I’ve come to the realization recently that I hate training. Which is at odds with what I love doing, which is racing. I love going fast, I love going after KOMs, I love road racing. I love the improvement I get and love seeing my power numbers go up. I love tearing people’s legs off on group rides. But I hate training. Logically, I know it’s necessary and I still hit my blocks. But there’s no fun in it. Maybe I’m just burnt out but I’m still hitting my numbers and I’m not failing workouts. And honestly I’m not sure if I ever liked training so it’s not like a new thing. I train because I want to win races and know it will get me there. But it’s a means to an end rather than something I look forward to. Anybody else like this?
Not in general prior to this, but I’m about to start my 5th season of coached training, am moving from XCM back to XCO for a change and because some of the XCM race organisation is proving unreliable, I’m just at the end of having Bronchitis and Flu…
…an have just received Month 1 of my new plan and just don’t feel very enthusiastic about it. With the weather between -4 and +2 here in the UK currently the through of going out into the mancave tomorrow night is filling me with dread. Plus, XCO isn’t really my strength so I face a year of Training for Racing, rather than a year of Training for Winning if that makes sense. Result will be top 30% of pack only.
This sounds like burn out to me. I’ve experienced this once this year and I didn’t want to touch my trainer. It comes and goes. It might be a good idea to take a bit of time off and do some more fun stuff than work.
I’m similar. Especially indoor training. Fortunately, I live in an area where outside riding is pretty easy. Being more of an anaerobic phenotype I respond well to LSD and it can get really boring. I polish the top end up closer to racing with some ok interval work but, TBH I end up doing a ton of group rides to stay interested. Without a race to focus on I’m rudderless…
This is definitely part of it. I haven’t ridden outside in over a month due to weather (got >5 feet of snow over the weekend a few weeks back) and it’ll be April-May before I’m outside again. So it’s just trainer ride after trainer ride for the next 5 months. And I know it’ll pay off come spring, but it’s just so joyless.
I actually like it. Mostly because the improvements show up in my trail rides in less suffering on the hills.
Every year… I know where the guard rails are for me, my available training time, and outcome. It’s made the idea of training seriously again a bit daunting. Since I have to work hard for modest gains I’m having a time getting excited about focused training for endurance racing. I’m going to continue running and I think I’m going to try an enduro race. Then I can compare my mediocrity with a whole new group of people!
I took a few weeks off after my CX season, which is actually the most time I’ve had off the bike since I got Covid a few years ago. Had a weird reaction though. I was super motivated to race again. Like I started thinking about which races I wanted to target and which would be my A event. I was antsy to get on the bike again. But still no desire to train. If that makes sense. Like I wanted to race, but not train.
I will add that I’m very much a goal/results orientated person. Just not a process guy. I love completing my goals and take a lot of satisfaction in them, but can’t get myself to enjoy the process. Which kind of sucks because I get little spikes of fun/accomplishment/fulfillment but the majority of the time training it’s a drag. Maybe I’m depressed.
I am struggling a bit with motivation right now too. Also right now in the northern hemi, it’s really dark and I do get a touch of the seasonal affective disorder as I’m not getting outside in the sunshine as much. Do you give yourself adequate breaks from training - like a good couple weeks of not doing or thinking about any structured riding at least a couple times per year? Are there ever any times that you feel excited about training? What differentiates those times from how you feel now?
Thinking back on times when I’ve felt excited about training I’ve had:
- big goals on the horizon that I was working towards.
- I was seeing a progression, i.e. my FTP was increasing or I was able to link feeling stronger and faster due to my training.
- I was successful in races.
- I had a coach who I trusted and felt if I completed a hard workout or made it through a hard training week, there was someone else who knew and understood what I had just accomplished.
I talked with a sports psychologist a few times, it did help add perspective. Might be worth a shot.
Physically? Yes. Mentally? Probably not. So I took a couple weeks off the bike but my mind never stops. I used that time to plan my next year out. And my anxiety kept pestering me that I was losing fitness off the bike. Like, I couldn’t get over the feeling that I “should” be training. So physically I was fresh and ready for training but not mentally. But again, this isn’t overly different from any other year. Mental focus has always been my weak point. I can never fully relax during my recovery or “off” periods.
Edit: And again, it may be burnout but it doesn’t feel like it. Like I don’t feel run down or tired. I don’t feel like I’m in an unsustainable path or I’m about to blow up. I’m hitting my workouts, I’m hitting my numbers. I’m fueling and sleeping as I should. I just don’t have fun. I train to get stronger to win races. It’s like a thought experiment. I want to win races. How do I do that? I train. End of problem. It’s like when I was in college. I want a good grade. How do I do that? I study. Did I enjoy studying? Hell no. But it helped me learn and accomplish my goal.
That’s a bummer! I hope you find the love of the trainer.
I love training. Even with recently declining training performances and no races on the calendar, I keep the motivation and look forward to it. I just love the training process. But I’m starting to realize that I’m a bit of an outsider there, as I could pedal with nothing in my ears and just a TR screen and a blank wall day after day.
When I was younger all I wanted to do was ride my bike outdoors, the last thing I wanted to do was the turbore trainer, it probably wasn’t helped by it being a dumb dumb trainer. With a change in my working patterns and getting a power meter (still on a dumb trainer) I grew to like training. On the odd occasion when I have fallen out of love with it a break has made me comeback to it. I still ride outside more though
It’s totally understandable to experience mental fatigue from the steady and consistent training it requires to improve. You’re most definitely not alone in this!
Since THE most popular answers to any TrainerRoad question are usually:
-Eat more carbs
Have you tried these?
I also derive a lot of enjoyment from the competitive aspect of cycling. It pushes me to work harder to get better. In the Winter, I have an awesome Zwift Racing team and we race weekly in the Zwift Racing League. I replace 1 day of efforts from my TR workouts and build it into my plan as a series of B races. It gives me something to look forward to every week, outside the regular slog of TR workouts.
Have you tried giving yourself a little digital carrot on a stick like this?
Being more of an anaerobic phenotype I respond well to LSD
Can you explain why an anaerobic athlete would respond well to LSD training?
I’ve done a few Zwift races in the past so maybe this would help. At least scratch some of that racing itch.
because Ken Kesey and his merry brand of pranksters said so
Take time off. Cross train. Restart riding your bike. Then train.
I hate going to work but I love the money.
My E-Racing team is everything I’ve ever wanted from an IRL Racing team. Hugely active discord, tons of members globally, team calls/race radios, strategies, roles, etc
I am genuinely excited to race every week with my teammates. And it inspires me to continue getting faster every week - even when that includes over/unders and long SS efforts.
Happy to discuss offline if you’d like!