Hyper Focusing leading to Burnout

Been cycling for 4 years now, got into intervals and indoor training pretty early on in my career (about 6 months after buying a bike). My consistency hasn’t been great over the years for varying reasons (work, kids, burnout, etc), but at least once a year I go all in. I get hyper focused on training plans, workouts, sleep, nutrition, recovery (the whole 9 yards). I can usually hold this hyper focused state for about 3-4 months. Just long enough to start seeing some major improvements in fitness. Then I go over the edge and lose it all. Each time I embark on one of these 3 month journeys I go in armed with the mistakes of the past and yet the results always seem to be the same. I need to figure out a way to lessen and prolong this hyper focus, but it seems to go against my nature. It’s either all I can think about or I don’t care enough to even get on the bike. On my last attempt I really thought I had a breakthrough, I made cycling part of the every day lifestyle. I started off commuting and not caring about intervals or TSS, but somewhere along the way I started to get faster. I extended those commutes, started doing intervals, checking my FTP, and probably worst of all hard group rides. After completely over doing it (50-60 hours a month), a disappointing race/crash that took the bike out of commission, I ended up losing all focus and stopped riding all together. After a whole year off the bike, I’m finally back. Been cycling for about 6 weeks now and I find myself quickly falling back into that same pattern, please HELP!


How about a structure where you are hyper focused for 6 months. Then do whatever (no structure) you want as long as you keep the volume high?

It has been working for me…also, change bikes: go from road to gravel to MTB to indoor. Have different goals: FTP, 5min max power, TTE, KOM’s, Race results, Long Adventures, etc.


A suggestion;

Make your primary objective rest and recovery. Commit to three rest-days a week. Be disciplined to not getting on the bike those three days.

Commit to a base build speciality low volume plan.

Shift your focus away from ramping up TSS and intensity and toward wellness and balance. Follow AT. Use FTPDetection. Don’t ramp test. Commit to letting go and letting TR take care of things.

The real struggle is not staying committed to cycling, it’s staying committed to our overall long term happiness and quality of life.



Don’t be so hard on yourself, 3 months is a really long time to be “super focused, all in.” In fact, over the 20+ years coaching, I have observed that the majority of elite high school kids seem to have a max range of about 6-8 weeks of intensity before they peak / plateau. As an adult you can hold on a bit longer but you really need a large volume base to do so.

Training for a series is different than a championship peak of course, but either way intensity is a hard thing to hold onto. You need an off season, often 2 or three. A period of unstructured training and a good base phase. Periodization is key.


Oh man I’m jealous you get to switch between the disciples, it’s sadly not an option for me in my current location. Possibly in the future though so I’ll keep that in mind! Weirdly enough I just did a mini cycling trip and it was a blast. I’m excited for the next one, being trapped in one location and one disciple for so long maybe playing a bigger role in burnout than I care to admit. Really appreciate your insights and taking the time to respond.

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+1 on this!

Maybe even see it as hyper focussing on rest and recovery? and on sticking to a low volume plan?
Keep remind yourself of the fact that its when we rest and recover that we actually get faster.

How about including another aspect of life that you value, like time with family, or a different hobby, into your planning, and make sure that there’s balance with that.
So if you start itching to up your training, go and consciously focus on (other life-aspect)?

Good luck.
At one point, when i wasn’t training, i was analyzing data, or reading forums, shopping for bike parts, watching cycling, and basically living cycling.
Great, until my marriage went away…


Solid solid advice! I 100% agree with all your recommendations, I just fall a little short on the sticking to it part. I might need you to send me this advice every week :joy:. So I was just setting up my plans and I went with two days of rest in the week(will consider adding a 3rd though). I’m going to stack them back to back on weekends. That seems to be the most dangerous part of the week for me and where Ive made my biggest training mistakes. Also having weekends off let’s me make time for other more important areas of life and might help me balance things out. I am super excited for AT and all the new TR features but releasing the reins to AI is something I’ll have to come to terms with. One of my biggest pitfalls is constantly needing to validate my fitness so maybe using FTP detection could spare me max efforts. Really appreciate you taking the time to respond! Very helpful!


Tips from an ADHDer prone to hyper focus and an ‘all or nothing mindset’:

Preventing burnout:

  1. Every so often I force myself to stop monitoring progress. After a race, if I am feeling fatigued, etc., I take the power meter off my bike (or ride bike without power meter), and ride for fun. I still will ride hard sometimes, and I may very well progress, but I don’t let myself monitor it. As an all or nothing person, this is harder than it sounds. I might do this for a month, for a week, for a weekend and it helps me reset. If you tend burnout after 3 months, schedule a 2 weeks of riding without a PM during those weeks (or whatever works for you)

  2. Remind myself why I am doing this and that literally every ounce of pressure is internal. My wife is super uncompetitive. Every time I am disappointed in my cycling progress she always says ‘this is your hobby, it is supposed to be fun’.

  3. I think having a MTB and a road bike allows me to be less prone to burn out than I used to be. I go back and forth between the two a couple times each summer. In the winter, snowboarding helps me stay balanced.

