On the struggle bus, zero motivation

I’ve been having a hard time recently with training. Every session feels like a chore and I’m finding excuses to turn interval days into Z2 rides or just skip them. Motivation is at an all time low. I think I had a decent winter of training, but got covid mid-January and took a hit. Though I don’t think that’s where the problems started, other than taking a full week off the bike. I just don’t feel like training. I barely feel like riding at all. And I feel like I have every reason to be motivated. I had a great season last year; had 3 wins and another three or four top 5s, and ended the season getting my cat 3 upgrade. I got a brand new bike like a month ago. And I have some new races lined up on my vacation that I really want to do well at (3 races over Memorial Day weekend). And yet I still don’t feel like riding. I will say that my numbers aren’t where I was hoping they’d be, so maybe that’s getting me down. I don’t know. Any tips with getting my mojo back?


Rest until the motivation returns. Go walk your dog or whatever.

Or get away from structure and go ride for fun for a couple of weeks.


Got a mountain bike? Go hit the trails… it’s good for the soul!


I had this happen a few seasons ago. I beat myself up if I don’t complete a work out or if I don’t work out so I decided that I would spin 3-4 times a week but only do 30 minute workouts. I choose easy workouts, but tried to find “attacking” workouts because they made the time fly by. It made the workouts seem manageable again and you have the mental aspect of knowing you completed a workout. Then work yourself back up. If that fails…follow @Jolyzara advice. Cannot go wrong with mountain biking.


I guess the first question is; How are you feeling off the bike? In terms of stress, happiness, motivation etc?

I guess I didn’t really think about that. But I haven’t felt like myself lately I think I would say. Like today, I really didn’t feel like riding. I didn’t really feel like doing anything. Work has been stressful recently. I do a 26 hour shift every 4 days at the hospital. So that’s been wearing on me. I’m sleeping ok. Just don’t feel like doing anything when I get off work or on my days off. And the weather is getting nicer, and I had built up in my head riding outside again, like I was just longing to get outside and not have to ride the trainer. But even on nice sunny days it’s a struggle to get on the bike.

Man, I feel this. I feel like a POS if I don’t get on the bike. And even more so if it’s a sunny day outside, I feel like I’m wasting it if I don’t ride outside. Like I know a break off the bike would probably help, but I have anxiety if I don’t workout that somehow I’ll lose all my fitness.


There is so much to this as others have said. A huge aspect is covid. At this time we have no real grasp on all the effects. I thought I recovered after 3-4 weeks and ended up racing in the rockies and really put myself in a life threatening situation and almost pressed the button on the inreach. My wife on the other hand has had long covid for over a year now. massive body and organ pain, headaches or migraines almost every day, feels like needles in her kidneys when she pee’s. Brain fog, reduced cognition in many areas.

I would do as others said. Just ride the bike if it gives you joy. If not take some time off until you want to ride. This is a hobby. We do this because we WANT to, not because we have to.

Good luck.


Take time off the bike: stop riding until the motivation returns, the itch to ride the bike that needs scratching. Wait 2 more weeks.

If you really need time on the bike, make that all gravy. Don’t stick to zones. If you want time on the pump track, do that. You get the gist. Just don’t train and only ride when you really want to.

But you know from your own experience that you’ll regain fitness eventually. The mental component is just as important.


This sounds like depression. Have you considered talking to anyone about how you’re feeling?


When you are ready.

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Go do something fun - whether on the bike or off. I live in the mountains in Colorado and we’ve had a long winter with all the snow. I don’t ski, and riding my fat bike keeps me motivated for only a few months. We had our spring break last week and we were able to drive south to the desert and warmer climes. A break from the routine for the past 5 months and riding some sunny warm trails on my MTB was an energizer for sure.


Consider reframing, and riding all Z2 for a while? That way that won’t be failure, but executing. Consistent work always beats optimal intervals on the long term…

I had my own struggles with motivation and execution. Typically I’d execute the plan well in winter and progress steadily. But then spring would come, and I’d be falling off a cliff and losing fitness.

In my case that was often caused by the one-two punch of illness and increased work-related travel in the summer months. I’d lose a couple of weeks of training, fail my intervals coming back, dial down, find my groove again; only to get sick again or have to travel again. After a couple of rounds on that infernal cycle I’d give up and lose all the winter gains.

Z2 has been a game changer for me. I rarely dread a workout and usually am eager to ride more as soon as I step off the bike.

Work travel/illlness is much easier to take in my stride with Z2, as failure is no longer binary. If I can’t do 2hours at my power coming back from travel I just shrug and do 1hour, knowing it will only take a couple of days to return to feeling like I used to.

And as a cherry on the pie AIFTP just gave me my highest FTP ever while I still feel like there is heaps of room to grow…

Which is why I think you should consider easing on the interval work if you are struggling with motivation. Just saying what I wish someone would have told me in the previous summers of flaming out!

Intervals are very productive and very powerful, but they need consistency. And consistency feeds off routine, habits and a feeling of achievement. If your routine is broken through no fault of your own and outside of your control (e.g. by Covid), intervals are very hard to get back into! Especially because failure replaces the feeling of achievement when you fail your workouts, have to lower power or feel absolutely rubbish doing something that « should be » very doable!

Consistency without routine is extremely, extremely hard!


Coincidentally just posted in another thread on similar issue. In summary: maybe very slightly too much intensity over extended period?


This is meant to sound funny, but I was feeling fine with my outside rides until I saw that photo.



This was essentially going to be my advice. If motivation is low or you’re still suffering from Covid, but you’re able to ride, keep riding, but worry more about consistency. You won’t lose much fitness and I’d argue it’ll be better for your mental health than quitting completely and feeling guilty.

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Holy moly that’s a stunning landscape. Nothing like that around but I get you point.

And thanks everybody for the suggestions. I have struggled with depression in the past and it’s definitely playing a role. Add to that work stress and a weird sleep schedule, and possibly a bit of overtraining. I think I need to take a step back and some time off the bike. Or at the very least take some time off structured training and ride for fun. I have a MTB that hasn’t been ridden in a few years mostly because I don’t have a ton of trails close by in my new location. Though I haven’t really looked that hard. Although as I’m writing this I’m thinking of things I used to do for fun before cycling, and I want to play basketball again. My gym usually runs pick up games a few times a week so maybe I’ll do that. I think I’m burnt out on training right now and need some fun.


I’ve been through these spells. One thing that gets me over the hump is getting back into the habit. You can set some super achievable goal, like getting all suited up to ride outside and then pedaling easy for 20-30 minutes. Maybe it feels great once you are out there and you do an hour or more. Or you just do that 20-30 minutes a day as maintenance until you feel ready to hit it harder.


Sedona is spectacular. If you MTB, it’s a very worthy destination to make a vacation out of.

I went through this last year. Happened after several stressors entered the picture and I think it was just too much stress and something had to give. Had some fatigue from some getting up for my A race, new responsibilities at work were assigned to me, took on responsibility for coaching my son’s baseball team, among other things. You can only juggle so much and with intervals being so hard generally, I think that’s one of the first things to give mentally. I rode it out. Did a lot less on the bike. Went from 40 hour months to 20 hour months. I stopped stressing about the bike time and just made sure I did the other things well. It lasted about three months and then summer came. Lots of outdoor (fun) riding. I started toying with fewer intensity days per week and found that really helped. Got back on track after that. I don’t think there is silver bullet other than giving yourself some grace and taking your time.

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I burn out late summer every year…the symtoms you’re describing are pretty similar to what I feel. I think it’s too much intensity…

Anyway…I always feel better after 2-3 weeks of little to no riding.