Leveraging TriDot to Optimize Your Training at Any Age

Editor’s Note

This post is a response to a reader’s request for information on triathlon training at age 65 compared to when he or she was 55. The reader wrote “The last of my 6 IM races was 10 years ago when I was 55. I’m able to train and race at 70.3 distance, but can’t seem to knock out a 12 – 14 hour training week anymore.”

Since the reader did not give his or her name, I was not able to clarify the request. However, I assume IM refers to IRONMAN 140.6. This is how I framed my request of Kurt Madden.

Terry VanderWert

by Kurt Madden, Head of Coach Development, TriDot

As we go through life, we often know that “experience is the best teacher.” Ideally, all of us will get better and find satisfaction and fulfillment by reaching our fitness goals too.

Before answering the specific request about training for an IRONMAN 140.6 race, I will answer two questions about the TriDot training system.

  1. How does TriDot factor in age into training plans for IRONMAN races?
  2. What type of options and/or plans and resources does TriDot provide that will meet the wide range, including age, of people in the sport, from beginner to mid-packer to elite?

About TriDot

The beauty and benefit of the TriDot training plan is the utilization of Normalized Training Stress (NTS). We are the only online training platform that offers this feature. NTS simply means that the system quantifies the amount of training stress, environmental conditions, and age for each training session.

For example, if TriDot prescribed a 50-minute run with intervals, it might give a 35-year-old beginner triathlete a warm-up of 10 minutes, drills and strides, and a main set of 3 x 6 minutes at Zone 4 with 1 minute of recovery between each repetition and a cool down. Conversely, for a 65-year-old beginner triathlete, the session might be 45 minutes, with a warm-up of 10 minutes, different drills, fewer strides, and a main set of 3 x 4 minute at Zone 3 with 2 minutes of recovery between each repetition and a cool down.

The differences are based off the NTS that gathers that information to create the workout rather than an athlete guessing or a coach guessing what type of session would be best for each athlete. Furthermore, the personalized workout is based on the data that continuously goes into the TriDot system. The system is continuously adjusting the duration and intensity depending upon data and your recovery. TriDot takes the guesswork out of what type of workout is best for the athlete through the NTS. This prevents injuries while optimizing their fitness.

Environmental Normalization

TriDot also utilizes our Environmental Normalization. This accounts for temperature, humidity, elevation, and terrain to assess the impact on an athlete’s performance. This is invaluable to help prescribe the best session for the athlete and also works in coordination with the NTS.

For example, the run workout just mentioned for a 65-year-old athlete would have different paces and different heart rate zones, due to the Enviromental Normalization and NTS that TriDot provides, if he were at home in Florida or on vacation in Boulder, Colorado. TriDot takes all the guesswork out of what training session is optimal for this athlete.

Experience With Older Athletes

As a TriDot coach, I find athletes who are in the 55 – 80 age range continue to have success with their training plans and IRONMAN races with fewer injuries. For example, I had three male athletes at the recent IRONMAN California event. Each one’s time improved by over an hour from their race the year before and all were training approximately 13 – 16 hours per week.

Additionally, an athlete that I have coached for six years with TriDot will turn 80 years old next year. He has qualified for both the IRONMAN World Championships in Kailua-Kona and the IRONMAN 70.3 World Championships in New Zealand. He trains an average of 10 – 12 hours per week without being injured. His times in all three disciplines are impressive. As his coach, I can also make adjustments to his training sessions when needed. I also work with him on nutrition, goal setting, recovery, and race execution.

Now, About IRONMAN Triathlon Training Hours Per Week At Age 65

Training for a full IRONMAN race on much less than 12 – 14 hours a week, such as 10 – 12 hours a week, is a little bit of a stretch. I suggest training 12 – 14 on most weeks, with every fourth week being a recovery or “unloading” week. A recovery or “unloading” week is when the volume of training and intensity of training is reduced. This gives the athlete’s body a chance to regenerate and recovery.  When this occurs, typically an athlete will find they will be able to generate more power or train at a faster pace in all three disciplines.

Feel free to contact me by email or through the Comments below if you have other questions.

TriDot Resources

The other attraction with utilizing the TriDot platform is the various options we offer for all of our athletes. For the beginner, we have an Essentials option which provides the TriDot platform which is ideal for the beginner to intermediate or budget-conscious triathlete at $29.00 per month. The Complete option provides fully optimized training for the intermediate to competitive triathlete at $99.00 per month.

The next option is the Mark Allen Edition option. This includes fully optimized training for the intermediate to highly competitive triathlete. This option includes various videos and supplemental material from Mark Allen and is priced at $149.00 per month. The fourth option is Premium, which offers fully optimized training with your dedicated coach ranging in price from $249.00 – $399.00 per month.

