As We Age We Need Longer Recovery Times

When I was in my twenties I could go on an eighty training one day and hammer it out again the next day. In fact, 120 miles rides day after day weren’t uncommon.  When I turned 40 I began to notice my legs felt sluggish for a day or two following a hard training ride or race.  Since I turned 50 I can’t recall a day where I haven’t been sore.

In this photo I’m 4th from the front, aged 48

“Masters athletes completing two training sessions per day should maximize the duration of the recovery period (i.e., early morning and late afternoon). Alternatively, following exercise that results in muscle damage such as weights or hard training, it should be expected that exercise performance will be reduced for up to 24 hours.” (1)

Right now my legs are sore. I’ve been running a lot over the past few weeks.  Nearly every morning I head out for 30 to 90 minutes.  During the afternoons I’ve been on a bike for 30 to 90 minutes.  There isn’t a duathlon on the horizon.  There is a 5K I’ll be running but it isn’t serious. Nope, there isn’t a bike race looming in the near future.  I’ve been putting in those miles thinking about 2020. Even so, I might not compete in any of those sports.  Archery is the primary sport for 2020.  All the other exercise is part of a fitness plan I have in place for archery.

At 60 I’m still being chased

Archery practice includes 3 to 5 hours of shooting per day.  That is broken into two practice sessions, morning and afternoon.  All of this exercise is supplemented by 30 minutes every morning of stretching and balance.  It is a lot of training.  I’m sore.

It isn’t a painful soreness. It is the kind of physical effort that lends itself to a good night’s sleep.  It isn’t delayed onset muscle soreness, that awful pain that sometimes follows a particularly heavy effort that one might not be accustom.  No, it is a general soreness and eases once I start a run, ride or shooting session. This isn’t how I felt at twenty-one. I barely remember being sore during those youthful days.

Coaching Tip

As we age, I’ll be 65 soon, it take us longer to recover.  As part of recovery I plan one day a week or every 10 days were I don’t do more that the morning stretch and balance as far as training is concerned. Furthermore, I take a nap, 30 to 40 minutes, everyday after lunch.  That nap is part of my training plan.  During my bicycle racing days we had a set of rules that included:  Don’t stand when you can sit, don’t sit when you can lay down. I know that short nap helps with the afternoon training.

Nearly half of all competitive archers are over the age of 50

If you’re among the Masters athletes in any sport you might be envious of those kids in their 20s and 30s. In archery we can perform longer at a higher level than most other sports.  You will still need to plan recovery times.  Use your head, plan your practices and training, and you shoot as well as the kids.

At 64 using archery to fulfill my need to compete.
ITU World Championship, Long Course Duathlon, Team USA (age 53)

If you plan your recovery and taper before major events make sure you’ve practice that schedule before the event.  I find if I am too rested I tend to shoot a bit high.  I also know, that lifting weights on Monday screws up archery for Tuesday. (1)

Be aware, all you Masters archers and athletes, it will take you longer to recover. (Trying to ‘Will’ a faster recovery doesn’t seem to work.  I’m trying it right now.  No dice.)

Reference:

1.)  https://www.mastersathlete.com.au/2017/03/weve-proved-it-older-athletes-do-take-longer-to-recover/

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