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Any tips for renewing motivation?(13 posts)

Any tips for renewing motivation?bigdave
Apr 18, 2001 6:13 AM
I am in a bad place right now... been training a lot (8-10 hrs week) and just getting into racing. I worked hard all winter and lost 22 lbs since January, working out religiously during the *gray* months. But now, all that work notwithstanding, I am still getting spit off the back in hard group rides and races.

At first, it didn't bother me... I thought, ok, still some work to do, but it will get better if I stick with it. Got dropped again on a really hard group ride on Sat, still ok with it... but Sunday and Monday had me thinking that I'm doing it all for nothing. I'm trying, pushing myself on the *hard* days and still no real sense of improvement... still getting dropped.

So what did I do about it? I ate like a pig over the holiday, and even went out last night and bought ice cream, something I haven't eaten for months. Probably put back on 5 of those pounds I worked so hard to take off. I also haven't ridden since Saturday and I'm not really sure when I'll ride next, even though I have a race on the schedule for Saturday. At this point, I'm having a hard time giving a d@mn.

So, anyone else battle through anything like this? Any tips to jump start waning motivation?


re: Any tips for renewing motivation?ddm
Apr 18, 2001 6:26 AM
....road trip...go somewhere else, either leave your bike (you're not going to lose fitness for a week), or bring it and go totally casual. Lay off the junk food, but nothing wrong with indulging a bit. Or, go play in the woods....leave the skinny tire machine at home and go play on the knobs...
Sounds like Burnout to meOnrhodes
Apr 18, 2001 6:38 AM
Okay dude it sounds to me like you have a serious case of burnout. If you lost 22lbs over the winter, plus you've been going hard for some time now, that is a lot for the body to take. Mentally and physically. I think you're the same poster who asked about riding hard sometime last week. You said you were going hard at least 3 (sometimes 4) days a week. You probably need a good rest. Don't be afraid to take some time off. Even the pros skip a day here and there. The key though is to not beat yourself silly over getting dropped.
I had a hard year two years ago. I was going really well at the start of the season. Placing well and having a good time. Then my whole cycling world just went down the crapper. I thought it must be everyone else was getting faster, so I went harder and harder. All I ended up doing was cooking myself. I got to a point where it physically hurt to ride faster then 13mph. I hated my bike and didn't feel like riding. SO, what did I do? I took some time off. I didn't ride for a week. I did some mtn bike races, and god forbid I actually had a social life outside of my cycling friends. It really helped to refocus my desire for riding. I lost the fun I had in riding. I have known for years that cycling is not just something that I do, it is something that I am. It took me from a lazy (and fat) 16 year old kid to where I am today. It kept me out of trouble. I didn't do all the drinking and drugs that friends of mine swore they would never do (then we all went to college). I've been all over the place riding and racing. Up and down the east coast at least 2 states deep. been to Texas to ride. I love it. I know when I stop racing that I will always continue to ride. It is something that just makes me a whole person.
So, if you're feeling the way you just described then my first advice is take a few days (or even a week) off. Don't be afraid to miss the local hammer fest every now and then. You must set up a schedule that works for you. Don't try and mimic some one else's riding plan. You said you've been doing 8-10 hour weeks. That is pretty good. But just for a comparison I've been doing 14-16 hour weeks and next week is going to be a nice easy 8 for me.
I hope this helped. Feel free to contact me if you have any further questions onrhodes
Good luck dude.
Stop training...alansutton
Apr 18, 2001 6:40 AM
And start riding for fun. Every racer goes through this. I'll bet it's been a long time since you had fun on a bike. Unless you're a pro, once riding becomes work, it's no fun. You're not racing/training with your heart. Racing is very difficult and unless your body AND soul is working together, you're not going to be competitive. Also, it's okay to eat ice cream once in a while too! Consider that a typical 3 hr training ride burns about 3000 cal, you can eat almost anything you want!
Start having fun again, call up your slower buddies for a rides and many do a bunch of organized centuries.
ways to renew motivationDog
Apr 18, 2001 6:41 AM
First, you may be riding with a group too much. Frequently, they may be doing workouts that are not right for you for where you are in your training. A year ago I rode with a strong racing group every Saturday. I couldn't keep up on the long climbs, but I could not progress, as I was essentially combining my long endurance workout of the week with my most intense workout, just trying to keep up on the big hills. So, I started doing my long rides alone, and doing my shorter intense hill workouts during the week. I progressed quite a bit then. Remember what many coaches say, "Most riders go too hard on the easy days and too easy on the hard days." When it's time to go slow, then go slow. Get an HRM and stick to your plan, say under 130 bpm, no matter how good you feel.

