Advertise on Bikeforums.net



User Tag List

Results 1 to 22 of 22
  1. #1
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Posts
    63
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)

    How to avoid mental fatigue?

    Does anyone else here have trouble with mental fatigue during medium-length to long rides? I find that often times when I ride, if I stop for even a few minutes I suddenly feel depressed and don't want to continue. Sometimes this makes it hard to focus while riding. This happens both when riding alone and with a group. It seems like this fatigue often sets in when my body feels fine and I have plenty of energy left in my legs. If I go out a long distance and have to come back, the mental fatigue will hit me as soon as I stop at my turn-around point, so I feel like it may have something to do with my adrenaline level dropping.

    Any ideas on how to avoid this? I'm pretty diligent about eating to avoid bonking, so I can't figure out what else I can do.

    Thanks!

  2. #2
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    My Bikes
    Trek 1000c
    Posts
    384
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    I wonder if you could avoid stopping? I used to stop and experienced the same thing. Now, I allow myself to slow down . . . even way down . . . to eat, drink, sit up, stretch etc., and then I'm ready to go fast again after a couple of minutes of coasting. The trick for me is not to get off the bike, the elliptical, the track, etc.

    Positive self-talk is also helpful . . . 'you're doing so well, you always feel this way right before the adrenaline kicks in again' etc.

    Good luck.
    Sandy

  3. #3
    more ape than man timmhaan's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2003
    Location
    nyc
    Posts
    8,093
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    yeah, i get this too. it's a very real training problem. i call it the bad attitude and i get kinda mad and just want the ride to end. i hate when i get like this.

    a few things that might help: have a couple of destinations in mind for your longer rides. i like to ride near the water, so i try to save that for the last part of my ride when i'm really tired. it makes me feel a little better. instead of out and back, you could maybe add a point inbetween that you'd like to go to.

    ride much slower for the first half. treat it like a warm up almost, then hopefully, you'll be itching for some speed on the way back and it'll be more enjoyable having an abdunance of energy.

    shorten the rides - your body may be ready, but you're mentally not there yet. try ending a ride with the attitute that "i could have ridden longer". it'll make you look forward to your next ride.

  4. #4
    Used to be a climber.. GuitarWizard's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Location
    North Providence, RI
    My Bikes
    None at the moment
    Posts
    6,821
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    I would get this on longer rides that would incorporate much of the same route back home. The first half is "fun", as you're off exploring and what not, but then you reach the turnaround point, and well.....it's not nearly as much fun.

    If you're heading to a particular destination, try choosing a different route to make it more of a loop instead of an out-and-back ride. Out-and-back rides are mentally more anguishing for some people.
    1999 Trek 2500 - hit by a car on it in May, 2011 and currently bikeless

  5. #5
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Posts
    63
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    I had figured out the out-and-back thing, so yesterday I did a one-way ride out to Long Island and took the train back. LI can be a bit monotonous, though, which may explain why I wasn't feeling great yesterday.

  6. #6
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Posts
    1,564
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    start eating 1 banana per hour when you ride. then see if that helps.

    really...just try it. bananas work wonders for the mind as well
    as muscles

  7. #7
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Posts
    63
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Going to try the banana thing, thanks Edzo!

  8. #8
    You need a new bike supcom's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Posts
    5,434
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    You don't say how long you consider a "long ride" to be. However...

    If you experience this effect after a couple hours of riding, then it is possible that you are bonking. Cyclists typically burn about 500-1000 calories per hour. Depending on your exertion level, half of this may be from glycogen/glocose. So, unless you are eating a lot, it is possible you are bonking. A bonk will definitely affect your motivation to continue, even if your legs do not feel tired.

    Otherwise, it sounds like you have some motivation issues. Are your rides interesting to you? If you are riding the same route time after time, you may be bored with the scenery (assuming there is any to begin with). If so, then the obvious solution is to find better routes.

    Are you suffering from lack of sleep? Sleep debt builds over time if you don't get a couple nights of good rest.

  9. #9
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    Location
    I ride where the thylacine roamed!
    My Bikes
    Lots
    Posts
    38,074
    Mentioned
    24 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    1) What is a medium to long ride?

    2) How do you define "eating diligently"?


    I do long rides .... centuries, double centuries, and longer ... and I can say that only once have I ever experienced serious mental fatigue. That was during the Last Chance 1200K - 1200 kms (750 miles), with a 90 hour time limit, riding day and night, through the most barren terrain of Colorado and Kansas. I reached a point on the second day of that ride where I felt like my brain was going to crawl out of my head and run screaming away across the fields, and I really struggled with continuing. Other than that, I rarely experience any sort of mental fatigue.

