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Bob Chappell

I turned 66 today so I ask you to keep writing on this topic.

Jim Wade


Thanks for writing this series. I will be 69 next month. My 10K time in the early 80's was just above 36 min. Today I would be hard pressed to break 46 min. I have alternated between a fitness trainer and a racer over those 25 + years. I have recently decided to return to race training - not necessarily racing. I am currently running in Z2 (which is about a 8:30 pace for me). I am interested to see what the research suggests. Will adding tempo and intervals help save some fitness at my age.

Thanks for writing on this topic.


Steve Kent

Hi Joe,

No question from me, but just a huge "thanks"! Very thought provoking stuff for us old guys. I've been a "use it or lose it proponent for years. Now I know why...(-;

Have a great time in Bangkok!

Steve Kent

Bill Gleason

Hi Joe,
Very interesting as always. I am curious about what data may be out there re: the rate of acceleration in the decline in VO2 max past, say 40, when we start to think of an athlete as "old," i.e. a "master." That is, I guess, the second derivative of the change in VO2 max over time. Is it ++ ?? (please say no.)

Also, going back a few posts re: recovery: great post, almost exactly what I both practice and preach (advise my athletes who'll listen). But what about post BT workout massage, such as trigger point, a roller and other hands on methods? It's my experience that this speeds muscle recovery by slowing or preventing "knots"...


Bill G.

Joe Friel

Hi Bill--Thanks for your comment. Beyond about age 35 the decline in VO2max appears to be rather small and linear pretty much as the marathon world record chart showed in the previous post. One study of marathoners actually found no significant difference in a large group of marathon finishers (several thousand if I recall right) in the 40+ and 30+ age groups. That's probably a good proxy for VO2max also.

Yes, I agree that massage or self-massage post-workout can be very affective.


Hi Joe,
Is there any data about folks who never were elite athletes and who start training later in life? Can these folks achieve fitness to a level to be competitive w/ their peers who were former elite athletes?

Joe Friel

Hi KK--Thanks for your comment. No, I've not seen any related research on that. As for 2nd part of your comment, it would depend on what the former elite athlete has been doing recently with training and how you've been training relative to your potential. For ex, I think I could beat Eddie Merckx on a hill climb now without much difficulty. We're about the same age but he's no longer training. Back in the early 70s, however, I couldn't have even come close.

Greg Lopez

Hi Joe as a beginner in Triathlons (47 years old) I happened to come across your books and purchase them, and today I found your blog about aging. Interesting topic since we all age at different rate of course but always going in the decline no matter what. I have a question. Did High Altitude Training (1500 meters over sea level or more) will help to maintain a higher level of Vo2 max and slow the decline of the factor?
Again thanks for your excellent books and book companions.

Joe Friel

George L--I've seen no research on altitude's effect on aging. My guess is that it is not a positive effect and may in fact be detrimental due to inability to work at high intensities as at sea level. The heart, after all, is a muscle and like all muscles in order to become stronger (i.e., greater stroke volume) it needs near max efforts.


I've started cycling in my 50's for weight control but found I was pretty good at it; (I can do the club 10 M TTs in 22-23 min on my road bike). I've concentrated my training on a broad based improvement. But now that I'm hoping to step up to the "next level", I'm wondering what to do with the following observations: Riding with others, I notice they start breathing hard long before before I do, but I notice that the lactic burn in my legs is my limiting factor. I'm already quite muscular, so I doubt it's a strength limiter. I'm big, 6'1", 205 lbs (about 12% BF). Any suggestions as to what would be going on?

Joe Friel

John--Not sure what you're getting at with "What would be going on?" With what? Lactate acid build up? I'll assume that's it. I won't go into all of the physiology here regarding lactate (which is not a problem at all). But I don't know anything about your ride's terrain, variability index, power, your experience, fitness level this time of year, normal training, etc. It's really not possible for me to tell you what's going on with a group ride. That's even hard to do when I've coached someone for several months, let alone a complete stranger. You'll need to either do lots of reading on train to figure out what's going on or talk with some experienced people who understand exercise physiology and can probe into all of the details with you. Good luck.

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