Other resources that TriDot provides are weekly podcasts that are educational and entertaining. A few months ago, we downloaded our 1,000,000th podcast. Access these free podcasts at https://tridot.com/podcast-index/.

If you have to choose one, please check out Episode 123: Aging Up: Getting Faster as You get Older, in which I am featured.

Moreover, TriDot’s Facebook page has close to 17,000 followers. This is a great community and forum for triathletes and coaches.

“Never Say You Are Too Old”

In summary, I encourage all of you to look further into the benefits of training and racing with TriDot. We are the only online platform that has the NTS and Environmental Normalization which makes adjustment for the age of the athlete as well as environmental conditions where the training or racing is taking place.

An added option is to include a coach. A coach will help you be accountable and will enhance your performance over someone just training on their own. Never say you are too old to achieve your goals and stay healthy. It is much better to say that you are “trusting the process” and getting “faster before going further” and that you have a coach.

About Kurt Madden

Learn more about Coach Kurt Madden at https://seniortriathletes.com/kurt-madden/

Leave Your Questions and Comments Below

Do you have questions about the TriDot training system for Coach Madden? Please leave it below.

Comments: Please note that I review all comments before they are posted. You will be notified by email when your comment is approved. Even if you do not submit a comment, you may subscribe to be notified when a comment is published.

Ask Our Coaches: Breathing During Freestyle Swimming


I would like to freestyle for at least a half mile. However, I have the hardest time maintaining my breathing after about 50m. I end up swimming on my back. What do you recommend?

Linda K.

Our Coaches’ Replies

Coach Kurt Madden


I would recommend you start off at a comfortable pace which is aerobic and what we might refer to as a Zone 2 effort. In other words, not too fast, just comfortable and at an effort that you can maintain for 30+ minutes.

I would also add that you really want to make sure that you are exhaling and getting all of the air out of the lungs so your heart rate does not increase and slow down the accumulation of carbon dioxide in the lungs.

Another strategy would be to breath more often or every stroke rather than every third stroke, which allows you to breathe more often and should also delay any type of fatigue or breathing issue. This would be similar to breathing regularly when you are running as compared to holding your breath while running and breathing every three steps.


Kurt Madden

Email: kurt.madden@tridot.com

Coach Jenn Reinhart

Great answer Kurt!

I would add that if your form is poor & you are struggling to turn your head to get a good breath, you might need to find a lesson or two with a swim coach. Generally someone who is quickly out of breath suffers from one or more of these issues:

  1. Holding their breath between breaths. You need to be blowing bubbles constantly between breaths. 
  2. Body position is not good, making it nearly impossible to get a good breath. 
  3. Not enough shoulder rotation to allow a good breath. 
  4. Not breathing often enough, usually as it is hard to turn their head to get a good breath, so they just don’t breathe!
  5. Poor or inefficient kick such as kicking from the knees and/or over kicking to try to go faster.  

Linda, if you don’t have access to a coach for lessons, many of us can analyze a video of your swim stroke and give direction. TriDot Pool School is super beneficial if there is one in your area. You can see the next few months’ schedule here.

Jenn Reinhart 

Email: jenn.reinhart@tridot.com

Coach Tony Washington

Hi Linda,

This is a challenge for many adult onset swimmers. Good body position is key. Rotating your head to the side to breathe with good shoulder and hip rotation can keep you level in the water without your legs sinking. A relaxed, bent elbow arm recovery in front of the shoulder will help prevent cross over. Underwater, pull with your arm bent, elbows pointing to the side of the pool and fingers straight down until your thumb hits your thigh.

TriDot Pool School has been very successful at improving your form and speed in the water. There are dates and locations available all over the country.

It is also Preseason time at TriDot. Get two months of free training to prepare for the 2024 season.



Email: tony.washington@tridot.com

Register tridotpoolschool.com

TriDot app.tridot.com

Related Senior Triathletes Posts

Learning to Swim for Triathlon–Breathing Correctly

Have a Question For Our Coaches?

Send your question to Our Coaches here.

Individual Competition, Team Effort – Gene Peters’ Story

Triathlon is a competition involving three activities, usually swimming, biking, and running. The three activities, or legs, are most often performed by an individual. However, reaching the finish line of a triathlon requires training and the support of others, including family and friends. This is Gene Peters’ triathlon story.

Gene Peters’ Path to Triathlon

Gene’s introduction to triathlon occurred in the early 1990s, in his late 40s, when his younger brother and his brother-in-law, both in their 30s, were doing triathlon.

“What’s wrong with these guys?” He thought, “This is crazy. These guys have missed their opportunity to be serious competitors in triathlon. Why bother?”

If the window to compete in triathlon had closed for these guys in their 30s, it definitely had closed for Gene, who was nine years older than his brother. That’s what he thought, at least.

