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Long, long ago, back when I turned 40, I remember gleefully rubbing my hands together and thinking, “Ha, now I’ll really be able to scoop up some trophies in bicycle racing as I’ll be one of the youngest competitors in the Masters class!” I almost felt guilty about it, in fact. Almost.

Little did I know.

When I got dropped in my first Master race by a pack of guys at least a decade older than me, I quickly realized that the age category was a distilled-down group of ace riders. As anyone who has raced, run, or competed in the more — shall we say — rarefied age levels of sports soon realizes, those people still competing in their 40s, 50s, and beyond tend to be the truly dedicated ones. And they’re often still at the top of their game.

Joe Friel is wise to all this. He’s now in his 70s, and still training, competing, and coaching. He’s the author of the famous Training Bible series, and has just authored a new book for all of us, Fast After 50: How to Race Strong for the Rest of Your Life (VeloPress).

This book is targeted at endurance athletes who want to stay fast for years to come — runners, cyclists, triathletes, swimmers, cross-country skiers, and any others. Age is just a number, Friel writes, and race results are the only numbers that truly count.

Friel presents guidelines for high-intensity interval workouts (HIIT), strength training, cross-training, nutrition for performance, and the all-important rest and recovery. He details how your body’s response to training changes with age, giving incisive recommendations for adapting your training plan — and avoiding body-stressing overtraining.

While this book is about competition, the insights here are not limited to just athletes. There’s fundamental health information here for anyone who’s aging, offering smart preventive advice for getting older with a smile on your face.

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