Age related decline

General discussion on Training. How to get better on your erg, how to use your erg to get better at another sport, or anything else about improving your abilities.
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Mark E
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Re: Age related decline

Post by Mark E » December 2nd, 2019, 6:11 pm

The degree of acceptable or "normal" degree of age-related decline has been a tricky one for me to figure out. Decades ago I rowed four years in college with a nationally competitive program, then rowed a few more years in my early 20s with a very good club program. I was in a lightweight 4 that saw every rower in the boat (other than me) eventually earn a national team seat. I wasn't as strong as the top guys on the erg but as a lightweight I pulled in the high 6:20s to very low 6:30s every time we tested 2K.

By age 25 I decided that I was done -- I couldn't really fathom why the "old guys" in their 30s, 40s and later in life would keep rowing when they were obviously just slowing down.

Ran a lot in my 30s, raced bikes on- and off-road, did many triathlons. I wasn't great but I could usually run a road 10K in the 38-39 minute range even without a taper. By my mid- to late 40s a 40-minute 10K was out of range ... plus my left hip kept getting inflamed. Diagnosis was arthritis and a hip replacement was recommended. My last marathon at age 49 was painful and pretty slow (3:35).

At 50 I decided to give rowing another shot. No impact seemed like a good fit for my hip issue. Since returning to the sport I have loved being out on the water and feel very lucky to be rowing with a solid club program alongside other competitive-minded masters rowers that know what they're doing on the water.

I like off-water training, including erging, but I'm shocked at how hard it is to get anywhere near the erg times that used to seem routine. I don't expect to hit 6:30 again, but even a 7:00 2K looks dauntingly fast. One of the obstacles is that I'm now living at altitude in Colorado, so power is a bit reduced (a few seconds slower per 500 meters than at sea level) but I think the age-related decline is a far bigger challenge to overcome.

So what's an acceptable amount of decline? A 6:30 2K requires a 500 meter split of 1:37.5, which equates to 377.6 watts. A 10-percent reduction in watts would yield about 340 watts or a 1:41 split. Still way too fast for me! Maybe factor in another 10 percent reduction for a bit more aging, and the altitude? Call it 300 watts, which gives a 1:45 split. That would get me to the 7:00 time goal. Seems much more doable, but still a mighty challenging goal.

Nobody in my program wants to row lightweight, so I've given up on maintaining that and have now plumped up to 175-180 (at 6 feet I was always on the big side for LWT). So I've got that going for me now.

This is all very longwinded, I realize, but I find it quite informative to pick up on other poster's experiences on this forum. I'd love to hear from anyone else that has taken a long break from rowing and can make comparisons to his/her younger self. I appreciate the comments that have already been shared on this thread.
6 feet, 180 lbs. 52 years old, 2K PR 6:27 (forever ago) 7:25 (modern day, at altitude)

Cyclingman1
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Re: Age related decline

Post by Cyclingman1 » December 3rd, 2019, 2:04 pm

In the first place, while age 52 may seem like you are in decline, it really is fairly minimal. Drop off in performance before 50 is mostly due lack of intense training, or no training at all. Although, I acknowledge some decline starting around 40. Keep in mind the Olympic marathon has been won by a 38 yr old against the best in the world. Starting again rowing at 50, and having done 6:27, 7:00 is most definitely in play. It really just comes down to the right kind of training. I just had a yr long break from erging at all after several serious medical issues and have managed to get back to 7:13. Also, shooting for 7:00. A lot tougher at age 73 than at age 52. Stay positive. JimG
JimG, Gainesville, Ga, 74, 76", 195lb. PBs:
66-69: .5,1,2,5,6,10K: 1:30.8 3:14.1 6:40.7 17:34.0 21:18.1 36:21.7 30;60;HM: 8337 16237 1:20:25
70-74: .5,1,2,5,6,10K: 1:33.3 3:19.5 6:58.1 17:55.3 21:32.6 36:41.9 30;60;HM: 8214 15353 1:23:02.5

adccl8z
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Re: Age related decline

Post by adccl8z » December 3rd, 2019, 2:37 pm

Cyclingman1 wrote:
December 3rd, 2019, 2:04 pm
In the first place, while age 52 may seem like you are in decline, it really is fairly minimal.
.
.
.
Stay positive. JimG
Thanks Jim!