    Some things that may help:

    - eating 250 calories per hour while you are out there, and possibly some more when you stop to take a break. If your calories are depleted, one of the early signs of bonking is mental difficulties

    - drinking about one 750 ml bottle of water and/or sports drink every 1 to 1.5 hours while you are out there. Dehydration can make you feel tired.

    - vary your routes. I know for me, if I ride the same route all the time, I get very bored. During the summer I do a long ride pretty much every weekend. To keep it interesting, I look at the map and think, "Where do I want to go this weekend?" and then one weekend I'll head north, the next I might head south, the next east, and so on. When I can I will also travel to other parts of the province, country, and world to cycle.

    - use loop routes. If you are daunted by the idea of returning on the same route you just rode, plan a looped route so that you don't ride on the same road twice during your ride. That way you see something different the whole way around.

    - think! This is something I do a lot of when I'm out there. I think about the houses and farms I pass. If I go by an old homestead, I think about what life was like way back then, and why they picked that spot to build the homestead and so on. I've redesigned many, many barns and other structures into residental houses with different room configurations ... and I've gone so far as to decorate them and everything. If I'm struggling a bit, I try to think of all the words to various songs ... The Twelve Days of Christmas is one of my favorites because it is long! I count and calculate. I'll count various things along the road. Or I break the total distance of my ride down into fractions: halves, quarters, eighths, sixteenths, etc., and then I might also do various calculations with those numbers. I'll think about what I want to be doing in 5 years time ... or what I would do if I won a million dollars ... or whatever. I can get lost in thought and before I know it, I've covered 20 or 30 kms!

  10. #10
    Fattest Thin Man Az B's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Location
    Directly above the center of the earth
    My Bikes
    Miyata 610, Vinco V, Rocky Mountain Element
    Posts
    2,649
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    I had that problem on my first century for this year a couple of weeks ago. About mile 65 or 70, my butt started hurting and I started focusing on the pain. I stopped at a couple of rest stops and considered getting a ride in the sag.

    But I was riding with a friend that is in his late 60 early 70s, and I'm at least a couple decades younger so figured I better do it. I also felt bad about making him finish the ride by himself.

    The moral of the story is that we finished the ride. The pain actually subsided a bit at about 80 miles and I really enjoyed the rest of the ride. In fact, I felt really good when I finished, like I could have kept riding.

    Sometimes, you just have to turn the brain off. You can be your own worst enemy.

    Az

  11. #11
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Posts
    63
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    As an example, last week I went on a ride to a section of NJ I had never been to before, it was a beautiful route, not too difficult, good company, stopped at a diner at about mile 30 and didn't feel right for the rest of the day.

    Last year on the five-boro bike tour (40 slow miles) I had the same thing afterwards.

    In general I force myself to eat a granola bar or something every 90 minutes or so, even when I'm not hungry, but the thought of eating more is repulsive.

  12. #12
    Killing Rabbits
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Posts
    4,670
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Ok nobody mentioned tryptophan yet so I will shoot. Basically, the amino acids' levels rise during exercise, due to protein breakdown. It then enters the brain making you FEEL tired. It is sometimes called the sandman amino. Popping some BCAA might help in that BCAAs and tryptophan compete for the same biochemical pathways.

    http://www.pponline.co.uk/encyc/0336.htm

  13. #13
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    Location
    I ride where the thylacine roamed!
    My Bikes
    Lots
    Posts
    38,074
    Mentioned
    24 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by chancho
    As an example, last week I went on a ride to a section of NJ I had never been to before, it was a beautiful route, not too difficult, good company, stopped at a diner at about mile 30 and didn't feel right for the rest of the day.

    Last year on the five-boro bike tour (40 slow miles) I had the same thing afterwards.

    In general I force myself to eat a granola bar or something every 90 minutes or so, even when I'm not hungry, but the thought of eating more is repulsive.
    Sounds to me like you are NOT eating enough. A granola bar is only about 100 calories. 100 calories every 90 minutes isn't adequate.

    You can train yourself to eat more ... start by realizing that you don't have to eat the whole granola bar at one time. Try this ... about 15 minutes into the ride, take a bite of your granola bar - just one bite. About 10 minutes later, take another bite. About 10 minutes later, take another bite. Start in on the next granola bar 10 minute after you've finished the first.

    You might also consider using something with more calories than a granola bar, like an energy bar. They've usually got about 250 calories, and if you can make your way through one of those an hour, you should be good.

    I use a Bento bag to help me with the nibbling. I keep two energy bars in it, and it is really easy to eat then when they are in the Bento bag right in front of me.

