Your First Triathlon In Your Fifties? A List Of Eleven Training Tips From FitOldDog And Should He Buy An AeroWalker?

First in the world with an AAA stent graft, at age 67 (or was it 68, I can't remember, and where are my reading glasses and walker?).

First in the world with an AAA stent graft, at age 67 (or was it 68, I can’t remember, and where are my reading glasses and walker?). Click for link to video.

Hi folks, welcome to my cogitations! Got to love triathlon!

Johanna Quaas, 86-year old gymnast,

Look up “awesome” in the dictionary, and you’ll probably find a picture of 86-year-old gymnast Johanna Quaas. I like Sharran a lot too -> Click image for video.

I guess I’ve completed a bunch of triathlons now, including six Ironman distance races, and every time I meet those (can I say middle-aged?) guys struggling to finish their first Ironman, I think, “If only they hadn’t done (or had done) such and such, and they’d be feeling a whole lot better,” so I thought I’d hand out a little gratuitous advice in the form of 11 (I love prime numbers) Ironman training tips for the 50+ guys, whether they want it or not.

Here is my advice to aspiring 50+ Ironman triathletes (guys!), in order of my perceived importance today, including a link to a relevant blog post for each.

Left cup is a control, and the right one is completely 'prolapsed (turned inside out) but you can see stress lines at the junction of the base with the side. Took me about 10 minutes!

Left cup is a control, and the right one was turned inside out, very carefully by FitOldDog. Needed three attempts (knee surgery #1 and #2?), the last took about 10 minutes! Remember, you’re the cup. Photo by FitOldDog

#1 To quote my son, Nigel, “Dad, a full Ironman is as hard as three (3) half-ironman distance races in one day,” – beware! I strongly recommend that you complete the Joe Friel Styrofoam Cup exercise before you start training. Blog Link.

#2 Nutrition, hydration and electrolyte balance are more important than physical conditioning, even though physical conditioning is critical, but these variables interact. Blog link.

#3 Find a skilled coach appropriate to your age and experience, and remember that you’ll need more recovery time than a younger athlete – be sure your coach understands this. Blog link.

FitOldDog's Ironman Coach, AIMP Ironman Coaching, Chris Hauth,

FitOldDog’s great Ironman Coach, Chris Hauth, of AIMP Ironman Coaching. I used to irritate the shit out of him – I didn’t want to win hard enough, but boy, he taught me a bunch.

#4 When racing, set your ego aside and remember that a DNF (did not finish) is better than ending up in the hospital, or worse. Blog link.

#5 It’s your dream, so live your dream, in spite of 1-4 above, but live it wisely by thinking it through. Blog link.

#6 Train as you intend to race, including bike wheels and nutrition. Blog link.

#7 If it is going to be hot, carry plenty of electrolytes (I use Endurolytes), and take them before problems (quad cramps, nausea) raise their ugly heads. Blog link.

#8 Running off of a 112-mile bike ride is not the same as just running, so practice this during training. As you come out of transition try to actually run, because plodding will beat you up, and remember to say, “Shut up legs!Blog link.

FitOldDog with his Guru

My Guru, built by Victor of Bicycle Lab, fits like a glove. Photo by Sue.

#9 Your level of comfort in the swim will depend upon your level of conditioning. Don’t waste too much time with technique when you are poorly conditioned. Put in the yardage, then focus on skill. You will also benefit from practicing swimming in busy traffic, including head up drills, and never ever panic. Ever!!!!! Oh! Yes! And check out Mr. Smooth. Blog link.

#10 Make sure your bike really fits, or the run will be hell and the bike ride won’t be much fun, either. Blog link.

#11 Reward yourself AND your family and friends (or other supporters) for a job well done. You can do this by, (a) training as much as possible at times that do not disrupt family life, (b) being completely present when with the family (thank you Lao-tzu), and (c) racing in places that are fun for them. Blog link.

That’s what turned up in my mind as I thought about it. There are plenty of others, and I’m working on that.

Enjoy! It is a great feeling when Mike says, “You are an Ironman!” Wouldn’t have missed it for the World.

-k @FitOldDog



  1. Nicholas Hardy says

    Gidday from Oz.
    I finished my last Ironman Australia in 2015, which was my 8th IMA and my 9th overall.
    I just turned 58 and I need a Purpose away from work, and my memories of Ironman always pick me up. Great challenge, great folks in training and on the day, and great physical benefit for me.
    I want to get to 10 x IMA and I just found your ‘fitolddog’ wisdom.
    So, here goes…..

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Disclaimer: As a veterinarian, I do not provide medical advice for human animals. If you undertake or modify an exercise program, consult your medical advisors before doing so. Undertaking activities pursued by the author does not mean that he endorses your undertaking such activities, which is clearly your decision and responsibility. Be careful and sensible, please.