Interestingly, I finally broke through 3400 again earlier this week, simply by going very slightly easier (about + 2secs split) for the first couple of intervals.
Pacing is everything :)
52 in Jan '20. LWT. 6'3''. Best 2k 6:58 (2003) Best 5k 18:39 (2003). Last regatta: 2004. Surrey, UK

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Eric308
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Re: Age related decline

Post by Eric308 » December 3rd, 2019, 5:23 pm

Let it be known that JimG aka Cyclingman1 has the fastest time 2k heavyweight time of anybody on the board in his age group...that's worldwide, at 7:13 something. Amazing to say the least. :o

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hjs
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Re: Age related decline

Post by hjs » December 4th, 2019, 5:11 am

Cyclingman1 wrote:
December 3rd, 2019, 2:04 pm
In the first place, while age 52 may seem like you are in decline, it really is fairly minimal. Drop off in performance before 50 is mostly due lack of intense training, or no training at all. Although, I acknowledge some decline starting around 40. Keep in mind the Olympic marathon has been won by a 38 yr old against the best in the world. Starting again rowing at 50, and having done 6:27, 7:00 is most definitely in play. It really just comes down to the right kind of training. I just had a yr long break from erging at all after several serious medical issues and have managed to get back to 7:13. Also, shooting for 7:00. A lot tougher at age 73 than at age 52. Stay positive. JimG
Although l tend to agree, decline is not the same for everyone. In general most 50 years old have lost lots, but that for the biggest part due to inactivity.

For myself, being also 52, the biggest factor is injurees, combined with slower recovery. That said, half a minute decline sounds like a lot. But again, depending on lots, how close your pb was to your absolute limit matters a lot. For most, we don,t know how fast we could have been, so how much we really slowed down is simply unknown.

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Re: Age related decline

Post by Cyclingman1 » December 4th, 2019, 7:08 am

Henry, recovering from injuries and illness are the big unknowns. Sometimes they linger forever. Also, I like the true PB argument. If one is partially trained in their 40s, then a new PB can be established later - maybe even in 60s - with dedicated training. I do contend that true PBs in each subsequent decade will definitely be less and less. The WR tables show that conclusively. It's nice to think that one can escape the ravages of time, but it will never happen.

Focusing on what was, is probably a losing a proposition. A lot of us seem to be unable to give up on numbers as they fade away, like 6:58. Maybe 7:13 is the new me. :) BTW, a new man is on top 2K, +70 HWt standings as of 12/3: 7:10.
JimG, Gainesville, Ga, 74, 76", 195lb. PBs:
66-69: .5,1,2,5,6,10K: 1:30.8 3:14.1 6:40.7 17:34.0 21:18.1 36:21.7 30;60;HM: 8337 16237 1:20:25
70-74: .5,1,2,5,6,10K: 1:33.3 3:19.5 6:58.1 17:55.3 21:32.6 36:41.9 30;60;HM: 8214 15353 1:23:02.5

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max_ratcliffe
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Re: Age related decline

Post by max_ratcliffe » December 6th, 2019, 6:52 pm

Cyclingman1 wrote:
December 4th, 2019, 7:08 am
Henry, recovering from injuries and illness are the big unknowns. Sometimes they linger forever. Also, I like the true PB argument. If one is partially trained in their 40s, then a new PB can be established later - maybe even in 60s - with dedicated training. I do contend that true PBs in each subsequent decade will definitely be less and less. The WR tables show that conclusively. It's nice to think that one can escape the ravages of time, but it will never happen.

Focusing on what was, is probably a losing a proposition. A lot of us seem to be unable to give up on numbers as they fade away, like 6:58. Maybe 7:13 is the new me. :) BTW, a new man is on top 2K, +70 HWt standings as of 12/3: 7:10.
Always in awe of the times you pull, Jim.

