Motivation to keep training on TR

After many base and build plans under your belt. With increases in ftp and endurance.
When your close to your ceiling on your own performance.
When every session is painful and recovery long, and you don’t look forward to it and you’re filled with dread.
How do you guys stay motivated?
You start to hate trainer road. Wish for easy days out on the bike, a quick nip onto zwift. A ride around on FullGaz.

How can TR be implemented as a year round training tool when sessions are close to your max. When you wish for sessions shorter than 1 hour and can’t contemplate 90 min sessions?
Needing advice for a training partner lol.
Much appreciated and merry Xmas

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As much as I love TR, for me at least it is not an end to itself. It is a tool to become a better rider. Having a season goal helps to push through when things get dark and heavy. Every session suddenly becomes a stepping stone towards having a good race and reaching your goals. In this regard, goal setting and managing expectations is a crucial skill.

If you’re not into competitive racing, then still take it as am improvement on your outdoor experience. You can ride more, harder, longer and safer. Getting outside and shredding some trails or horsing around a group ride can help remind ourselves why we do this.


TR is my means to an end. That said sometimes I need a break from it. That could be skipping a week of structure and noodling around on zwift. Or it could be a coffee cruise with some club mates. And if I’m feeling really good and the wind is just right there are a handful of local Strava segment that I ‘enjoy’.

As they say on the podcast … Type 2 fun.


I totally relate to your problem. I had my entire pre season planned with sweet spot sessions up to my A race end of June. Two weeks ago I hit a brick wall. Could not imagine doing another interval where my heart feels like it will split in half.

In order to get going at all I shifted a full block of SS base to traditional base low volume. I simply need to step back and find enjoyment in indoor riding again.

HTFU is not a sustainable tactic in all cases. I am actually starting to look forward to the hard sessions in the build phase a few weeks from now.

Stepping down for a period may be what you need?


I’ve only been on TR for one year and all I did was SSB HV1 and SSB HV2, after that I rode outdoors. I could imagine it being very easy to burn out on mainly indoor TR workouts.

I erg from mid-September to early February and only do cool down rides on the bike during this period. Variety is the spice of life. It sounds like you are over-trained. Time for a break from cycling and try something else.

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I actually race as a reason to train as I enjoy training but there has to be some purpose.
I like hitting weekly/monthly/annual targets of TSS/miles/hours. I try and improve my FTP
I do the odd challenges like Sufferfest, Disaster Day.
I try other tools - Fulgaz , Zwift
I am looking at the full Ironman in Fulgaz as my next target - 112 miles - 5 hours.

Then in summer I do some TT races. Other than that I do most of my training indoors. Each to their own.

Each to their own - works for me but ypu may need a break.


You need a destination otherwise you wouldn’t be traveling on this TrainerRoad.

If you’re on the turbo just to do TR, then yeah, you’re going to start to hate it and lose motivation. There’s no reason for you to be doing it so you’re not going to want to do it!

Even so, motivation is a fickle thing…doesn’t work if the goal is too far out, so, like you mentioned, we play tricks with the mind. Use emotional-based motivation and short term rewards to get you through the Blue Blocks of Doom.

As has been said, sounds like you might be over-training. Take a break and do something else totally non-bike related. Eat some delicious fatty food. Play with a dog. Go see a live band & have a few beer. Try indoor rock climbing. Nap. Whatever it takes.

Good luck!


I think everyone else has covered the big points (figure out your goals - train to hit them, etc) but I wanted to add to something I didn’t see much detail on

If you are losing sight of the reason you are training and no longer having fun on the bike then you are likely mentally overtaxed. This could be considered over training or it could be life related (stress elsewhere will reduce your ability to clear your head and focus on the training) - but either way you need to take a step back and evaluate your priorities and decide what, if anything, can be deferred for a day, a week, or a month.

Depending on your personality type and the goals you are targeting sometimes keeping an eye on the goal is insufficient motivation to keep you moving on the trainer. If you are focused on fitness gains or weight loss - goals without a specific date associated with them - then the training will eventually become monotonous and wear you down

There are many ways to deal with these types of problems, and how successful each will be will depend entirely on the person in question as we are all motivated differently and all targeting different events.

I would suggest a step back to look at priorities. Sometimes reminding yourself why you are doing this is sufficient. If it isn’t - maybe a day (or a week) off the plan and riding for fun will help you find your love of the sport again. Maybe you need a training buddy who is on the same plan with the same general goals as you so that you can hold each other accountable. Maybe you need to change your training to account for different, more concrete goals such that you have a carrot within sight of your current workouts


I just take a break from TR, at the end of my season, I ride outdoors or ride on Zwift for a change.

Having goals is so important. Think SMART, I always remember two of the words as they are the most significant. Measurable and Achievable

You can test the physical aspects of burn-out also. I was feeling mentally and physically “fried” after a lot of hard outdoor riding in the early summer. I got a blood test as part of a regular check up and my hemoglobin, hematocrit, red blood cell count and iron levels were all down about 10% from my normal levels.

Feeling anemic in the afternoons is a good sign that you might need physical regeneration which only physical rest can bring. My Dr. took some blood stool tests to make sure I wasn’t bleeding in my intestines even though I was sure physical over-exertion was the cause. Stool test results were negative and then I did nothing but easy rides for a few months.

Three months after my adverse blood test and not over-exerting myself, I had another blood test and things were back to normal. I also felt normal by that point and my motivation for exercise was starting to return.

Big race. Big ride. Riding vacation.

I’m in the process of figuring this out myself. I guess we’re all trying to get faster, stronger. Last year after almost 2000 miles on zwift from Dec - March I decided to try TR. I didn’t have yearly goals and eventually found excuses to not train or really even ride much.
The zwift miles were hard and fun. I worked up to a 2w/kg ride. I almost always tried to draft faster people.
I’m back to TR with a renewed attitude and a few goals for 2019. My non racer goals; pull for B group the whole ride. Draft with A group. Sub 5 hr (on bike time) century in fall.

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I started using TR 4 years ago.

My motivation:
I ride for sheer enjoyment and to stay fit. I use TR all winter to BUILD fitness and LOSE weight. My off season is when I get stronger. I do 3-4 mounting bike trips a year and I strive to be in my best shape for the trips. I certified as a PMBIA mtb instructor and started an instruction company last year which is my new motivation to be fitter and stronger. As an instructor, you have to be solid on the bike all day. I’m still going hard at 49.

I got my partner into indoor structured training (she started in Tr and switched to Zwift), and this season 5 other friends too. It’s really cool to see my friends developing on the trainer and outdoors (we all Fatbike). I feel like I am the unofficial leader and need to be consistent and strong for them which motivates me to be consistent and encouraging to others. I set up a closed Facebook group and Strava club so we could share our progress and discuss technical or motivational challenges. I regularly write posits about what I’m doing to share my experiences. We’re all pretty good at encouragement.

Just for fun, I started tracking out collective distance to see how long it will take us to ride around North America. Each month I post the new total distance and post a map. Every km counts.

One cool thing that happened is that the 3 riders on Zwift joined a race team (Team Type 1) and started racing in Zwift every second Saturday. I have joined them now too. The race is interesting because it’s nothing like structured training and has strategy and is really hard. Quite fun actually.

Another interesting thing I noticed; our riders using Zwift for structured Training are WAY more motivated to do their weekly workouts than our TR riders. They are almost fanatical about it. The Zwift rides are all doing the Gravel Grind structured program and seeing good results. Over Christmas, my TR group has not stayed on their plans. Interesting…

Our group is local but has a few new people from other places.
The goal is to help each other grow. Not to compete with one another.

Hope this helps.



Based on what I’m reading here you need rest. Sounds like you’re in the classic beginning stages of overtraining. If you keep pushing and ignore these signs it will only get worse.

I did something like that about 6 years ago. Kept pushing, trying to lose weight, etc getting ready for a couple important races…well I ended up with full blown overtraining syndrome. Nothing could be done to fix it, and it took four years for my body to recover and get back to normal training. When it first came about an easy 4 mile run at 9 min pace (which normally I would run 8-10 @ about 7:45 pace easy) would knock me on the couch for 4 days. Later one I could string a few days of workouts together but would then again crash.

Take the rest now! Nothing is more frustrating then dealing with OTS. I was lucky I bounced back but still after seeing numerous docs and whatnot there was nothing they could do but tell me to rest.

How do you know this??

I think I’m very safe in saying that it’s doubtful any TR user is close to their genetic performance ceiling.

If you aren’t progressing with TR then it might be time to try something different for a while, like maybe 80/20 training where every session is NOT “painful and recovery long”, and might give your body and brain different adaptations.

As well, if “increases in ftp and endurance” are your only metrics which you currently measure and strive to improve, then again, maybe time to focus on different aspects of cycling – high cadence work, efficiency, power in aero position, etc.

Scrolling the replies, looks like the over-arching hypothesis is overtraining. I ride the line of OT but I am aware of this and pay as much attention to the early warning alarms* as I do the training; the biggest of which is mood change – I get cranky (like I suspect you might be). Then it’s time to drop everything immediately and just relax…I don’t even talk about bikes! Usually after a couple of days I’m good to go again but only because I caught it early. Even so, I’ve got 2 weeks to go before a rest week and I’m not looking forward to any of it, even though I know it’s going to be hugely beneficial to me, and especially compared to last week when I was motivated to get on the bike. Thank god for naps.

*[edit: another big early warning is procrastination…just one more coffee… pee break!.. I should stretch more… couple more saddle adjustments… extend warm-up to 20min… etc.]

Stressing yourself constantly through the year is a bad idea. So don’t do it. At my age, I don’t have any power to lose, and overtraining cut my power by 10 percent. I have never really recovered it fully. You don’t have to quit riding, just do Taku every day for 2 weeks.

During my 2 years on TR, I have never managed to make it through the entire season without injuring myself. I overtrained 2 years ago and last year I messed up my knee. So I really didn’t ride much over the summer either year. But what I do during the season is recovery rides and one high intensity workout a week. I looked at the maintenance plans, and if I don’t do something stupid to myself this year I will probably try one of those.

I tend to use TR to focus on high-ish intensity zones, of 1h15m max duration. This is where the program really shines.

I save the longer endurance rides for outdoors only in the warmer and brighter months when one actually wants to be on their bike outside (which is the point).

This is a good way to stay mentally and physically fresh over the winter months, keeps you sharp without losing too much fitness.

I assume most of us are data geeks. I can imagine for each of us there is a set of data descriptors that can help us identify the next step or challenge that TR can assist with. I am now in my 3rd week of base low volume (yes, a noob) and my only objective is to get better at climbing rooty hills on my mountain bike. I’ve always wandered about racing but being 46 and having never raced, I don’t want to start with a total embarrassment. But if I could relate some of my data such as age, watts/kg, etc to a set of criteria that relate to a reasonable race performance, I would probably get the courage to sign up. In the meantime, I am resigned to my training purgatory with neither the hell of training nor the heaven of winning in sight.

To the TR folk reading this: much of your workout instructional text allows for flexibility to meet specific objectives. Consider how much you can help your members not only to meet their objectives, but also to set them. I don’t know how much hand-holding can be expected in this regard, but the topic is nevertheless interesting…

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Just get out and race! I picked up MTB cycling at age 40 (didn’t even own a bike before) and after 4 weeks of riding I entered my first XC race. You will never know where you stand until you race and you might surprise yourself. Here is my first race:

As a newcomer and I assume new to structured training it is pretty easy for you to reach your objectives. You will see a lot of gains for quite some time just by following structured training. All you need to do is be consistent with your training and work through Base > Build > Specialty. I would set a goal to race in 28 weeks (after you finish Base, Build, Specialty). Put your training and the race on the TR calendar. This will also help with your motivation as you will be working towards a specific goal, as opposed to an arbitrary " get better at climbing rooty hills."

I recommend SSB 1 & SSB 2, General Build, Cross County Olympic (Specialty). Also, on the weekend fit in trail rides and session difficult parts of the trail to improve handling skills.