Viewing 40 posts - 1 through 40 (of 96 total)
  • Life begins at 40?
  • Premier Icon stcolin
    Free Member

    Sorry, this is going to be a depressing read, literally. I’m finding things really tough at the moment, for various reasons. One of them is turning 40 later this year. I’ve never been bothered by birthday milestones until now. It’s brought into focus as my knee injury has flared up again and my riding has dropped off again. Not that it was going well before. I really wish I’d done more when I was younger to stay fit and stronger and ride a lot more. I can get away with walking, and an easy ride without much tough climbing. I’m in the worst shape I’ve ever been in. It is possible to turn this around and get fitter than ever? My natural fitness level is probably very average so it does take me a while to build back up.

    Apart from that, my job is crap due to not having much going on. I work in technical sales, and well, as I’m sure many of you know, it’s tough delivering things right now. My days are spent looking out the window wondering if I should be doing something else. But, with GCSE’s only and 20 years experience in this specific job only, I’m pretty much stuck here now.

    There’s other stuff too, but I wont go into it. My anxiety is really bad at the minute. It’s sunny outside, I should have got up early and done something productive. Anyway, it’s all a bit overwhelming and I have no clue what to do about it as per usual.

    Happy Monday.

    Premier Icon thegeneralist
    Full Member

    Yes, definitely you can turn it round. I never trained really for any sports and was pretty rubbish at all of them. Weirdly enough in my early 40s I put in a bit of effort ( after getting binned from work !) and achieved a hitherto undreamed of level of mediocre competence. Don’t get me wrong, I was still mince, but not as mince as I was before. I did the WHW, 100 rock climbs, 300 mile Road ride, Cuilin Ridge and various other ( completely pointless but fun) In a Day challenges.

    Like you I slightly regretted not doing this stuff when I was younger, but set that aside and just enjoyed the here and now. Did it late, but at least did it.

    So get on with it. 🙂

    Because when you’re fifty things really go downhill. I’m currently knackered, unfit and have no realistic prospect of it getting better. I dragged myself out fir a few rides this month and got completely knackered. I think my Mtb Everest ain’t never going to happen 🙂

    But the main thing to remember is that there’s only one thing worse than getting old…

    Premier Icon footflaps
    Full Member

    I’m in the worst shape I’ve ever been in. It is possible to turn this around and get fitter than ever? My natural fitness level is probably very average so it does take me a while to build back up.

    Absolutely!

    It just won’t happen overnight. You need to try and make small lifestyle changes which make it easier for you to increase exercise and accept that miracles don’t happen over night and you take longer to recover as you get older. If it’s any conciliation, most of the super fit cyclists I know are all over 50, some over 60 and they’re still banging out 300 Watts for hours on end.

    There’s other stuff too, but I wont go into it. My anxiety is really bad at the minute. It’s sunny outside, I should have got up early and done something productive. Anyway, it’s all a bit overwhelming and I have no clue what to do about it as per usual.

    Pretty normal. Try not to focus on the overall picture (too overwhelming) and just focus on the next step you’re going to take, eg going for a walk, short ride, gym etc. A 100 mile journey consists of many individual steps, so just focus on the next step as that’s all that is necessary to move forward….

    Premier Icon intheborders
    Free Member

    Yep, probably does 🙂

    FWIW I didn’t ride a bike from the day I got a moped (at 16) to my 40th birthday when I bought a basic MTB HT. Now, nearly 20 years later I’m fitter than I’ve ever been, regularly doing the monthly Strava climbing challange (+9,000m already this month) and riding road, gravel, XC and enduro 2-3 times per week.

    And from a work perspective, been laid off a couple of times since 40 too (to add into the 4 times before…).

    Life, it’s not a dress rehearsal, this is it.

    Premier Icon sharkattack
    Free Member

    I could have written that.

    I turned 40 last month. I’m in the worst shape I’ve ever been in and also carrying niggling old injuries. We had a baby a year ago and it’s absolutely wiped me out. I finally caught Covid this year and also glandular fever which is as painful as tonsillitis but doesn’t bloody go away. I’m absolutely shattered every day and I walk around like a zombie feeling guilty for not going out and making the most of nice weather and light nights.

