This is my last aging post. I started this series back in June as a pre-birthday gift to myself. I wanted to understand what was happening with my performance that seemed to be in decline. There was a very good chance that what I saw happening was age-related as I approached my 70th birthday (next month). I wasn’t seeing a big drop off in performance, but there were little things going that I couldn’t explain. The most significant of these was an inability to regain my normal long- and short-duration bike power outputs of previous years. So I began to dig into the aging-athlete research of the past 20 years to see if I could find answers.
The amount of research on aging has grown tremendously since I last seriously reviewed it in the mid-1990s as I was writing a book called Cycling Past 50. That book grew out of the same quest for understanding of getting older as I moved into my 50s. Because of this recent blog series I know a lot more about the topic than I did then. In fact, that book now seems rather naïve and touches only on a few high points of the discussion. That’s because there’s been a much greater need for society to understand its senior citizens as the Baby Boomers reached their 50s and 60s. Now that those same post-WWII babies are approaching their 70s they are changing the world. For a number of reasons they are much more physically active than any previous generation. That has its upsides – longevity and quality of life – but also has some downsides, such as placing long-term demands on the medical system. For those of us interested in maintaining performance with aging, we’re learning a lot about how to train by observing what happens with the best of the Boomer athletes. That’s what I focused on with this series.
I never thought this series of aging blog posts would go on for six months. At the start I had no idea there was so much to write about. In this series I've only touched the surface of the topic. So I’ve decided to write another book for aging athletes. This one won’t be just for cyclists, as the first was, but for senior athletes in all endurance sports such as triathlon, road cycling, mountain bike racing, running, swimming, Nordic skiing, rowing and paddling. In this book I’ll tweak what I’ve written about in my blog as the questions you’ve asked have helped me to focus. So if you read the book you’ll find some of the same information you’ve been reading here, only with a different twist. There will also be a lot of topics that weren’t included in the blog, such as the latest aging research and my observations on:
- Diet and muscle maintenance
- Nutrition in recovery – both long- and short-term
- Acid-base balance and bone density
- Effects of strenuous training on the heart
- Menopause and performance
- Training with osteoarthritis
- Unique mental approaches to training with aging
- Motivation and aging
- Determining performance potential as a senior athlete
- Age-specific performance measurement
I’ll also write about what I’ve learned and my personal performance improvements that came from it. It’s been an eye-opening project for me. And I’m looking forward to sharing it all with you. But it won’t be available right away. While writing the book won’t take that long – perhaps 6 months – the editing, printing and distribution will take many more months. Don’t expect to see it before the end of 2014. I’ll certainly let you know when it’s available.
Until then it’s back to normal blog posts here on topics related to training and performance regardless of age. Thanks for hanging in there with me through all of this.