While Gene was somewhat active while growing up in central California, he was not athletic. “As a kid, I was shy and not athletic. I was never among the first to be picked when teams were formed.”

However, he had stayed active during college until his late 30s, racing motorcycles off-road and riding ‘centuries’ (100 mile bike rides).

Volunteering at Wildflower Triathlon

A few years later, Gene’s brother asked him and his wife Kitty to help out as volunteers at the Wildflower Triathlon at Lake San Antonio in central California. Gene’s brother was responsible for feeding the race volunteers who came from a local college. He needed help with barbecuing at the end of the race. Since most of this work was done after the race, Gene and his wife were able to get up close to what happened during the race by volunteering at the sole transition area for this triathlon.

While sitting around the campfire later that day, Gene’s brother threw out a challenge. If Gene would compete in next year’s triathlon, his entry would be free.

“Anything my brother offered to participate in with me was perfect. The guy was an absolute joy to be with, He was fun.”

There were two challenges right from the start. The sprint triathlon involved mountain biking and Gene did not have a mountain bike. Second, the only swimming he had done was in group lessons he had taken when six or seven years old and when he water skiied later on. With water skiing, he wore a wetsuit. In other words, he was starting from the point of a near beginner swimmer.

Before the race, Gene developed his swimming first by swimming back and forth in the small round pool managed by the HOA (homeowners association) and later in a local community pool.

First Triathlon – Wildflower Off-Road Sprint

When Gene arrived for his first triathlon, he learned he needed a wetsuit for this race. The only one he had was for jet skiing, which was not appropriate for the triathlon swim. He ended up borrowing a Farmer John wetsuit from his brother-in-law. However, because the suit did not fit well, he said “I would have been better off not wearing a wetsuit”.

“Then on the mountain bike leg, I was chugging along when who should pull up beside me but Paula Newby-Fraser. She said ‘You’re not even breathing hard’.”

After finishing his first triathlon, he and his wife were talking about the race. Gene told Kitty, “You know, I think this could be fun.”

He told her that he would need a wetsuit and a bike. They walked over to the expo where vendors were selling triathlon related items.

After looking at the price tags on the triathlon wetsuits, Gene remembers thinking out loud, “How much use am I really going to get out of a wetsuit? I mean, how many triathlons will I do?”

Knowing something Gene had not yet realized, Kitty said, “Go ahead and get it.” Since then, he has worn out that wetsuit and two or three more wetsuits as he trained and raced in other triathlons, including eight or nine times in the Wildflower half Ironman.

Competing in Olympic and Half Ironman Triathlon

The next year, he went back to the Wildflower event, this time to complete the half Ironman distance. His goal for this race was to finish with a Kona-qualifying time. However, Gene learned how difficult it is to qualify for Kona.

For the next several years, during his late 40s and early 50s, Gene continued to compete in Olympic and half Ironman distance triathlons. He was not giving up on his goal to race in Hawaii.

Gene also realized he was a triathlete, something which had taken him a while to recognize. “For a long time, I thought I was playing, not a real triathlete.”

Related post: My First Triathlon – Is This How George Plimpton Felt? Plimpton was a journalist who competed as an amateur in different professional sporting events. He then wrote about the experience.

1996 – A Milestone Year

In 1996, Gene’s brother invited him and his wife to volunteer with him and his then girlfriend and later wife at the Ironman World Championships in October.

One month before traveling to Hawaii, Gene and his wife moved to Park City, Utah. While going for his first bike ride in his new home state, Gene was hit by a car. In the accident, his back was broken in two places.

Despite being in a back brace, he made the trip to Hawaii. While being stationed at T2 (bike to run transition area), he spent most of his time lying on the grass. However, at one point during the race, still under the influence of pain medication, he got up and walked over to where the bikers were coming in and runners going out, and proclaimed, “I gotta do this!”

He went back the next year, now fully recovered and without the influence of pain medication, to get a better picture of the race.

Related post: In this post Restarting to Bike After a Crash, you will read how Gene and other senior triathletes have recovered from a bike crash to start riding again.

First Ironman Triathlon for Gene Peters

In 2000, Gene completed two full (140.6) Ironman triathlons, including his first in Oceanside, California, near Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, north of San Diego.

Soon after registering for the Oceanside triathlon, Gene’s friend contacted him to let him know the race director had opened 500 more race spots for Ironman Canada in Penticton, British Columbia. Gene and his friend stayed on the registration website overnight in order to secure spots in this race.

Gene qualified for the Ironman World Championships in Kona, Hawaii for the first time in 2004. Sadly, his younger brother, the one who had gotten him into triathlon, passed away in 2003.

All totaled, Gene has completed 35 Ironman triathlons. Included in these are three World Championships in Hawaii. He has already qualified for the 2024 World Championships in Hawaii.