    Also stuck in a safe but boring job. Spend all day watching other people have fun on YouTube.

    I’ve been obsessed with bikes and riding my whole life but after our last Alps trip I dropped everything and can’t get back into it.

    Also nursery now takes about 90% of our disposable income so we’ve got nothing to look forward to in terms of holidays or anything.

    Nothing to do but suck it up is there? Only 3 decades to go until retirement.

    Happy Monday everyone!

    Premier Icon scotroutes
    Full Member

    Fitness: absolutely you can turn it around. I became much fitter after reaching 50 than I’d ever been. Now I’m in my 60s I’m finding it a lot harder though.

    Anxiety: in my experience it has got worse as I’ve got older but that could be related to events in my life rather than age alone.

    In general, it sounds like that loop where you can’t ride to your expectation so you don’t ride. It takes a bit of discipline to get out regardless and a bit of acceptance that it’ll take a wee while to build it up. In the meantime, go out, ride, walk, whatever and just enjoy it for what it is. The fitness will start to come back. Also, consider going out with other folk. This can be tough when you’ve anxiety as you feel you’ll let them down or hold them back but the commitment means you’re less likely to just let it pass by.

    Premier Icon willard
    Full Member

    @stcolin Hang in there.

    Fitness is possible near or after 40, but it really depends on what you want to do and how much time you are prepared to put into it. I did my first triathlon after 40, first half marathons after 40, first skydives after 40, osv, osv, but it took time, effort and a lot of training.

    Job-wise, I get what you are saying. Is there any chance of getting some training or experience in your company but outside your direct role? That might fill up some time _and_ make you a more valuable person to your company.

    Premier Icon reeksy
    Free Member

    My top tip is to plan to ride early on a Monday morning before work if possible. I find it means I never dread the coming week even if work is going through a dull or difficult patch. Repeat on Wednesday and Friday if possible so you have something to look forward to.

    Premier Icon intheborders
    Free Member

    Because when you’re fifty things really go downhill.

    Nah.

    Premier Icon Blackflag
    Free Member

    Of course its possible to turn it round. Its actually quite easy, just start small and regular and then build on it. It will also help with your mental health bucketloads too.

    Just think of Geoffrey Boycott and “get right out of the bed”

    Crack on and good luck.

    Premier Icon monkeyboyjc
    Full Member

    ‘life begins at 40’

    This may or may not help the op but…. I find that most people that say this had kids in thier mid/early 20’s and now can start to take time and care of themselves, spend quality time with partner etc. rather than look after a child/children 24/7.

    But, with GCSE’s only and 20 years experience in this specific job only, I’m pretty much stuck here now.

    With finding a new job when your over 30, qualifications are largely irrelevant (unless the job has a  100% requirement, go/architecture etc) experience is everything. Adverts for jobs that say xyz are ‘required’ are generally just bs, anyone can apply.

    Again this will depend on your specific situation, dependants/mortgage etc but definitely find another job, one that you enjoy and are enguaged in.

    In typical STW story mode I quit a well paid management job in my mid thirties, went self employed with my own business and haven’t looked back. It’s been F’n hard at times but now, a few years on, it’s got it’s rewards.

    Premier Icon stcolin
    Free Member

    Thanks for the replies. @sharkattack sorry to hear you are in a similar position to me. I had glandular fever when I was in my 20’s, was a rough few weeks.

    I’d quite like to get back to racing, although I only started that in my early 30’s. I’d also like to do some endurance type events. I have a few random targets in my head that I’d like to do, like 100 mile bike ride, the Fred Whitton or similar, and as above endurance MTB stuff. I am going round in circles with my injury. A few years ago it was my slipped discs, now that is manageable my knee has been giving me issues with no resolution to it. Comes and goes, changes every day.

    There is a more deepful thought to all this too, can I still live a great life after 40? Everything I am interested in can be looked at as a young persons game, MTB’ing, running, motorcycling etc.

    Interesting point on gaining extra experience, maybe it is something to look at. And could help with a career change.

