Lost motivation

I’ll keep it concise, I should be doing a SS session now but I’m distracting myself with posting here. I had great motivation last month going into a plan builder phase for the year. Coming off from being sick and I just can’t get into the idea of training now. I’m considering a race next weekend but don’t seem to have the fire for it.

What are your strategies for rediscovering the motivation? Push through, take more time off ? Try to find the stoke on an outdoor ride? Would love to hear your strategies. Maybe I should change something in my routine, work and life have been a lot so far this year…


I was ill for three months and it was really hard to motivate myself to start back, especially as i knew it would be at a much lower level of fitness.

The first few sessions were hard, plus looking at the ramp test result :frowning: but after I pushed through I realised that you get the same feelings of success and satisfaction from completing a workout regardless of the level you are at. You also get those feel good endorphins from exercising.

You’ve effectively broken a habit and need to recreate those habitual bonds again. Do you have something to motivate you? maybe pick a hard A race that you can’t complete/compete without training?


I’ve been riding for close to 40 years, and am usually highly motivated to work out. On the rare occasion that I’m lacking in that department, It’s been due to either overtraining or just coming off an illness. I’d say to take a week or two off from the bike. My bet is that after a break, you’ll be feeling the fire to ride again. Best of luck to you!


Definitely this if @ibaldwin you’re just struggling to get back into the swing of things coming off sickness.

I’d spend some time and really think about your motivations for getting on the trainer. If you’re working up to an A-race then focus on that and know you need to put in the work to give yourself the best path to success. If that isn’t helping you push through, then as @robinm1369 says, you could just be a little burned out or slightly overtrained especially if the illness stems from really hard workouts.

I’d take a day or even two off, and spend some time thinking about your motivations to train long term, not just short term. Short term enthusiasm driving your training will just lead to it being a struggle every day as that fire to train for training sake can fizzle pretty quickly. The long term motivations are what will carry you through the whole season.


But plan NOW what it is that you are going to do at the end of that break. Make it easily achievable or accountable. Don’t leave it until the end of the break to decide. I suffer from the same on a reoccurring 4 month cycle so look to preemptively program in some variation to hopefully limit the effect.


Having a goal. Further, if that goal is an event or doing “well” in an event having friends or team mates who plan to do it with you is free motivation. A little peer pressure is a good thing imo/e.


Take a few days off now rather than digging a deeper hole.


I’ve had this issue last fall - just lost the momentum to get up and execute my training plan. I shifted over to running only, for 3 weeks, then went back. It worked wonders. Same with the holiday break - I planned it, last session here, first session after the break there, I will start back by repeating the pre-break week, etc. It worked. I am 20x more motivated now than I was back in the fall.


Thanks for all the thoughtful responses. I know this is a common issue. I know I wrap my sense of self tightly into my riding, training and racing. As life gets full of responsibilities I have found a need to hang on tightly to my training process in order to feel like I’m not losing myself, which I think could be a whole other discussion.

This is true and I’ve experienced it before. I did end of getting on the trainer just knocking out Taku - it was harder than it should been. This leads me to the fact that I’m not recovered from my illness and the feeling of down is likely tied in with that. I did feel better after doing it so even a moderate hit of endorphins helped a bit.

I think this is spot on. I’m going to give myself permission to chill this weekend (again), with the hopes of a group mountain bike ride on Sunday with no agenda other than fun.

Yeah, I have a whole season planned out and chose two A races that I’d like to nail. They are a long ways off so the advice to take a step back is well timed. Looking at the entire year; I want to feel good during those key A race goals.

Smart. I’ve already given that some consideration. Short term: I’m going to make a decision to race next weekend or not early next week - if I do decide to race I’ll be changing my goals with that in a major way. That will be hard for me to do so perhaps pulling the plug is the best choice.

No problems with that - I have several key events I’d like to peak for. I think this is related to stress/recovery more than a focus (I hope!).

Indeed. I’m at least going to take Saturday off, completely.

Some other things I need to do:

  • Clean up my training area, it’s cluttered now and doesn’t feel like I’ve put enough intention into making it comfortable.

  • Get my mountain bike race ready, even if I don’t need it to be good to go now, I know the process generally motivates me to want to ride more.

  • (If financially a responsible choice, jury is still out) - invest in either a new smart trainer, OR a new bike. I really really really want a gravel bike. I think stoking the adventure side of riding would be good for me this year. I ride a lot of rural roads but am limited in where I go because I only have a pure road bike now. Getting into some new zones could help motivate me again.

I wish I enjoyed running! Truly. I miss the ability to XC ski. I took a planned break before rolling into this last phase of training (I took November completely off any structure), that’s why I’m a little extra bummed about this. I just have to be kind to myself, maybe change expectations.

I always keep in my head:

Cycling is type 2 fun, it doesn’t always excite me to start, but I know I enjoy the feeling of being stronger, and always feel amazing post workout.

Motivation = Self discipline: I don’t need to rely on motivation if I have self discipline.

First set rule: If i feel shit, I force myself on, and say ok… if you don’t wanna carry on, jump off after the first interval or whatever, I’ve jumped on feeling shit and managed to smash 1.5hr SS workouts before. getting on top of the bike is the hardest bit, the rest is easy.

Other more mentally appealing workouts can be substituted too, it depends how serious you are, something is always better than nothing, so pick a different workout or something.

Make getting on the trainer as easy as possible. Have bike, kit, drink, everything ready so there is minimal effort.


I give this a watch probably once a month.


The way I come back from this state is to do super easy rides. I take the gravel bike out and just turn the pedals in Z1/2. I’ll string a bunch of rides like this together even if they are just 30 minute rides. When my heart rate variability goes up and my legs start feeling better the motivation usually returns.


I think about race day and how I really really want to kill it then. I also envision others struggling with motivation and I get a kick out of thinking the competition might choose to relax when I do the work.

Nowadays though I’ve found the sweet spot where my plan barely fits into my life. It is achievable, but requires a fair amount of planning and thinking my logistics really through. Somehow keeping my mind occupied with the task of „how do I fit this weeks workouts in“ overrides the question of whether or not I want to train.

If all else fails I have a playlist of old Jay-Z, Kanye and Gang Starr stuff that somehow does the job.


The best thing to stay motivated you can do is, read success stories of the people in which field you are like sports. Their struggle will always let you leave the comfort zone and work on your goal. A lot of motivation is around us. we just need to take that in a positive way

When lacking in motivation, I make myself a “super polarized” plan consisting of Sprint Intensity workouts indoors, Z2 rides outdoors.

Sprints are 20-30 seconds long. I do them seated at 120-130rpm in ERG mode.

They are highly effective both anaerobically and aerobically and require less overall motivation because I’m able to tell myself, “I can do anything for 20-30 seconds.” The entire workout is usually only about half an hour.

Furthermore, I don’t have to nail every interval to feel like I accomplished something. In fact, the point the workout is to reach failure, as mentioned in the instructional texts. If you breeze through the workout, increase intensity on the next one.

I can do these 3-4X a week plus a couple outdoor Z1/Z2 rides.