Help! Training just isn't fun. .

Help! I can’t get motivated to do consistent training

I started structured training about 5 years ago, first as a way to get fitter and faster around my local MTB trails. Loved it. I set a goal to do Leadville, and this was my source of motivation for 3 years, during which I was pretty consistent and really enjoyed it. I got pretty fast. It was nice. Of note, I was using a competitor’s software, because I found it easier to be entertained on my trainer (vids + music that sync to the rides).

I did Leadville last August, and had planned on taking 2 weeks off the bike and coming back into training to continue to strive towards beast mode. Its now 6 months later, and I still am not back on a consistent training routine.

I have tried using TR’s plan builder w/ adaptive training (which I get super excited about when listening to the podcast - I’m convinced its the best training platform out there). But its just not fun for me: I get frustrated trying to set up my own music and videos, even Zwift, while using it. It seems I always run into some kind of connectivity issue, or the video I try just sucks, etc.

I’ve tried going back to a competitor’s software, which has good entertainment and vids during workouts. Even with that, I just find myself looking at the trainer and saying “no, I don’t feel like it.” That’s even when I’ve set aside protected time to train.

I’ve tried adding races for motivation: I’ve signed up for BWR CA on my calendar, a couple of local races, and an enduro MTB Race (the most fun!). Still hasn’t done it for me.

I listen to the Podcast and find it great - while I’m listening I’m like “yeah! I’m gonna get back into it!” But I don’t.

I even joined a local cycling team - I haven’t ridden with them yet, but I’m pretty sure I’m just gonna get dropped. Even that doesn’t motivate me to get back on the trainer.

I’m now gaining weight in a bad way, getting dropped on rides with friends, and generally wishing I could just enjoy the trainer again.

I know I could use outdoor rides with TR for training, but I’m time constrained with family/job/etc and don’t have time to ride/drive out to a nice road to do that. Doing structured outdoor rides in my neighborhood seems impossible with all the stop signs and red lights, but I haven’t tried it.

Assessment: I don’t like the trainer anymore. But I know its important, and its really the only way I have to get structure training in. Any experience with similar situations? And how did you gain your love for the trainer back?

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Ask yourself, “Why do I like cycling? (right now)”
And if that is not structured training, then don’t do it. Do you even want to go riding for fun right now?
Takes a bit of time but you don’t have to force yourself

I remember having a ton of fun summer 2020 because all the races were cancelled and rode a ton just for fun.

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Keep a level of fitness to make riding bikes a little more fun is fine. Leadville is a huge goal to have ticked, it seems normal to have a moment of “now what?”. It is awful hard to do difficult things without a “why”.

Try something different like coaching a NICA team or some other way of giving back. You may find keeping up with the kids a source of motivation.

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It can be hard to achieve but when you do, you love it. Getting to 3/wk is the tipping point for a lot of people, after that you start to want the workouts.

Very frustrating. I’ve raged, thrown my trainer around m you name it. Find yourself some time, a weekend even, to sit down and fix this. Lots of trouble shooting protocols to follow, but dedicating time so that you know when it’s workout time you can get on and ride is key, and the key to consistency.

Also, prep all your gear the night or weekend before.

Give yourself a schedule. I do usually stick on youtube, but you can prep your watchlist before hand. Whatever series you are watching on Prim or Netflix - you can only watch the next episode on Tuesday workouts, for example. Line up a race replay you want to watch, a stage from the TdF or something.

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I do have fun riding. Mainly mountain biking.

Good advice! I very much appreciate it. I guess I just want the benefits (keeping up with friends, greater health and speed benefit for time spent on bike) that I know come with structured training.

Thanks! I think that’s a good tip. Gonna set things up this weekend, and plan some stage races to watch.

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Love for the trainer? I’ve never loved it. It’s a means to an end and I’ve found that even a high degree of structure on the trainer doesn’t yield the same results as training outdoors. Not sure what advice I can give other than try that outdoor workout in your 'hood.

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Training - on the trainer - isn’t very fun for me either :confused:

And even though outdoor workouts seam futile - I do suggest to give it a try - even doing tiny loops (which is what I do) , is surprisingly more tolerable than the turbo.

If not maybe do weekdays turbo and weekends outdoor rides on a gravel climb before you hit a trail. These outdoor rides may spark some motivation to tolerate weekday indoor rides.

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I know the feeling of how all your future bike plans really start to stress your current thinking. All the guilt that comes along with it too.
You have an important race in x months but at the moment, training is not enjoyable. It might be easier to commit to a clean break instead of half assing the training.
“I don’t want to train right now, so I’m not going to feel guilty for not doing to.” And that’s not saying to quit riding. Go ride for fun if that’s your jam right now

It’s really all in your head and once you get a clean break in your head, you’ll start to miss the benefits that come from structured training and be hungry to come back.

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I think this is a great idea. Being able to keep up with the fast kids might provide motivation to train more.

Another thing is trail work. It’s fun and motivating to ride a section or feature that you helped build/maintain.

Maybe focus on 90% fun riding outdoors with just a little bit of structure.

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I found rollers to be more engaging to train on than a trainer. It doesn’t directly help with the underlying motivation issue but it does make the training a bit more interesting.

