the past, you may have been able to survive on one rest day a week. But as things “creak” a little more (and we have more responsibilities to juggle) we need to build in more time when we do not train. For my masters plans/athletes, I typically will insist on two rest days a week.

I know proposing extra rest days to seasoned athlete may sound like treason (and yes, I do have to fight some battles here with my squad) but it does not have to be negative. Here are some options I use to soften the blow:

  • Allowing light easy recovery sessions on rest days, which you can reframe as “active recovery days.”
  • Be flexible on when an athlete can complete some key sessions/rest to counter when work/life might necessitate a juggle – “floating rest days” 

Secondly, to combat the effects of muscle density declining from our 40’s onwards, masters athletes should add in supplemental exercises to their weekly routine, such as yoga, pilates and/or light weights. These variations on our usual training will help you build and maintain flexibility and core strength. These sessions are also perfect contenders for the “active recovery day” discussed above—and they’re vital for injury prevention. 

Finally, it may be useful to adjust your current recovery cycle. This relates to how often you take a rest week in your training plan. A standard rest week, where you drop your training load/intensity by 60%-50% of the previous week will allow your body to consolidate the previous blocks training. 

Most plans will work off a three weeks “on” and the fourth week “off” or a rest week, but for my masters athletes and plans I work off a 2 week on/one week off cycle. This serves simply to allow for more recovery, gain consolidation and further reduce the risk of injury from training overload.

In summary, none of us are getting any younger, but we have been getting wiser and more experienced—let’s make sure we train that way. Just because you can’t hammer the body like you did in your earlier years doesn’t mean you can’t continue to progress as an athlete. By adding in extra rest days, more supplemental training and increasing your recovery cycles you can continue to participate and thrive in your favorite activities. Besides, I have heard that golf is an awful sport!

Steven Moody

Steven Moody has starred in the corporate rat race but found his greatest source of satisfaction came from his 15 years of endurance racing including numerous IRONMAN finishes and world championship qualifications Realising this fact, Steven abandoned his cubicle and moved into full time coaching. Steven is now Ironman University, Triathlon Ireland and Training Peaks level 2 certified and in 2017, was awarded Triathlon Ireland Coach of the year. Browse his pre-built training plans in training peaks by clicking here or if you have queries on personal coaching/training plans you can contact him via info@smartendurancesolutions.com