Gene and Mary "Kitty" Peters at the 2017 Ironman 70.3 World Championship in Chattanooga, Tennessee
Gene and Mary “Kitty” Peters at the 2017 Ironman 70.3 World Championship in Chattanooga, Tennessee, USA

A Love for Triathlon Training

Gene ‘loves’ triathlon training and his association with the sport. He told me that it has taught him discipline, self-determination, and confidence.

“While I have always been relatively healthy, I have been in better shape in my 60s and 70s than I was in my 30s.”

Training/Preparing for Ironman Triathlons

Gene’s characterization of his Ironman triathlon training is straightforward: “I follow directions”.

Several years ago, Gene began using the TriDot® system, initially without a coach.

Since February 2017, he has been coached by Kurt Madden, a TriDot coach who is also one of the senior triathletes coaches. Of Kurt, Gene says that he “is excellent at adjusting to what my needs are and what my condition is.”

Kurt is Gene’s second TriDot coach. The first one, selected because Gene and he had graduated from the same college, was about half Gene’s age and focused on Olympic distance triathlon. The relationship lasted one year because of their differences in age and focus.

Before starting the relationship with Kurt, Gene spoke to a lady at TriDot about “needing a coach who could relate to the needs of the older triathlete and what we are going through. You need to have a program that recognizes that older triathletes don’t recover as fast, sometimes, as a person in their 30s.”

Gene attributes the TriDot system for impressive race results. “In the last ten years, I have podiumed in 100% of my races.”

Gene Peters’ Advice

Earlier in his racing career, Gene did triathlons and ran marathons. Today, however, he focuses on triathlon.

“I learned unless I warmed up with a nice long swim and bike, I pushed too hard on the run. I would hurt myself.

“Now, I do only half marathons. I stopped doing full marathons except as part of a full Ironman.”

Stay Consistent

Gene echoed what many have told me to be a key to success with triathlon – consistent training. Gene has thought about the time he has spent training for an Ironman triathlon, acknowledging it is not for everyone.

Operating his own accounting business enabled him to train consistently. On top of this, Gene had not only the support, but encouragement, of his wife to continue training and racing.

Tribute to Mary C. “Kitty” Peters

In October 2022, with 55 years of marriage to Gene, Kitty passed away. Gene was by her side.

Before she passed away, Kitty would help keep Gene stay on track, knowing how important and valuable the training was to him. She was known for telling her friends how proud she was of her husband.

Kitty also willingly volunteered at many triathlons, being known for the smile with which she greeted finishers. According to Gene, she volunteered at more Ironman races than he had done. As a registered nurse, she often provided medical help at triathlons.

In reflecting on our conversation, it is doubtful that Gene would have accomplished what he has throughout his triathlon career had he not had her never-ending support. She is and always will be missed.

Who’s Behind Your Triathlon Accomplishments?

Who do you credit for your triathlon achievements? In what way(s) have they supported you?

Give them the recognition they deserve in the Comments below.

Comments: Please note that I review all comments before they are posted. You will be notified by email when your comment is approved. Even if you do not submit a comment, you may subscribe to be notified when a comment is published.

Ask Our Coaches: Tapering for a Half Ironman


I have a 1/2 IM in early November and am not sure how much and how soon to taper. I am 67 and figure that the usual tapering routine might not be ideal for someone my age? Any suggestions? Bobby D.

Our Coaches’ Replies

Coach Kurt Madden


Good morning from San Diego!

Tapers can be tricky and it really depends upon the following:

  1. What is a typical taper you have used in the past to optimize your results for a ½ marathon?
  2. Have you tapered for any other races this year?
  3. Do you have any injuries?
  4. Have you put in a block of training consistently for say 12 – 16 weeks?
  5. Is this your “A” race or “B” race?

Generally speaking, most people your age, will go with a 10-day taper which means their longest run is 3 weeks before at say, 2:20. Two weeks before, the long run is reduced to 1:45, and a week before the race, the long run is 1:10.  This is also assuming that you are running four times a week with a faster session of say 50 – 1:10 at a Zone 4 or getting anaerobic, two recovery sessions, and a long run.

Hopefully, this information is helpful and you might consider looking at RunDot to get in on a free trial:



Kurt Madden

Email: kurt.madden@tridot.com

Coach Tony Washington

Hi Bobby,

I’ll echo Coach Kurt’s response. What have you used in the past? I’ve found with good consistent training, my folks need a shorter taper. We want to be prime to race. Not too flat, but fresh and ready to roll. I recommend some short, sharper intervals around race pace to build some race day muscle memory.  

Good luck in your race. Kurt or I will be glad to help you ready and provide a race pacing plan.




Email: tony.washington@tridot.com

Have a Question For Our Coaches?

Send your question to Our Coaches here.


Enjoy this post? Please spread the word :)