  4. All that said, the best one for me so far has been progress goals. I have a goal to ride or ride/weigh light a minimum of 7 hours each week this year. If I hyper focus on that goal, even if I am at a point where I typically burnout, I keep riding/training to get my 7 hours.

Getting started after a burnout:

  1. Generally, I will sign up for something. If I burnt out hard, I will sign up for a race with the goal of having fun at it. That usually lights the fire a bit.
  2. If you can afford it, buy yourself something fun for the bike
  3. Think about where I will be 3 months from now if I stay off the bike versus just ride for fun. I usually at least ride for fun.

Hope this helps!


Thank you for the positive vibes! It actually wasn’t that long ago when I was proud of training for consecutive weeks. I guess I forgot that somewhere along the way. Really appreciate your message!


You all are awesome! I’m reading all the messages trying to respond to everyone who took the time to help me but I have to get some sleep! Looking forward to responding to everyone tomorrow though, thank you!

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I think you’ll find a lot of us can relate to your plight. My goal is to find balance and a I suck at it. I tell my wife I’m like a light switch. I have an ON and I have an OFF but I don’t have a dimmer.

I have to echo changing
Bikes. They complement each other well say road-MTB. I do this almost weekly. It helps a lot. Plus you get a reason to buy more crap. Throw a gravel bike in there too.

Seriously though it helps. Having events keep me focused as well

I’ve fallen into the same trap too, except mine lasts about 4 or 5 months at mid-volume with weights 1-2x per week depending on fatigue. Work/life stress is up and down, I tried to never skip a ride, rarely rode outdoors out of fear that I’ll stray from “the plan” (I know there’s detriments here in itself), and by the time I get to the Specialty phase I am pretty burned out, even if I’m hitting PB FTP numbers. I can tell I’m barely hanging on by a thread.

My approach this time around is to drop down to low volume, try to maintain the lifting and focus on longevity rather than the big ftp gains which inevitably burns me out. I’ve found having less rides per week make me want to absolutely nail each ride since I’m only riding 3x per week now instead of the 5x, and although the gains have come slower, they have been much more consistent. I don’t feel like I’m always walking the tightrope of being too fatigued/the right amount of fatigue (which is still a lot) and I feel better overall.

Dropping down in volume took a bit (a lot) of having to swallow my pride of being able to handle year round mid-volume, but I also know this is probably better for me long term.


hahah, that’s a great analogy and matches up for me as well.

dammit, it’s the one thing I can’t try! Good to know though, if it’s ever an option in the future I won’t hesitate. Thank you!

My coach insists on a two week break after 3 months of intense training. Doesn’t mean I can’t cycle, just no intervals, no metrics, no prescribed training, just fun rides if I want. Initially I didn’t like this at all but I’ve come to appreciate it. It avoids mental and physical burn-out.


OP. If only you knew how common your story was, you’d feel much better about yourself. It’s so completely natural to experience this.
I’ll hit you with my suggestion: don’t train anymore!!!
Bit wierd eh? On a training forum?
But hear me out.
Go ride outside. Explore your countryside, smell the rain, feel the wind, see the wildlife, experience the thrill of a fast descent and the satisfaction of a hard climb.
Make friends, join a club, try a timetrial or a race maybe or just try be first to the top of a climb…
…Then start including a little proper training. Low volume plan weekdays, continue exploring weekends.
Make the training about improving your ability to do the thing you’ve come to love.


I don’t know that I have the answer, but I do the same thing as you. I’ve struggled with an all or nothing mentality that leads to burnout. I’m trying to be happy with “half victories” through positive self talk. The day wasn’t a failure if I trained but ate poorly. If I miss a work out I can rest up and smash the next one. It’s hard though.

If it helps, you’re not alone. I have a buddy 100% like you!

I’m wondering what your other big life elements are besides cycling? What kind of plans did you follow before when you fell off the wagon? How much time do you have to train?

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Great Tips! Really glad your able to overcome some of the same problems I have! Reading through your tips and others has really made me realize that my biggest issue isn’t that I don’t know what to do, it’s that I don’t/can’t follow these tips on my own when I need them the most. I’m almost positive I need an external support system to keep me from falling off the wagon. In the past I haven’t been willing/able to spend $200 bucks a month on a cycling coach, and I’m not sure I’m ready for that now…I’m more inclined to look into an accountability parenter/coach if that’s a thing? Someone to hit me with this advice when I need it the most.

  1. Are we the same person?

  2. I do have other hobbies, mainly basketball and altough it keeps me active it tends to drop my FTP back to the square 1 which is pretty suprising. If I could do mountain biking or something else that would probably help a lot (sadly not an option though).

  3. Signing up or getting crushed in race does give me the motivation to keep training, but when I have no cycling fitness I tend to not signup…also there’s only like 1 big race event in my area and it’s been cancelled since COVID became a thing. I did hear it’s back on this year…so I’ll be sure to get signed up. Cycling trips might be my new carrot though, so if I start planning some that could help.

Really appreciate your advice and support, best of luck with your cycling goals this year, Ride on!