It seems there is never enough time to do all I want to do. By the time I watch the Tour de France, work out a few hours, answer emails (it seems that is what I mostly do these days), and other stuff I can’t always account for, there is not enough time left to devote to things I enjoy such as writing. I expect you have the same problem. I thought when I cut back on working (I’m now retired from full-time coaching—more on that at another time) that there would be more free time. Ain’t so.
Back to Recovery
Speaking of aging, I was in the mountain community of Breckinridge, Colorado on the July Fourth holiday weekend. While there it dawned on me that there is another aspect of my recovery I didn’t mention in my last post on the topic.
My family drove up to Breck on the afternoon of July 3. That morning I did my normal Wednesday workout in Boulder: 2 x 25-minute hill climbs on a 9% grade at about 90% of FTP followed by 8 to 12 minutes of short, anaerobic endurance intervals at 120% of FTP. These latter intervals are also on a hill, but not as steep. With warm-up and cool down the session lasts about 2.5 hours. It pretty well leaves me wasted for a day or so.
What struck me while in Breck was that two days after the workout, despite riding easily and sleeping and eating well, I was still not even close to being recovered. That’s unusual. Then it dawned on me: I was living and sleeping at about 9600 feet (3100m) and my “easy” rides had taken me to over 11,000 feet (3600m). You simply don’t recover as quickly at such altitudes.
The same is true when back in Boulder, where I spend my summers. Our home here is about 5200 feet (1680m). That altitude also has negative consequences for recovery and makes sleep, nutrition and everything else I do to hasten recovery even more important. There’s an obvious difference to how much training stress I can manage here as compared with Scottsdale, Ariz. where we stay in the winter – 1800 feet (580m). In Boulder I can manage only two high-stress workouts per week. In Scottsdale it’s usually three and even four when in the base period.
The aerobic-enhancement advantage of living at a high altitude may well be offset by the slower recovery and decreased power production of all workouts. (What I’ve learned about how to modify training at altitude is a another topic for a future post.)
Also of interest on this topic of aging and recovery are the comments that older athletes have posted and the emails I have received from others in the past two weeks. Most have agreed that they also have experienced a slowing of their recovery rate as they age. The most common solutions they report using are decreasing the total weekly workload and allowing more time for recovery between challenging workouts. Please continue to give me your thoughts on this.
And My Aging Eyes
I guess this could be called an ad for one of my sponsors, but it’s warranted. I managed to break my every-day glasses last week. And I only brought one pair with me from Scottsdale. That made driving at night, going to movies and watching TV a bit challenging. So I asked ADS Sports Eyewear, which I mentioned in a previous post on this topic, to make some replacement glasses with clear lenses for me using the same frame as they used for my prescription Oakley sunglasses. I had them in a week and I’m happy to now have my vision back. They’re fast and the quality is excellent. Thanks ADS!
The next topic I want to write about is another common one for aging athletes: weight gain. I hope to do that as soon as I get caught up with email.