  14. #14
    Scottish Canuck in the US blue_nose's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    San Diego, CA
    My Bikes
    Trek 2100, Cervélo Carbon Soloist
    Posts
    1,181
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by Machka
    Sounds to me like you are NOT eating enough. A granola bar is only about 100 calories. 100 calories every 90 minutes isn't adequate.
    +1

    I posted this article in another thread and it helped me with nutrition on longer rides:

    http://www.ultracycling.com/nutrition/calories.html

    One other thing to consider is to simply make sure you enjoy the ride. I have a habit of burying my head down and grinding out the miles. This can get boring. Make sure you set your hand on the hoods every now and again, sit up high, take a good deep breath and just enjoy scenery.

  15. #15
    Banned. The_Look's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Location
    O-Town
    Posts
    35
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by Machka
    1)
    - think! This is something I do a lot of when I'm out there. I think about the houses and farms I pass. If I go by an old homestead, I think about what life was like way back then, and why they picked that spot to build the homestead and so on. I've redesigned many, many barns and other structures into residental houses with different room configurations ... and I've gone so far as to decorate them and everything. If I'm struggling a bit, I try to think of all the words to various songs ... The Twelve Days of Christmas is one of my favorites because it is long! I count and calculate. I'll count various things along the road. Or I break the total distance of my ride down into fractions: halves, quarters, eighths, sixteenths, etc., and then I might also do various calculations with those numbers. I'll think about what I want to be doing in 5 years time ... or what I would do if I won a million dollars ... or whatever. I can get lost in thought and before I know it, I've covered 20 or 30 kms!

    I'm using all of those tomorrow morning.

  16. #16
    Senior Member Jarery's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Location
    Coquitlam
    Posts
    2,538
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Ipod
    Jarery

    -If you cant see it from space, its not a real hill
    -If two bikes are going in the same direction, ITS A RACE!

  17. #17
    Senior Member CTAC's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Posts
    387
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    1 Thread(s)
    If nothing else works I'm saying to myself that I'm quitting what I'm doing (riding, swimming, working etc.) ... in 5 minutes. And then another 5 minutes, and another, until it is done or it is no longer just mental fatigue and I'm just unable to move.

  18. #18
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Posts
    63
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by blue_nose
    +1

    I posted this article in another thread and it helped me with nutrition on longer rides:

    http://www.ultracycling.com/nutrition/calories.html
    Very interesting article, thanks!

  19. #19
    Its Freakin HammerTime!!! C_Heath's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2004
    Location
    Off the back @ 188 BPM's
    My Bikes
    2008 Felt F3 :)
    Posts
    2,251
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    leave cellphone at home and ride rural desolate areas you will get home.

    Im not teasing, I pretend that I have no way back. I rode 35 last week and 20 miles in, I bonked out mentally, to the point of calling my wife. Out of pride ( I was alone) I sit on the front porch of a now closed old country store for 20 minutes.

    I made it home, I didnt eat enough or drink enough. Now, even in my shape, I eat something, even its a 20 miler. Gatorade and a bananna at least.

    Everyone has your problem, just get through it, it will feel like a victory when you roll back into the driveway.

    Good Luck
    Quote Originally Posted by rousseau View Post
    I don't like any other exercise or sports, really.
    ....

    http://www.xxcycle.com/logo_w150h100/bmc.jpg

  20. #20
    Its Freakin HammerTime!!! C_Heath's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2004
    Location
    Off the back @ 188 BPM's
    My Bikes
    2008 Felt F3 :)
    Posts
    2,251
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Edit***

    The quote "even in my shape" made it sound like I was a superior athelete. Im 5'10" 194 pounds and out of shape but Im cranking out a hundred a week.

    Sry if I mislead

    go gettum
    Quote Originally Posted by rousseau View Post
    I don't like any other exercise or sports, really.
    ....

    http://www.xxcycle.com/logo_w150h100/bmc.jpg

  21. #21
    Two H's!!! TWO!!!!! chephy's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Location
    Toronto, ON
    Posts
    4,163
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by chancho
    It seems like this fatigue often sets in when my body feels fine and I have plenty of energy left in my legs. If I go out a long distance and have to come back, the mental fatigue will hit me as soon as I stop at my turn-around point, so I feel like it may have something to do with my adrenaline level dropping.
    Yes, I have this too! I did a couple of tours last summer, and had those problems both times - just didn't feel like biking on the way back. I haven't figured out a solution for this yet. Maybe I'll try taking different routes back, that have something interesting about them, like the scenery...

  22. #22
    Senior Member DannoXYZ's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Location
    Saratoga, CA
    Posts
    11,495
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    caffeine... triple-shot espresso.... intravenously....

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •