In 2023, I will be going into my 3rd year of structured training, and this year I would like to have a long season. Long being relative in this context.
I live in the Northern Hemisphere and every time I feel those chilly fall winds while riding sometime in October, it gives me sensations of burnout. My gut instinct tells me that I won’t be riding for long and I would need to take some time off. I then notice that I start struggling to find motivation when riding my bike, which is a sign that I need to end my season and take some time off from any physical activity. I admit that it has been quite difficult in deciding when exactly to end my season every year as I don’t train for any race nor do I have any A events on my calendar. I do not sign up for any events well in advance, instead, I just do so a couple of days beforehand if I have the interest and/or motivation. I also love group riding, of which there are many during the spring, summer, and fall.
Trainerroad’s plan builder is automatically recommending a one-year structured training plan and following a structured training plan for that long is physically and mentally taxing for me even on a low-volume plan! While I do ride for a year (or close to a year) before I take my yearly two-week off-season break, approximately only 4 to 6 months are spent following a structured training plan. The rest is mostly unstructured.
I am comfortable with 8 to 10 hours per week of riding. I know that it is not a good idea to compare myself with others on this, so I will just take this with a grain of salt: when I look at other local riders Strava rides during this time of the year, I see them putting in huge mileage on training camps and doing ~ 10 hour weeks on indoor trainer rides on Zwift. I on the other hand barely have the motivation to put in half of what they are doing right now. They also have full-time jobs like I do and are not professionals.
I am nearing the end of my two-week break and I have regained my motivation to train. A big sign that I am ready is that I am starting to think about my next season, the plans that I would need to pick, and the goal events (mostly group rides and any other impromptu races ). My question is, how would you ensure that you stay motivated throughout the season? I often start losing motivation during the mid or late fall season.