    Premier Icon stwhannah
    Full Member

    @stcolin Perhaps you should talk to someone to help find the energy needed to start making the changes you want? As I mentioned in last week’s newsletter, you can self refer: https://www.nhs.uk/service-search/mental-health/find-a-psychological-therapies-service/?mc_cid=5a2183f565&mc_eid=UNIQID

    I find that my anxiety stops me doing the things I know will help it, in spite of knowing it will help. Talking to someone might help you find where to start unravelling the knots, and a little progress can feel like quite a lift.

    40 is just a number, don’t dwell on that, but if it can help give you impetus to take stock and make some changes for the better, go for it. Better to get through a scary leap than stay on the wrong side of the river forever!

    Premier Icon TiRed
    Full Member

    I started road racing aged 45. It was hard and it took a long time to get anywhere. COVID has put that on hold, but I think I have the rewards of fitness to fall back on. Previously I was hopeless at all sports – with competition limited to making up the numbers in the village third XI cricket team on a Sunday.

    On a daily basis, I make an effort to go outside every day. Never underestimate the therapeutic benefit of a walk (says my dog). Thirty minutes just walking is no bad thing. A bit like making the bed in the morning to accomplish one thing from the off.

    Premier Icon Blackflag
    Free Member

    Since when are MTB or motorbikes a young person’s game?? Loads in our MTB club are over 40 and almost everyone i see on a motorbike at the services seems to be be an overweight middle aged man.

    Premier Icon Kryton57
    Full Member

    I didn’t start bike racing until I was 42, and went through many bored moments, and left a 30yr job in December to start an exciting new one.

    I appreciate things are easy but 40 is just a number, it means nothing in the context of things but depressing yourself gazing out of windows – you need to get up and do something instead of procrastinating, even if that’s a small thing. As a fellow anxiety suffer I know it’s not easy to change or take risks, but just find something small and do it, and use that as a positive springboard. Forget the past, thats done so move forward.

    Premier Icon stcolin
    Free Member

    Oddly, I was home alone this weekend with the dog. I went for decent walks from home on Saturday and Sunday morning, and I didn’t feel much better when I got back. That happens when my mind is so caught up in all my worries that nothing seems to shift it.

    I am taking a little comfort that it seems I can turn the fitness around. I’ve ran two marathons, both in my 30’s, so I know I can put the work in for endurance events.

    Premier Icon malv173
    Full Member

    Everything I am interested in can be looked at as a young persons game

    That’s what people who don’t like to enjoy themselves use to justify not wanting to enjoy themselves. That’s like saying that you learned to read as a child, therefore it is childish to read as an adult. I knew a chap who was still mountain biking in his 70s, not even in an eeb. And Granny McGnarly (Pat Horscroft) is mid 70s and still races the Steel City DH.

    Sorry to hear you’re not in the greatest place, but as many have already said, you should be able to work through this. You may need added support though.

    I am presuming you’ve seen a physio re the knees? And have you tried a TENS machine for pain management? My wife bought one for 35 quid recently, as she suffered sciatica, and it really helped her.

    You can definitely improve your fitness at any age. Just have very realistic expectations, and build up gradually. Look at things you can do at home if you can’t face going out. Planet X are seeking turbos for 29 quid. Or buy a skipping rope and watch this:

    Go easy on yourself.

    Premier Icon footflaps
    Full Member

    Since when are MTB or motorbikes a young person’s game??

    BMWs GS range is exclusively reserved for over 50s IT professionals who have to sign a waiver saying they will never take it off road, but will spend £1000s fitting it our with custom luggage, bash guards, fog lights and then send it off for a custom paint job where they spray it to look like it’s covered it mud.

    Premier Icon jam-bo
    Full Member

    I found the worst thing about being nearly 40, was all the people telling me I was nearly 40.

    other than that, I’m fitter and faster than I was in my 30’s. surf more, ride more, even went dirt jumping with my son yesterday.

    Premier Icon n0b0dy0ftheg0at
    Free Member

    Yes, if I turned it around, so can you and so can anyone else.