It's important to (try to) ignore the age on the clock as far as possible IMO. Most of us 40-somethings decline because we've stopped training (work, family, indolence, whatever), and aging has little to do with it.

James Tomkins rowed at the Beijing Olympics at 44, James Cracknell was in the boat race this year at 46 and Andy Ripley nearly made it in his 50s. Graham Dawe apparently played professional rugby when 50! Obviously as you and Henry say, injuries are the big unknown, so I wouldn't recommend picking up a rugby ball, but most people have little excuse to be in the shape they're in.

The new top of the rankings is a Steve Rogers. Isn't that Captain America?!? His time at least is bona fide and verified, but being injected with super soldier serum would appear to be unfair. :wink:
49yo, 82kg
PBs (2019-2020): 1k=3:29.4; 2k=7:34.7; 5k=19:44; 6k=23:39; 30'=7534m; 10k=40.28; 60'=14621m; HM=1:28.22

2020 goals:
1k - sub 3:30; 30' > 7500m; 60' > 14600m; HM sub 1:29.00
2k - sub 7:15; 5k - sub 19:20; 10k - sub 40:00;

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Eric308
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Re: Age related decline

Post by Eric308 » December 6th, 2019, 7:26 pm

Then there is Andrew Benko...I met him a couple of years ago here in WI.
https://www.facebook.com/watch/?v=10160206132750651

Edward4492
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Re: Age related decline

Post by Edward4492 » December 6th, 2019, 10:15 pm

Since we're dropping names I was in the same heat with Mike Smith at Center City slam two years ago when he smashed the 55+ LWT WR with a 6:29. Mike also wins damn near everything OTW.

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Re: Age related decline

Post by Cyclingman1 » December 7th, 2019, 12:05 pm

Eric308 wrote:
December 6th, 2019, 7:26 pm
Then there is Andrew Benko..
That guy is doing what he did ten yrs ago. We'll see how he does thru his 50s.

Ed, I think Brian Bailey's 60+ LWt WR will be broken by Mike Smith. Bailey's 6:42.5 was set in 2007.

I think the age decline topic is fascinating. It is interesting to speculate how those at the top will do as they age. Are WR's in jeopardy. I know that last yr Tom Darling broke Paul Hendershott's 15 yr old record for 60+ HWt. It looks like he is a lock for the 65+ HWt record in five yrs. Perhaps Steve Krum will get there first this yr. I have noticed that a lot of high flyers can come back to earth rather suddenly. Of course, that could be due to a lot of uncontrolled reasons.
max_ratcliffe wrote:
December 6th, 2019, 6:52 pm
The new top of the rankings is a Steve Rogers. Isn't that Captain America?!? His time at least is bona fide and verified, but being injected with super soldier serum would appear to be unfair.
Man, I'm trying to get there. Maybe I need some of that PED stuff everyone talks about. Actually I wouldn't know where to start. Henry mentions recovery as a factor when getting older. On the other side of that coin is that for me, hard efforts take a lot out of me. Just eight yrs ago I could bang out 2Ks pretty frequently. Not now. I'm waiting for that high energy day to get below Capt America.
JimG, Gainesville, Ga, 74, 76", 195lb. PBs:
66-69: .5,1,2,5,6,10K: 1:30.8 3:14.1 6:40.7 17:34.0 21:18.1 36:21.7 30;60;HM: 8337 16237 1:20:25
70-74: .5,1,2,5,6,10K: 1:33.3 3:19.5 6:58.1 17:55.3 21:32.6 36:41.9 30;60;HM: 8214 15353 1:23:02.5

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NavigationHazard
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Re: Age related decline

Post by NavigationHazard » December 7th, 2019, 4:07 pm

Both Richard Cheeseman (Le Grand Fromage on the Forum) and I might have something to say about the 65-69 MHW record as well, before Tom Darling ages up. And Chris Ives is lurking in the 60s not too far behind Tom....
64 MH 6' 6"

