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Joe - you are among the most highly motivated, highly disciplined athletes I have ever known. Most of us know why, and even how, to accomplish selected goals but when it comes to just getting it done we fall short.
Perhaps you could share with us the secrets to being able to discipline ouselves as you have be it with our diets, training intensity, rest, and even lifestyle choices. One 2012 Olympic athlete was quoted as saying, "I haven't had dessert in two years." Where to we get that? Thanks.

John Post, MD
Medical Director, Training Bible Coaching

Joe Friel

Hey John--Thanks for your kind comments. I have dessert every day, but it's usually Paleo. :)


Thanks so much for the inspiration. One way I measure my strength to weight ratio are pull ups. The Navy SEALS could care less about the bench press or squat. Their minimum pull ups for their yearly fitness test is 18 pull ups. I am very near 66 and easily did 10 slow up and slow down pull ups this morning. I actually did a grand total of 66 to match my age. I follow the maxim of "workout as if your life depended on it."

Willem J Martins

Joe, excellent writing, I'm reading this with great interest, as I am one of those aging athletes. I use to be extremely competitive in my younger years, but over-trained hopelessly until I discovered your training bible.

Long story short, I stopped riding for approximately 11 years and started again at 59 years old. Following your bible I have now done 12 weeks of base training. The aging thing that dissapoints me is my maximum heart rate seems to be around 167, compared to 182, 11 years ago and I guess this will be an indicator of proportional performance decrease?

Also, to get above a heart rate of 160, I have to recover really well, is this normal or an idicator of doing too much? I do feel really good on the bike though and seem to handle zone 3 without much effort.

Joyce friel

Great blog topic. I am among my " aging" athlete girlfriends right now. We are all "over the hill" and then some, but will all be on our bikes shortly.

I am privileged to have known Joe most of his 68 years and only wish I could be as disciplined as he is. Keep on being my life's example.

Joe Friel

Hi Willem--My suggestion would be to give little attention to heart rate and pay much more attention to power. Heart rate has little to do with performance. Basically, all you want is a low heart rate and a high power output. Being focused on heart rate is ultimately a losing proposition as it leads us to think we need to have high heart rates. That's not what you want.

Mark Maurer

Thanks for the post Joe. I've used your best triathlon ever book for the past two years and have posted 2 personal bests in the full Vineman and have been on the podium in my age group in 3 out of the last 4 half or full ironman distance races I've done. As an aging athlete I look forward to training smarter and getting faster. I'm 55 and my long term goal is to qualify for Kona when I turn 60. I too have noticed that I don't recover as fast as I used to and need more rest than in the past to absorb the training. I have raced ironman distance races for the past 3 years and plan on taking a year off from that and just doing half and shorter distances next year to give my body a little rest and work on my weaknesses. I have seen some talk of "long term periodization" (or multi-year periodization if you will) and think this might help me as well. If you have any additional information about that and how that might work with aging athletes I would appreciate you writing about it. Thanks again. - Mark

Brian Ward

G'day from Australia, Joe!
We are the same age and, if that's a current photo ^ you're doing a lot better than me! I am in awe of you for the ride you just completed. I saw mention of the section from Telluride to Mancos - an 'easy day' - and I saw what I thought was minus 3800 feet of climbing and I thought, "yeah, I could handle that". After cleaning my glasses, I realised that it was 'approximately'! And was that with an overnight pack on the bike, too?
Joe, I just wanted to ask whether you have had any major health problems in your 'first 68 years', as that has been my experience in recent years, despite my lanky appearance (6ft tall, 165lbs currently - and never more than 176lbs).
Finally, the heart problems appear to be (mostly) a thing of the past and I am able to get out and do a modicum of exercise but I'm still well short of being able to ride the distances you obviously cover - and it's not from lack of will (well, maybe sometimes).
Perhaps the carbon fibre frame (arriving this week) will enable me to complete longer rides, as my old bones aren't coping too well with the jolting from the aluminium alloy one. However, search as I may, I will NEVER find hills within 100 miles of here (Grenfell, N.S.W) that come within a bull's roar of your wonderful Rockies!
I raced (road and track) on and off for around 34 years from 1963 but, these days, I just ride to keep the inevitable at bay as long as possible - and because I still love it!
I 'sort of' follow a book written by a couple of Yanks, "The High Performance Heart" and I definitely use an HRM - it's a 'must' for me.
All the best to you, Joe,
from another 'war baby', Brian

Joe Friel

Brian - You are doing great! Keep it up. Someone told me that we should exercise as if our lives depended on it. He was right.


Joe-- appreciate your blog and books- very inspirational and informative. I FINALLY got a Computrainer (yesterday) for my "almost-50th" birthday. (No, I couldn't wait another year!) I took the financial plunge because I think the older one gets, training & recovery by utilizing hard numbers, rather than by feel and HR, appears to be even more important. An 80+ year old athlete featured in a film about Kona stated he went anaerobic (nearly) every day and that is why he was where he was. I'm following your lead as well as that of the TRULY older athletes' ;)

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