    In a galaxy far far away, I was a sport-aholic from my teens in the mid 80s through to uni days in the early 90s. Lost my way in life, went to a very dark place during the late 90s, piling on the pounds and exercise stopped. Life turned around in the mid 00s, but then injured my lower back muscles badly in ’08, exercise reduced because of back pain and pounds gradually piled on again to some extent. Then three days after my 40th at end of ’13, I ploughed into the rear of a stationary refuge collection lorry while cycle commuting, deciding to turn my jaw into a jigsaw and make a mess of my right hand/wrist. Off work for three months, specialist rehab to get my hand working again, denture for the lost teeth. Massive loss in confidence cycle commuting, my only exercise besides work, piled on the pounds again and hit ~95Kg in ’16 around the time a short jog to bus stop left me exhausted and with chest pains. Then I decided I needed to do something about where I was…

    Massive reduction in excess snacks got me down to ~83Kg by Jan ’17, then started using fatbike besides commutes for regular local interval sessions on road. Got myself my first hydraulic disc brake road bike in May ’17 and finally discovered just how close Old Winchester Hill area of South Downs actually was after being in Southampton for ~25 years!!! Dropped to ~73Kg by Aug ’17. Got myself a turbo in Xmas ’17 to try and keep/improve fitness over winter when I didn’t fancy heading to South Downs during the wet/cold winter months.

    Fitness was on an upward trend until Covid came along, ’21 was a real challenge, the vaccine jabs hit me harder than actual infection and a ~3.5 week flu last Oct really did make me wonder if my days of challenging my own Strava segment times were gone.

    But since Nov 2nd ’21, I’ve cycled for at least 30mins everyday besides two days of ~25mins, typically 45-75mins. Initially base z1/2 with one short Zwift D race per week, then gradual introduction of more short races and z4+ workouts. I didn’t get my usual spring cold that hits winter gains a bit and I’m now in my strongest 3-20mins power I’ve had since Xmas ’17. Even though I’m ~80Kg now having been ~86Kg in mid Jan and would like to get back to ~75Kg, I’m about >< close to two of my cycling goals of an “FTP estimate” of 300W and being able to hold 4W/Kg for 20mins at the age of 48.5 years old. Outdoors, there are very few times since March when I’ve targetted a segment and not got at least myt second best time on segments I’ve done plenty of times in the last five years.

    On days when I’m feeling down, I regret not finding the South Downs years ago, because being up in the hills really helps me mentally as well as loving chasing my times up them. But it’s better to have found them now than not at all.

    Premier Icon Duggan
    Free Member

    40 is really no age at all, I would stop fixating on that for a start. You’re pretty young and unless you were planning on becoming an elite athlete most things are just as achievable as any age really.

    Premier Icon singletrackmind
    Full Member

    Yes you can get faster after 40 but it requires a little bit more dedication.

    Less alcohol, more sleep, better diet, planned training rides and simply more riding.

    When your young your body changes quickly so results of a 3 week training block will show, post 40 not so quickly.

    I was ok in my 30s got better through my 40s, lost it all through covid and lock down. Getting back on it with a few commutes.

    My cousin lost his son very recently aged 20 and things like that are a very harsh reminder that we are not around forever and sometimes bad things happen to good people.
    Its summer, dry and warm. Training should be pleasurable, the endorphins welcome and if your serious there is a book dedicated to plus 50 training by joel friel some of it will apply to you.

    Premier Icon fazzini
    Full Member

    Anxiety: in my experience it has got worse as I’ve got older but that could be related to events in my life rather than age alone.

    This is certainly my experience, although, if I look back objectively this is something I have suffered with (along with depression) since childhood. I would definitely suggest what @stwhannah said. Even if therapy isn’t for you (it isn’t for everyone) its good just to be in a place where you can properly acknowledge its an illness and get help. Talk to your GP about how you are feeling. It took me a long time to pluck up the courage and it was single bravest thing I’ve ever done. I’m glad I did though.

