Motivational issues


#1

I love cycling, bikes, training and getting faster. I’ve been using TrainerRoad for the last 2 weeks and had to bail on the last interval on Antelope -5 tonight. Had a quick search and seems like the best plan should have been to do the full set but spinning it out.

Other thread

I do have periods poor mental health which makes it all a bit of a chore, and it was hard to start in the first place.

When you get to this state and have started cos you know deep down it helps but nothing is working do you walk away, push on, taper off?

Or just recognise your state and choose to have a rest.


#2

Mental health struggles combined with training is always tough to balance. My usual ruleset for when I’m having a particularly difficult day mentally is as follows:

#1. Get dressed for the ride and put on my shoes.
#2. Go through the warmup.

If I have gone through the warmup, I’ll check in and see how I feel.

  • Am I willing to try?
  • Do I need to just do something low key instead?

If I need to stop at this point, I do without any guilt.

If I decide to try and ride I will:

#3. Commit to at least 1 or 2 intervals + half of the next interval before getting off. This usually looks like:

  • Trying for 1.5-2 out of 3
  • Trying for 2.5-3 out of 5

#4. If I get to this step, I’ll check in again

  • Can I finish just the last half of the set?
  • Can I try the next or last set?
  • Do I need to stop?

Basically, I’m just giving myself permission to quit if I can just make it a little farther and get a bit of progress and then suddenly I’m almost close to the end of the workout. Some days I make it all the way through, some days I don’t.


#3

But you did start, get on the bike and got some work done so that’s a win already. Both for your fitness and your mental health.

Whether the best thing to do is walk away, push on or taper off may depend on the circumstances of each individual day but always give yourself the credit for doing what you have done rather than focus what you haven’t.


#4

+1 to this!


#5

You need to know how you motivate. For me I have to push myself and push through. The big hurdle is getting started and then letting myself believe I only have to do half, for instance. Then when you get halfway through I can always convince myself to just keep going. This works really well when riding outdoors. I haven’t used that half method on the trainer though as I am three weeks in and still excited from the new trainer purchase.

My personality works well with pushing myself and not giving credit unless I finish things, so if you are not this way then for sure disregard this. I found that my methodology doesn’t work for most.

Like you I also really love cycling so bad days are made better by doing just that. I always feel better at the end of a ride then I did when I was struggling to get on the bike.


#6

We all come up against motivational blocks, even the big time pros, so you’re definitely not alone in that department. Expressing your concerns on the TR forum is a great first step.

As other’s have said, really focus on what you have accomplished, and reward yourself for those achievements, rather than focusing on what you’ve left on the table (your tenuous mental state has already been established, you don’t need to keep focusing on that!). Before you get on the bike, figure out the rewards you’re going to give yourself, both during the ride and after (e.g. it might be gummie bears/M&Ms – 1 for each interval completed – and then a glass of delicious chocolate milk for completing the entire workout, etc.).

Try focusing on your physical state/condition while you are doing the workouts; try to separate your mind from your body. Like @chad says, do a mental checklist of all your parts. You might be surprised to find that your body is feeling pretty ok and you can finish the workout. Just keep running through the physical checklist (or focusing on keeping your power on target, like a game) and your mind might not have the space to tell you that you can’t do this.

If you have to, or even want to, take a break – then take a break! It’s not the end of the world. Go for a walk, go to the park, go see a movie and chow down an XL bag of popcorn, whatever you need to do. The bike ain’t going nowhere without you.

And don’t forget that exercise, even activity much more mild than Antelope -5 is really good for mental health.
Quick Googs finds this Time article: Exercise Is Good For Your Mental Health (2018 study)

…exercising for two to six hours a week may be the sweet spot for mental health.

…the researchers found that certain types of exercise were associated with slightly more mental health benefits than others. Team sports led the pack with a 22.3% reduction in mental health burden, followed by cycling (21.6%)

Just keep riding. :+1:


#7

Man, kudos to you for gettin on the bike and pursuing this. If nothing else, every time you get on the bikes that’s a win


#8

Echo the above comments and have a suggestion - find someone to do this with you.

I don’t mean physically there but get a TR buddy, ideally someone with same targets doing same workouts on similar days but at least someone else going through the process.

This forum or in FB could be an ideal place to meet and a bit of light-hearted encouragement, competition and maybe even challenge could keep you going.

They don’t even have to be in same country or continent!


#9

Cheers for the help and support, I’m not very good at opening up.

Plenty to mull over. Got until Sunday to get back in the swing of things.


#10

Boy everyone definitely takes very different approaches to getting through the mental fatigue. The tricks that work for me seem very different than what everyone else is doing.

I focus on the reason I am training, my next A race, and think about the best way to hit my targets there. If I’m so demotivated that I can’t get on the bike even when thinking about being able to finish that race with my target place or time then I know I’m too worn out. Almost always though, this gets me on the bike.

The pain and exhaustion (both physical and mental) are, for me, a means to an end. The high of finishing well in competition is what I focus on when I’m deep into my 85th minute in the sweet spot and just want to stop, it’s where I live when I’m kitted up and sitting on my couch staring at the bike and thinking how easy it would be to just take a day off.

This, of course, will not work for everyone and is a method that I recognize causes me pain when I don’t perform well at an event I’ve been targeting. I do end up beating myself up from time to time.

Don’t necessarily recommend this for everyone, or even anyone, but it is how I get through the periods where I’m lacking in motivation or my legs are so tired that I’m feeling the fatigue just walking up a flight of stairs

Edit: Couldn’t agree more with @Boombang 's idea above about having someone on the same workout schedule or target event as you. It really helps a ton to have someone to bitch to about how hard the workouts are and to text to brag about how great you felt on a given day. You’ll lift them up and they’ll do the same for you


Training Mental Strength
#11

Yeah a suffer buddy could help. Motivation is normally high but just one of those times.
Normally I can suffer with the best of them guess I needed a mini release and well here is somewhat anonymous.