The physiology of training for high performance when you are old is no different from what it was when you were 30 years younger.
Despite this sweeping statement, endurance sports coach Joe Friel grounds his book in science, and he references numerous scientific studies to support the content. He addresses three key components for athletes to consider adjusting as they age: frequency, duration, and intensity. He also provides information and recommendations regarding total volume for workouts, and the importance of knowing your own VO2max, lactate threshold, body fat, and efficiency factor. Other areas touched on include diet, hormones, medication, and calibrating quantity and rest.
Joe compares the metrics-based results of athletes who took part in a longitudinal study to determine which types of training yield the best performances. Generally, those athletes performing high intensity workouts experienced better results than athletes who trained with less intense, long, slow, distance (LSD) workouts. The book also covers how the metrics change with age and provides guidance for how to tailor strategies to individual needs and goals.
Additionally there are some cameo write-ups by recognizable world-class athletes and experts that give personal insights into Joe’s topics.
But there are too many teasers early on with numerous references to information to be covered later in the book. And midway through the book, there are copious references to information already covered in the book. It felt as if the author did not credit his readers with the ability to remember the previous chapters.
Science- and numbers-types will relate best to the book’s style and content; those who prefer a more organic and spontaneous approach to competition may struggle with the tedium of the science. But the bottom line is that any athlete over 50 can pick up some new strategies to maximize his or her physical capabilities. As Joe says to his target group in their 50s, 60s, 70s, and older, “You aren’t old until age becomes your excuse.”
One final note. The type was reasonably large, not tiny and if, after all, this is a book to be read by folks 50-and-older it would be bad form to publish in a type size made for 20-year-old eyes. Thank you Velopress for considering this.
Fast After 50: How to Race Strong for the Rest of Your Life by Joe Friel is published by Velopress, with illustrations throughout. This paperback is 7″ x 9″ and is 336 pages in length. It sells for $21.95.