How To Make Triathlon Training Senior-Specific

Triathletes over age 50 struggle to find senior specific triathlon training plans. This is the major reason for partnering with Our Coaches, each who are also senior triathletes.

The genesis of this post and my conversation with Senior Triathletes coach Kurt Madden was a question from one of our readers. Linda, a new female triathlete over age 60 wrote:

“How do you change a triathlon training program that is meant for everyone, to one that works for a female over 60?”

The Senior Triathletes’ Challenge – Finding An Age-Specific Training Program

Looking back over my time in triathlon, I appreciate the challenge of finding the right training plan. What part of a training plan found in a book or online is appropriate for an older athlete, or specifically for me? Or for us as we age from 50 to 60 and beyond?

This is especially true when the mainstream endurance sports writers consider a man or woman age 40 to be an ‘older athlete’.

As you will hear, Kurt knows firsthand how the needs of a truly older athlete differ from their younger self. In this conversation, he gives us principles to use in adapting generic training information and hints for preventing injury and maintaining an active life for the long term.

Stress plus rest equals growth.

Kurt Madden, “Over 60” triathlete coach and athlete

Coach Kurt Madden’s Advice on Making Triathlon Training Specific to the Older Endurance Athlete

Recording of my conversation with triathlon coach and senior triathlete Kurt Madden about how to adapt general training plans for athletes over age 60.

Milestones in our Conversation

If you don’t have time to listen to the entire conversation now, you can download it for later listening. You can also jump to a specific point within the conversation.

  • 1:02 – Kurt’s answer to Linda’s question begins with three principles for adapting general training and exercise programs.
  • 3:58 – What to look for in generic training and exercise plans.
  • 7:22 – Best ways for those over 60 to prevent injury when training.
  • 10:51 – Nutrition: How to – and how not to – fuel your body during a training program.
  • 15:09 – Alternatives to trial and error in adapting general training plans.
  • 20:29 – How to develop a consistent, sustainable exercise program.
  • 27:17 – Kurt’s tribute to three senior triathletes from age 78 to 92.

Related Links

Atomic Habits – Kurt mentioned this book, one I had previously reviewed from the perspective of a triathlete. – This page shows the training plan options mentioned by Kurt Madden in the recording.

It’s Time for Your Questions and Comments

What questions do you have for Kurt?

Of Kurt’s advice, what did you find most interesting or thought provoking?

Based on his comments, how will your approach to generic training and exercise programs change?

Post your comments below. You may also contact Kurt Madden directly using the email address on his profile page.

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.

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Terry —I think what you are doing is admirable and listening to Kurt he hit many great points for seniors —the challenge is that he is only 68 and the deterioration in performance seems to only go down significantly when 70 to 75 — so until he gets to that age it is hard to translate the feelings and what type of training program is the right one —everyone over 70 should be defined as triathletes as long as they are doing three physical activities —few can do a half or full Ironman as they have grown up in a generation where strength and nutrition were not really touted as being that important so education is now even more critical so then the cardiovascular is more fun.—Happy to chat anytime as at 75 I am still competing at a level that my times still make the podium in the 70 to 75 category.—I race sparingly but love the overall training as striving for the very best last quarter of my life. —JIM

Jim – Thank you for your kind words and for your comment. You are doing well to remain active at the high level required by our sport.

I have made Kurt aware of your comment and expect him to reply. In the meantime, I will email you to arrange a time for us to chat.