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Re: Age related decline

Post by ccooper » December 7th, 2019, 6:11 pm

Cyclingman1 wrote:
December 7th, 2019, 12:05 pm
I have noticed that a lot of high flyers can come back to earth rather suddenly. Of course, that could be due to a lot of uncontrolled reasons.
I resemble that statement. After injuries, illness, and lack of motivation, I'm far from my 65+ WR at this point. Having held it for 3 years, I have no doubt that it will soon fall to one of the youngsters. Although I have my eye on the 70+ record, it will be a challenge to get there. A lot of progress can be made in 2 years, though, so feeling the motivation is the key issue at the moment. Recovering from knee surgery now, I find that I like Zwifting on my indoor bike a lot better than looking at that PM5 monitor.
--
Chris Cooper M65-69 Hwt 2km world record 6:39.5 in 2017 (since surpassed)

Cyclingman1
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Re: Age related decline

Post by Cyclingman1 » December 7th, 2019, 7:51 pm

One thing for sure that I have to relearn constantly, is that more rowers lurk on this site than one would think. I need to be careful. :)

Johnathan, no doubt you are a leading candidate with Steve Krum to get to sub-6:39. I see another name John Irvine also. But you all need to watch for Darling. Remember he got Paul Hendershott. No one else has gotten close. Personally, I think TJO could hold all of the records had he been so inclined.

Chris, I know the feeling of times and records slipping away. In the fall of 2017, I was positive that I was going to get the 70+ WR. Just before I had a run of terrible injuries. Took me 10 months to get to row for 5 mins really slow. If I ever break 7min again, that will be a victory for me. Hope you get the 6:52.
JimG, Gainesville, Ga, 74, 76", 195lb. PBs:
66-69: .5,1,2,5,6,10K: 1:30.8 3:14.1 6:40.7 17:34.0 21:18.1 36:21.7 30;60;HM: 8337 16237 1:20:25
70-74: .5,1,2,5,6,10K: 1:33.3 3:19.5 6:58.1 17:55.3 21:32.6 36:41.9 30;60;HM: 8214 15353 1:23:02.5

nick rockliff
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Re: Age related decline

Post by nick rockliff » December 8th, 2019, 10:09 am

NavigationHazard wrote:
December 7th, 2019, 4:07 pm
Both Richard Cheeseman (Le Grand Fromage on the Forum) and I might have something to say about the 65-69 MHW record as well, before Tom Darling ages up. And Chris Ives is lurking in the 60s not too far behind Tom....
I may join the party if I can muster up the enthusiasm for another go at a 2K time.
63 6' 4" 103kg
PBs 2k 6:16.4 5k 16:37.5 10k 34:35.5 30m 8727 60m 17059 HM 74:25.9 FM 2:43:48.8
50s PBs 2k 6.24.3 5k 16.55.4 6k 20.34.2 10k 35.19.0 30m 8633 60m 16685 HM 76.48.7
60s PBs 5k 17.51.2 10k 36.53.3 30m 8263 60m 16025 HM 79.58.5

Cyclingman1
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Re: Age related decline

Post by Cyclingman1 » December 8th, 2019, 11:57 am

nick rockliff wrote:
December 8th, 2019, 10:09 am
I may join the party if I can muster up the enthusiasm for another go at a 2K time.
What's the current 2K data? 6:24 @ age 54 and 6:39 @ age 65 looks like a tall task. Krum & Bone are in mid-6:30s just a yr or two short of 65. Like I say, I find it interesting to track all of this.
JimG, Gainesville, Ga, 74, 76", 195lb. PBs:
66-69: .5,1,2,5,6,10K: 1:30.8 3:14.1 6:40.7 17:34.0 21:18.1 36:21.7 30;60;HM: 8337 16237 1:20:25
70-74: .5,1,2,5,6,10K: 1:33.3 3:19.5 6:58.1 17:55.3 21:32.6 36:41.9 30;60;HM: 8214 15353 1:23:02.5

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