    FWIW I had a breakdown about 5 years ago – lots of reasons and events led up to this. I’m still getting through it day by day. That’s not to say its all awful. It’s just a process, and for me, acknowledging it can’t be ‘fixed’ was a big step. I’ve been on and off anti-depressants (currently off and OK) since then. Fitness was great pre-breakdown; I was at my lowest weight since teenage years having been really unfit and overweight; felt great (I thought); was active, cycling every day etc. Now its challenge. But plodding on is something that I do. I know getting on the bike makes me feel better, but sometimes its just difficult to get myself out there.

    Stay safe, talk to someone.

    Premier Icon seriousrikk
    Full Member

    I turned 40 a few years ago, and while the thought of turning 40 didn’t come with any negativty I have had that similar feeling subsequently.

    I got on my bike in 2020 and could barely do 3 miles without hurting in places I had forgotten existed. Six months later without doing much other than riding regularly and a bit further each day I did a fairly flat canal path style 30 mile ride. Now I regularly do 20+ miles off road with 2500+ feet of climbing.

    It’s not much by other folks standards, but it is way more than I would be doing if I hadn’t just got on the bike and started doing things. Now I want to push myself more, the only way I have found to do that is set a goal – in my case the Red Rat Rampage ride in September (long version). Having a goal is super helpful for me to focus my day to day life a bit and do some training.

    I also think getting out regularly helped me massively in other areas of my life. Don’t get me wrong, I’m still a bit of a mess, but bike time really just removes me from the bits of life that are not so good for a while, allows me to unwind. I think that, in part at least, gave me the confidence to get out of the job I had been in for 16 years. Like you I had a fairly niche set of skills that I just didn’t see how they could be applied elsewhere. Turns out I was wrong.

    Off Road cycling won’t solve everything, but it certainly gave me a foundation to see that I could influence my life more than I belived.

    Premier Icon intheborders
    Free Member

    Since when are MTB or motorbikes a young person’s game?? Loads in our MTB club are over 40 and almost everyone i see on a motorbike at the services seems to be be an overweight middle aged man.

    Went to BSB at Knockhill yesterday and my (adult) son said “near enough all the bikers are either thin like you or seriously fat, and majority are old”.

    I might get another motorbike after that comment 🙂

    Premier Icon stcolin
    Free Member

    Thanks again for all the replies.

    I am presuming you’ve seen a physio re the knees?

    I did, back at the beginning of 2020. The pain showed up on the MTB during steep climbs when I was really leaning on my legs, but only then. Physio said tendonitis, and over 2 years later same issues. I rested and stretched as instructed and it just never went away. Stopped me from running for a long time, couldn’t do too much football (5 a-side these days), and long days on the bike made it hurt a bit. I also have a bakers cyst on the same knee, which is more of a symptom of an underlying issue.

    I tried Zwift and I found it hard to keep at it. Started an FTP builder and did start to feel results, then my knee pain came back. Constantly turning the pedals didn’t help I think. Last time I looked, estimated FTP was 213W.

    Premier Icon jam-bo
    Full Member

    It’s not much by other folks standards

    best thing you can do is stop caring what other people’s standards are. embrace mediocrity and have fun….

    Premier Icon mrsheen
    Free Member

    I think in a way you can compensate what physically you might have lost by building mental resilience. I find this guy’s videos quite useful and funny.

    Premier Icon TiRed
    Full Member

    embrace mediocrity

    “The secret to happiness in middle age is to lower one’s expectations” Jo Brant.

    Colin, I’d look at something you can achieve, a new skill or qualification or job change. Experience at your age matters more than qualifications.

    I also find Zwift deadly dull. The monthly subscription nags me like a gym membership. I also struggle with starting things – when training is 100km rides, I forget how enjoyable a 10 mile pootle or just a ride into town can be. Perspective change might help.

    Premier Icon the-muffin-man
    Full Member

    I lost my business, went bankrupt and nearly lost my home at 40!

    So cheer up – it could be worse! 🙂

    Premier Icon Edukator
    Free Member

    Just a a number innit. 62, ran 10kms this morning, worked on the extension and I’ll be going to the pool when I finish typing this. At 40 I finished respectably in the Winter triathlon world championships.

    Premier Icon stcolin
    Free Member

    I also find Zwift deadly dull. The monthly subscription nags me like a gym membership. I also struggle with starting things – when training is 100km rides, I forget how enjoyable a 10 mile pootle or just a ride into town can be. Perspective change might help.

