Monday, December 21, 2015

Fast after Fifty, a book review

I am over fifty and I am trying to get faster on my bike and working to improve my fitness in general.  Thus, Joe Friel's book "Fast after Fifty" sounded real intriguing to me.  So I put it on my read list and finally had a chance to read it recently.  These are my thoughts on the book.

First, this book is not sport specific and will not give you pre-made workouts ready for you to go out and ride.  It deals more with the general topic of how to stay fast or get faster for any endurance sport when you are older than fifty.  Why fifty, why nor 45 or 55?  The first section of the book goes into the physiology of aging and its impact on sports performance. Using data from many studies he shows that the endurance performance of the population at large drops off significantly as age increases, especially after 50.  Then he brings up some other studies that show this decrease in performance can be greatly reduced by maintaining training volume and intensity even as you get older.  This means that a great deal of the drop off in performance in the general population is due to a reduction in training, with intensity being the best indicator of how much performance will drop off.  This counters the long slow distance (LSD) training methodology for maintaining and or improving fitness.  Training using LSD rides only will not maintain your fitness levels.  You need to have intensity in order to hold on to your fitness levels.  As you age it does become more difficult to maintain high levels of intensity, so the rest periods built in to the training schedule become more important.

Section two of the book goes into the kind of training required to maintain endurance performance for the aging athlete.  The information is more general and not real detailed for cycling.  One would want to have a book like the "Cyclist's Training Bible" at hand to develop specific training workouts and schedules, or perhaps just get the book "Cycling Past Fifty" which covers the same information about aging, but in a more cycling specific way.  The book does cover aspects of training and measurement of training results in great detail and includes sports specific testing examples and examples of training schedules in the appendix.  I just feel that the "Cycling Past Fifty" book is a better fit for cyclists and does a good job covering the information you need to know.  I am reading that book now and will post a review of it shortly.  "Fast after Fifty" is an excellent book for some doing cross training or preparing for triathlons.

Thanks for reading, and I look forward to your comments on the topic of training books and training in general.  What have you used to guide your training and how has it worked for you.  Also, what are you using to track your training?  Do you use an app like Strava, or Training Peaks.  Or, are you using pen and paper for a more traditional logbook.  What works for you?

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for the write up, as I am always looking for ways to improve. Take a look at Distance Cycling, your complete guide for long distance rides by John Hughes and Dan Kehlenbach. I am currently reading this. John is a coach and has excelled in long distance. You can find John on facebook if you are interested in getting more information. ~ Karin S. Weller