Hi Garret! Glad to see you here! I skimmed Joe Friel’s book Fast after 50 (I gave it to Ted for his 50th birthday). What I took away from that, and that blog post, was:
- The ability to recover from a training load decreases with age. I’m guessing that’s particularly true in absolute terms for stronger athletes. A recreational rower might train 250 hours per year, collegiate-level 500 hours per year, international might see 800-1,200 hours of training volume (figures from Nolte, Rowing Faster). An elite rower in his 60s would be less likely to be able to handle 1,000 hours per year.
- A couple of decades of endurance training probably put into place most or all of the structural changes (capillary density, tendon & ligament strength) that the athlete is going to see, although maintaining those with appropriate stimulus remains important. High intensity work will have more impact on functional changes (enzymes, mitochondria) that will result in high force production / speed.
So, combining those two: if you had been training 10 hours per week, you might allocate 5% or 30 minutes per week to high intensity on average. My interpretation of Friel’s advice: first, don’t get lazy and stop doing the 30 minutes of high intensity work. Second, if you have to drop volume down to 8 hours per week, keep the 30 minutes of intensity. The percentage obviously increases. But I don’t think he’s arguing for a substantial increase in absolute volume of high intensity (unless you didn’t maintain that 30 minute allocation).