« How to Recover | Main | Aging and Performance, Part 2 »



Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.


Running, cycling I can see it.
I am becoming a faster (i.e. more proficient) swimmer as I age and spend more time in the water. So it's good!


The generation preceding the Boomers and following the World War II or Great Generation is caled the Silent Generation.

Ryan Rodman

How much of that decline at around 40yrs do you think is purely related to getting older, aging, rather than just a build up of wear and tear on the body from, for example, being a professional athlete for 25 years?

I don't really know of any studies that look at something like that, decline in performance related to time in the sport, and I know you can't really look at a single case and say it applies generally, but, what about Chris Horner? He's had a great season and he's 38, and he's been a professional for probably more than 20 years.

Or George Hincapie? Last year in the US Pro Championship post race press conference he said he broke a 6 year old PR up Paris Mountain in his training leading up to the Championship (video on YouTube). So even they improved into their late 30's, but again that could be improved training, and they are not in their 40's yet.

Those two guys are already elite level, so maybe they already have something, genetic or otherwise, that the average person doesn't.

Joe Friel

Ryan--When it comes to trying to figure out why 'older' pro athletes perform as they do as per your cases, no one knows the answer. There is simply too much that is unknown. For ex, in cycling, one of the big variables that allows athletes to improve well beyond age 40 is racing 'smarts.'

Larry Moray

Personally, I think I peaked around 40, but I was never a professional athlete, did my first tri at 29 and spent the next 11 years training seriously which was probably what contributed to my improvements.

Having had my left hip resurfaced in April 2009, I believe the orthopedic surgeons will be having to modify joint replacement procedures and devices as active boomers require not return to ADL's but return to training and racing following joint replacement. (My surgeon told me not to run, but I have been going easy and completed (wish I could say competed) my first post-surgical Olympic Distance Tri yesterday.)

I will say I have lost a fair amount of drive and 'fire' as I've aged. At 54 don't have the motivation that I had at 45!

gwendolyn oguin

Hi Joe: Gwendolyn from Portland, Maine. I noticed a fairly big discrepancy between women's times between 60-70 years of age compared to men. Any reason for that, I thought I was just getting better like a bottle of good wine:-)

Joe Friel

Hi Gwendolyn--Yeah, you're right. There isn't anything on this that I've come across in the literature. I'll keep watching for it.

Verify your Comment

Previewing your Comment

This is only a preview. Your comment has not yet been posted.

Your comment could not be posted. Error type:
Your comment has been saved. Comments are moderated and will not appear until approved by the author. Post another comment

The letters and numbers you entered did not match the image. Please try again.

As a final step before posting your comment, enter the letters and numbers you see in the image below. This prevents automated programs from posting comments.

Having trouble reading this image? View an alternate.


Post a comment

Comments are moderated, and will not appear until the author has approved them.

Your Information

(Name is required. Email address will not be displayed with the comment.)

Joe Friel's Sponsors

Blue Competition Cycles
"Specialized Bikes is my newest sponsor. I’ve been impressed with their bikes for a long time so I tried one. Had to have it. What a great ride!"

D2 Shoes
"I’ve been using custom-made D2 Shoes for years. Currently on my fourth pair. And, yes, they have midsole cleats as described in my blog."

ADS Sports Eyewear \
"ADS Sports Eyewear makes all of my glasses for casualwear, reading, cycling, golf and more. Hundreds of models from all the major manufacturers."


Subscribe via Email

Enter your email address:

Delivered by FeedBurner