Set some goals. Is there a particular event that is really important to you? Do you want to be able to time trial at x mph by a certain date? Set a goal, and make everything else you do subordinate to and in support of that goal. Once you figure that out, you have a reason for your motivation, and will likely do fewer stupid things that we all do that wreck your motivation or training plan, such as turning what should be a LSD weekend ride into a series of mini races.

Buy some knew equipment or clothing. That helps some people, but the cure can be short lived.

Do something completely different. If you have been doing 4 rides per week, instead to 3 or 5, but at different distances and intensities. Find different routes to ride. Ride with different people. Put on the aerobars and decide you will be a time trial specialist for one month.

Don't race for a few weeks. Take some time off, and get some more hill work, base miles, or something else for a while. You may just need rest, too. You'll likely come back faster. Ride a different kind of bike, like a fixed gear or tandem with someone.

Buy some books and read more about training or something. Keep coming here and talk it out with us. Many people are happy to help. Hey, great job on the weight loss, too. Nothing you can do will improve your speed as much as getting the fat off, and that feels great.

Happens to all of usBipedZed
Apr 18, 2001 6:49 AM
I'm just coming out of a low period myself. I know the feeling well, you train hard, committing most of your free time and sacrificing alot - diet, work, relationships, only to have few results to show for it. You wonder if it's worth it.

The best thing to do is take some time completely off the bike. You need to recharge mentally and any training right now won't do you much good until you are mentally motivated again. I took 3 days off, which was great for me. Doesn't sound like much, but for me it made a big difference.

During this time, take a look at your training and see if you can identify deficiencies in what you are doing. I started working with a coach and immediately identified critical training areas that I was neglecting which would directly affect my race results, mainly sustained LT interval training. I thought by riding lots of hills hard that I was training efficiently, but turns out I was not holding a threshold rate long enough and consitently enough to produce the physiological changes I was looking for for racing.

If you can identify something or change your training approach, after a few days or a week of rest you will have renewed interest in training and trying out something new. A light at the end of the tunnel so to speak.

Hope this helps.
It all helps, guysbigdave
Apr 18, 2001 8:07 AM
Thanks for the boost...

Great suggestions by all... don't know where to start. Bike selection, yeah, the old MTB would be good about now, and especially this beatup old 70s vintage single-speed that I have yet to finish completely. I think I'm going to finish it tonight and tool around on it tommorrow and Friday, even if it means missing the team ride and riding in the rain. I need a change.

Alan... yeah, my heart's not in it now. I'm too nervous/worried about keeping up and doing well that I've lost the fun... but hopefully only temporarily.

Onrhodes... yeah, the fun somehow p!ssed away. Didn't think it was possible, but I was wrong. I've got to stop getting too miffed if a ride doesn't go well. As for hours, no, 8-10 is not insane but a good amount for me with work, a supportive-but-don't-push-it-too-far wife, etc. I'm gonna chill awhile and refocus, which brings me to Doug and Biped, two of the stalwarts (and good guys) of this list.

Doug, I really think a big part of my group/race shortcomings has been the group stuff itself, just like you say. Some of my very experienced teammates say that I just need to ride better in the pack and I'll be fine... that may be, but there are flat-out times that I just *can't* make that extra surge of power needed to stay with everyone. I'm gonna make the hills and interval sessions my priority and *then* the group ride on rare occasions for variety. Goals? Hmm... don't know the races well enough to say, "I want to do well in that one," but picking one would probably do me a world of good too.

BipedZed (always loved that handle), I think you're probably describing me too when you mention that the specific intervals are not gonzo enough... ok, I haven't been doing as many as I should, but I think the ones that I have been doing weren't over-the-top enough. I need the Onrhodes *less-is-more* philosophy and really make the hard stuff count.

Thanks again for the good words... your speed of reply was, well, as quick as I want to go on the bike. :-) I know it's nothing unique to go through, but it sure feels that way when it hits. ;-) I went through the whole winter and early spring without a hint of it, and now it hit me like a ton of bricks.

I'm going to stir your suggestions in a pot and put it on the mental stove... I'm not giving up, but I'm definitely going to take a new approach to things.

Your replies were just what I needed.

