Training Mental Strength


This is my first post to the Trainer Road forum. I wanted to post this to the world of cyclists as I haven’t read or heard much about the topic of the mental strength or the psychological battle cyclists have when it comes to getting on the bike. It would be really interesting to hear from others more experienced than I who may be in a similar situation and what their perspective or approach may be. It can often feel tough to keep the wheels in motion if you only have one window of time during the day of roughly one hour to an hour and a half for the longer workouts and if you miss this window due to the many reasons of not feeling one hundred percent it can effect consistency and mentality.

To give some perspective I am an early morning trainer who is starting my second season doing a Base, Build, Speciality phase. I normally have to get up between 05:45 and 06:00 to get my session in before work. I have completed the few opening workouts to SSB but when it comes time to complete the second or third workout mid week I am either aching or still feeling fatigued from the weekends riding or a Tuesday session. I know for me the colder temperatures and less daylight in the mornings at this time of year don’t really help me get out of bed.

Trainer sessions mid week at the crack of dawn when its cold are never easy. Skipping or missing workouts does lead me to become frustrated, guilty, feeling like a wuss and that I may be falling behind/wasting days. I’m sure many cyclists deal with the exact same issues and maybe worse than me after reading some threads on here,

  • Do you skip sessions?
  • How do you re-structure the plan if you do?
  • How does one feel/wha to tell yourself when you skip?

I normally remind myself “come back and live to fight another day.” The other side to that coin is consistency is key to progress.

I look forward to hearing, thanks. :slight_smile:

Early morning workouts can be extra hard to get motivated for. Check out this thread for some tips:
Early morning workouts

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There have been a bunch of other, similar, threads on the forums lately.

This one might help you with getting ready for your early morning workouts:

This one is more focused on motivation and the mental aspects:

That’s all the preventative care advice you should need and how to reduce chances of actually missing the workout.

Once you’ve missed them you need to assess why you missed it. If you are actually over-fatigued and need the physical break it is fine to replace with a lower intensity workout or do nothing at all - you have to listen to your body. That said - it is better to try and fail at a workout than to let your brain tell you that you can’t do it. Often the hardest interval is the one getting onto the bike and finishing the warm-up.

You have to learn the difference between the (admittedly heavy) fatigue you will feel from a SSB plan and your body telling you to snooze the alarm because it’s easier to just take the day off. This is a highly individual thing, but for most relatively new cyclists you are more likely to undertrain yourself than overtrain yourself

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I bet you have no problem going to work every day, even when it’s dark and cold and you aren’t feeling one hundred percent. Just sayin’… :wink:

Maybe read that book, “How Bad Do You Want It?!” (or whatever it’s called…I haven’t read it).

Or strap on one of these bad babies a la Stuey O’Grady.

Personally, I’m currently in hitting-the-wall zone, doing strength training @gym and TR workouts. Doing both at the same time does not make me feel good, at all – and I still have 4 more weeks of it! I’m up at 5:30 on the gym days, just like you, to finish before going to work. It’s dark, it’s cold, it’s rainy, it sucks. But whatever. I’m either going to feel crappy working out or feel crappy not working work so I might as well just go work out!

Step back every now and again and take a long view…do you want to feel “not one hundred percent” NOW when all you’re doing is training…or do you want to feel “like a wuss” in the summer when you aren’t hitting your goals, or getting dropped, because you decided to stay in bed…?

Tough love, for sure, but who’s in charge – you or your brain? :thinking:


So a couple really great resources are Endure, by Alex Hutchinson, and Flo Podcast’s episode on Sports Psychology featuring Dr. Simon Marshall and Lesley Paterson. Both are great resources and starter points for you to improve.

Good luck!



I’ve been using TR for nearly 2 years now, doing low volume plans, and in the first year I hadn’t got into the routine of training regularly. I didn’t skip a workout but I would push it back so 3 workouts would end up taking 2 weeks.

I was training for CX and even with the poor routine my results improved massively.

This year I’ve got into the habbit of doing morning workouts, and if I do have to miss a workout due to illness or travel then I tend to push the whole week back. I use my improved race performance as my motivation to keep training, and again (so far) this CX season has seen even better results.