I’ve had patches of motivation issues also. Lot of failed workouts from just going ‘eh’ and stopping; usually when I wasn’t tired or was just barely tired. Partly it seemed to be a reflection of life stress. A change I made that seemed to help was doing lower intensity rides. I struggled with fairly easy sweet spot workouts but noodling around in Z2 for 3 hours wasn’t much of an issue (time management aside).

Also, I’ll second JoeX’s suggestion of having stuff you’re only allowed to watch on the trainer. If I want to watch biathlon or a movie I have to be on my bike.

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All you need is a loop made up of right hand turns so you’re not crossing road lanes (minimizes chances of having to stop at turns) which means you can do outdoor rides almost anywhere. Sure, the longer the loop the better but I have successfully done entire sprint interval sets going bac and forth on the same 1/2 mile stretch of road. My go to interval route is a 2.2. Mile loop in a local subdivision. Where there is a will there is a way.

If there’s no will though … How about making the bike take 2nd for awhile and finding another primary activity that gets your juices flowing? Now might be a great time to start a strength program for example. Or just go for some scheduled hikes/walks. Find something you want to do. And if you can’t find something you want to do, find something you can at least tolerate doing regularly.

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There is a lot of race footage available. I have gotten through three months of high volume training only watching cyclocross races and have yet to watch the same twice.

For me choosing entertainment and music to train to used to be a mental drain and something that could delay my workouts so much that I started struggling with motivation. This year I have created a youtube playlist with a bunch of 1.5-2 hour music mashup videos which is long enough that I can just start over when I’m through without it being to repetitive. And for entertainment the only requirement has been some sport that I haven’t watched before. As mentioned mostly cyclocross, but currently enjoying some winter Olympics.

This, together with equipment that is always ready and always works has helped a lot to avoid procrastinating workouts with the resulting lack of motivation.

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And never ever spend more than 10 seconds picking which video to watch! I know I need a recovery day (or week … ) whenever I get lost struggling with some part of my pre ride routine. Its time to rest when you spend 5 minutes looking at 3 pairs of the same brand of bibs trying to remember which one is your favorite pair.

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I think you need to set some process goals. If you don’t have something weekly holding you accountable then it’s easy to procrastinate and be disengaged. Something simple like 5 hours a week, or 300 tss, or 100% adherence to the LV plan, or whatever you think you want to do. But before that you need to get your tech sorted out. I find it easy to have multiple devices. I have an old Ipad for music, movies, or audio books. A PC for TR/Zwift. And my phone for my zwift companion. I set my room up each night because I workout at 4:45AM so I try to remove as much friction as possible. I make sure my apps are updated, my clothes are laid out, my bottles are full, and my batteries are charged.

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Buddy, “structured training” is a bit oversold with its importance. If you were to get out and ride 4x/wk and have fun versus 4x/wk of following a “structured plan” you’d be 99% of the way there, and possibly even further ahead.

I get > 20hrs/wk and 90% of those hours are “general riding/running” at low heart rates. I do one “hard ride” and one “hard run” per week. On review after workouts I’m seeing power numbers I haven’t seen in years vs slowly declining following more structure. My enjoyment is through the roof as well. The hell of it is that I’m about as plan/process driven in all aspects of life as one could be, but that stuff has a shelf life. Maybe you’ve already hit your expiration date with it. Nothing wrong with that.

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Far field - but could you perhaps have overreached and actually gone deep in overtraining (RED). This many months off and the body rejecting psychologically that much. Just a thought.

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Training indoor is objectively a poor experience. Why don’t you ride in your local MTB trails and organize some structure around it.?

I’ve never tried structured training in the traditional sense. Been riding for 2 years and my FTP went from 0 to 3.7 w/k with 265h/year in 2020 and 315h/year in 2021. Here’s my strategy:

  1. In the offseason. I ride indoors 2h-5h per week max. If indoor is intolerable I suggest you get a fatbike.
  2. While you don’t need to follow a traditional workout format, you do need to follow the objective of the ride…endurance, long climb (SST), short climb (threshold and above).
  3. Plan your routes with the ride objective.
  4. Volume seems to be the most important variable, so make sure to keep adding.

In sum: Formal workouts are WAAAYY OVERRATED. To me, people who say indoor for work, outside for fun, just haven’t found how to do it right.

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I did TR for a bit in 2019 and it was nice when I was time crunched and all that, but I found looking at blue bars to be kind of soul sucking. I ended up getting a smart trainer and got into zwift a bit heavy during the start of the pandemic and had fun with that for a while, it brought back the joy I found in video games when I was a kid… but that wore off. I’m still doing fulgaz rides indoors 'cos I love the sightseeing aspect of just riding around and it works for me. It’s easy to pick a nice climb for a longer threshold/sweet spot kind of workout, and lots of other kinds of rides for whatever variety I feel like. I have a rocker plate and the kickr climb so it’s fairly engaging compared to a dumb trainer.

I used to like riding outdoors in the winter but find myself freezing cold much easier than I did when I was younger, so I’ve found other winter activities to do when it’s cold out, I got into nordic skating big-time and also have been trying to rekindle my love of cross-country skiing, though the price and lack of equipment the last few years has me using my grandfather’s skis and boots from the 90s.

If there’s a velodrome nearby that might be something to think about trying too, I’ve been toying with the idea for a couple years but the pseudo-lockdowns we’ve had have made it tough to get into the training classes for that.

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I’ve absolutely thought about this. I don’t know, but I don’t think I went to deep. I was pretty good about taking rest weeks, etc. when I was training.

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