    I feel exaclty the same. I might just cancel the membership for now. But the rides perspective is an interesting one. I’d always be nagging myself about my average speed on a road ride, or elevation on an MTB ride thinking I needed to hit a target in order for the ride to worthwhile. Maybe focussing on just riding and not caring about the stats will help. I do remember the days of no Garmins or Strava.

    I lost my business, went bankrupt and nearly lost my home at 40!

    Okay, that’s definitely worse. I hope you have recovered?

    Premier Icon jam-bo
    Full Member

    I also find Zwift deadly dull. The monthly subscription nags me like a gym membership.

    i put my zwift sub fees towards the finance payment on a gravel bike, which I just put flat pedals on primarily so I can just jump on it and ride rather having to find the ‘right’ shoes and go out for a ‘proper’ ride.

    Premier Icon slowol
    Free Member

    Have you considered working less, especially @sharkattack?
    I went to working four days per week (slightly compressed hours so only lost half a days pay) when our youngest was 1 and my wife went back to work (in my late 30s). Meant time with the bairn and not paying a load of childcare. After child 2 my wife didn’t return to work so I moved to a 9 day fortnight (work an average 35 hour week).
    Definitely improves stuff. Am extra day every couple of weeks to ride a bike, go for a walk or just catch up on life (washing, dit etc.)
    Today is my day off and I’ve spent the morning planting beans. More garden time later this afternoon.
    Seriously worth considering. You have a right to ask at work now, without it being used against you even if they say no. I realise it costs money but not as much as you think and gives you time for whatever.
    I can’t remember who said that no one dies saying that they wished they’d spent longer in the office but it’s almost certainly true!

    Premier Icon stcolin
    Free Member

    Well I’ve been based at home with my job for almost 8 years now. I do wonder if it has been a negative overall. I don’t feel less stressed about my job.

    I have at least achieved something today and got an appointment about my knee tomorrow afternoon.

    Premier Icon joshvegas
    Free Member

    Talk to your GP about how you are feeling. It took me a long time to pluck up the courage and it was single bravest thing I’ve ever done. I’m glad I did though

    100% this the feeling of finally doing something about it was the most progress i have made. Drugs and counselling worked for me 🙂

    Don’t comapre yourself and your life to others. How you are feeling is no less valid becasue someone else has it worse.

    But what do I know, I’m only 37 and a half

    Premier Icon the-muffin-man
    Full Member

    Okay, that’s definitely worse. I hope you have recovered?

    Yep – all good now thanks. I’m employed now, but still in the print-trade. Like you I’ve got sod-all qualifications and it’s all I know so still trapped in it! 🙂

    It was a relief in all honesty – just waking up in a morning knowing the bailiffs couldn’t come knocking anymore. It was a family business and I’d had enough for years but was financially tied-in and no one could just walk away.

    54 years young this year!

    Premier Icon BillMC
    Full Member

    It’s only a number. Since 40 I diversified my interests, pre-Raphaelite art, medieval architecture, woodcarving, and still cycle. I was out round Sheffield yesterday for the Drum’n’Bass ride with all the crusties and groovy types and at 66 wasn’t the oldest. I know a guy round here, same age, who’s still climbing extremes. Keep busy, do something every day and then you can justify and get more pleasure from your beer, wife, mates. A happy and connected person is healthier and lives longer. Don’t misery away your life, you’re only a boy!

    Premier Icon the-muffin-man
    Full Member

    One thing that took me a long time to learn is how to say ‘No’. And I feel a lot better for it.

    I don’t go to social events just to please other people anymore.
    And work-wise I won’t take on jobs for fear of upsetting customers. “Need it tomorrow? – well you should have thought of that last week. Sorry, can’t help”.

Viewing 40 posts - 1 through 40 (of 96 total)

You must be logged in to reply to this topic.

Thanks for popping by - why not stay a while?IT'S FREE

Sign up as a Singletrack Member and you can leave comments on stories, use the classified ads, and post in our forums, do quizzes and more.

Join us, join in, it’s free, and fun.