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At 52 years young, this 9 day training week seems like the way to go for me to prepare for a upcoming mountain bike race (I was having to do it anyway with the demands of hard mtb rides).
As far as ATL is concerned, do you still think that shorter (5 day avg) is better than a longer (9 day avg) for older athletes that struggle with recovery and to build CTL?
Thanks in advance

Joe Friel

ScottZ--Thanks for your note. ATL is an interesting metric for older athletes. I've thought about it quite a bit since that 2013 post you quoted. I've come to realize that I could argue it either way--either to make it shorter (5 days) or longer (9 days). Right now I'd probably go with 9 days since that would better reflect the slowness of recovery for the older athlete. But next month I may be back to shorter. If you come up with a good argument for either of these please let me know. Thanks!

Elizabeth Weidling


I coach an female athlete who is 64 - she has been an endurance athlete for many years and is training for a 70.3. She is really fit and recovers well but her run is her bugaboo taking about 3:45 hours for a 13.1 run. - In training, I don't typically have my athletes run longer than 3 hours at any one time - so for my slower athletes I usually have them run more frequently or use back to back days of running to prepare them (aerobic running). However, I am concerned at her age about back to back runs - but also don't feel having her go out and run for 4 hours is a good idea either. Any suggestions? thanks :)

Joe Friel

Elizabeth Weidling--I'm sort of guessing here as I obviously know much less about her than you. So with that in mind... I'd consider reducing the duration of her long runs temporarily to ~90 min - 2 hrs. For those runs I'd have her do aerobic threshold training building to 90+ minutes at 30bpm (+/- 2bpm). For those runs I'd closely monitor her Efficiency Factor (Normalized Graded Pace / avg heart rate). That number should ratchet up over time. Once it stabilizes then I'd start increasing the duration up to about 3hrs. Never more - very little to be gained but a lot to lose beyond that. Continue watching EF. If it's gradually rising (which it should or else she's reached her potential - doubtful - or else there's something wrong with her lifestyle--diet, stress, sleep, etc) then you can bet she is in better shape and capable of running faster than when EF was low. Good luck!

Tony Buffington

Thank you for this excellent post! :-) I adapted it to my return to cycling training (I'm 65 this year) and it has helped me steadily improve my fitness, and to get enough rest not to overtrain! I'm basically doing ~ 150 miles per week, with 1 or 2 days of 20 min power zone 4, then 20 min power zone 3, followed by a bit of rest and an hour or so of zone 2, for about 50 miles in 3 hours every 3rd or 4th day as freshness and schedule permit. this got me around Lake Tahoe last Sunday in 4:15 - a PR. :-)
Thanks again, Tony
Thanks again, Tony

Joe Friel

Tony Buffington--I'm glad to see that it is working for you. Also glad to see you have a plan established for your training. Keep it going!


As a runner, I'm very interested in the 9 day week. (I have just been struck down with acute bronchitis, so I must be doing something wrong!) However I'm puzzled by this post. Don't triathletes need weight training, as promoted in "Fast After 50"?

Joe Friel

D-Yes, most do. So good point. I didn't include it because it typically goes from 3 sessions/9 days (early Base) to 2 as season progresses. For example, early base days 3-6-9 (or 2-5-8 depending on capacity for recovery following an SM session) could be strength training and remainder of macrocycle on days 3-7 since SM is much less stressful.

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