It takes years Dave.Jesse Smith
Apr 18, 2001 3:53 PM
I'm a relatively young (32) healthy student who's been road riding since '98. For the past year, I've had the time to train between 18-20 hours a week, with a coach, who has mapped out monthly training plans. I weigh 140 lbs and have a nice bike. It seems I have all the cards going my way. I still get dropped regularly on a certain Saturday morning ride. I've been racing this year and just now, I'm able to hang in the Cat V pack.
On solo rides, I'll feel great. During these times, I can totally convince myself that I can drop anyone else. I'll even have a few good days training with my team. I'll say to myself, all the training is finally paying off. I'm over the hump.
Saturday morning turns into the same reality check. I still can't hang with the group past a certain hill.
Looking back however, I CAN hang in a lot longer than ever before. I used to be the 1st to get dropped. Now, I have to sprint up to catch wheels when OTHERS get dropped.
Be prepared to face the fact that a full season of training, with the proper interval workouts, rest phases etc. may still not turn you into the cyclist you think you should be. It may take 2 or more seasons. I'm convinced that some people, like me, just don't progress as fast as we're used to seeing others progress. I have an easy sit-down job, more time to train than most Cat 3's, and still can get smoked by a Cat V who works 40+ hours and trains less than 10.
But, we do progress. We just have to be willing to do the hill intervals even though it won't pay off in relatively instant gratification. It may only result in being able to hang in for another 1/2 mile before we get dropped yet again.
Onrhodes & the others hit the nail(s) squarely on the headBreck
Apr 18, 2001 7:47 AM
I can read into your note that you are suffering from burn-out. It can be physical, mental or both. I myself have suffered from three cases of physical and one case of big-time mental burn out over a period of close to forty plus years of running and biking.

Biking at your mental level is not about fitness. Causal bikers and joggers do it for the "fitness", weight loss, etc. "We" others do it for an entirely different reason that often times escapes even ourselves. In pushing the mind/ body to that level you are trying to obtain you "over-push" and get stale or burned out; start questioning that of which you are doing and exactly why.

Running in the late 70's / 80's went thru that phrase of "negative addiction". That is, those not understanding our drive and motivation, as we were not "professional" athletes, but held down the common every day jobs working next to those did not have our passion. And so "they", needing some reason why not having the "habit" and being more than a little bit derisive of our level of fitness, came up with slurs and slanders against those of our ilk, name your "poison" ... not tennis nor golf(!).

As a recovering run-bike-aholic myself, can always see the signs the Elders of the Tribe see in the Young Bucks (you are prob in your late 20's to mid 30's), me being past the 58 mark. Stick with it ... you will either "arrive" or not anywho. Get thru it however you can. Just remember that you are not alone in the Wilderness.

Take a beater and go sleep on the ground...Cory
Apr 18, 2001 8:18 AM
Just got back from a three-day camping trip near Monterey--camped on the beach, ate a lot of fried fish, rode my beater maybe eight miles a day, mostly down to get cappuccino and more fried fish. Came back all pumped up and ready to ride again.
I think everybody else has nailed it--it's just burnout, happens to everybody. Take a few days off the bike or doing something completely different and you'll be fine.
Its all mental...DINOSAUR
Apr 18, 2001 9:40 AM
I have been riding road bikes off and on for forty years. I go into slumps every now and then. As a matter of fact I'm in one now. I havn't ridden since the middle of February. The weather and a couple of injuries have kept me down. My bike is gathering dust hanging in the garage. I have been through this before, I know it is just temporary. When you get older it is difficult to stay motivated. Especially when you can't crank out the miles as you did when you were younger. Usually I try buying new gear, this time I think it might take something more, like new bike. The biggest obstacle is the one between your ears. You might need to ease off a bit, like others have suggested. Try a couple of fun rides a week. Don't ride with a computer all of the time. Try a different route. The main thing is don't stop, try to get a couple of rides in a week. You have to love pain to do this sport, I think I answered my own question. Now get out and ride...
Ride for fun ...Humma Hah
Apr 18, 2001 1:09 PM
... What did it for me was getting back to the sort of riding I did a quarter of a century ago. Just go out and get lost, explore, no particular goal. Enjoy the bike.
Yeah! Ride for fun!!SimpleGreen
Apr 19, 2001 8:14 AM
Like the others have said, it's time to back off. Just ride for fun and enjoy the sport. If you haven't done so already, you should get a heartrate monitor and a training book that will guide you with how to use it. You probably should stop racing for a while and do some base mileage again. Lots of LSD for a while and stop and smell the roses. I try to keep a long term perspective as well. You want to do well now, but it takes a couple years at least to develop you muscles and aerobic system.

Have fun!