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Burnout and Loss of Interest

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Burnout and Loss of Interest

Old 08-12-22, 12:28 PM
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Burnout and Loss of Interest

My hobbies throughout my life have always had three phases... the honeymoon phase of learning something new, the "I want to be the best I can be at this" phase, and then the dreaded "I think I want to do something else now" end phase where I stop. Cycling, weight lifting, shooting sports, motocross, doesn't matter, it's happened to all of them. The one that I have pretty much done off and on throughout my adult life has been cycling though. It's the freedom, the fitness, sun, scenery, etc that is virtually free and can be done anywhere, right out of my front door, or almost any place I travel to. But I always seem to drive myself into a burnout phase, whether it be one year, or four years, there's always some end point.

What do you guys do to keep it fresh and avoid burnout? Am I the odd man out when it comes to this? I'd love to get back into race shape and do some masters races, but I'm also nervous I'm just going to over do it and mentally want to pull back. Any thoughts or help appreciated!
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Old 08-12-22, 12:33 PM
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Buy or build another bike.

Spend a sedentary day at work.
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Old 08-12-22, 12:50 PM
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If you're as experienced as it sounds and masters, assuming age here, maybe you could consider lightly racing and mentoring a youth rider on your team or another team.

It's something I see some local former higher level racers do. They ease off some, still race at a lower level, but they put youth through their paces with drills or hooking them up with entry level repaired bikes or staking routes at cyclocross races or organizing things. Not being a race promotor, just being a good steward and a local sage or mentor.
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Old 08-12-22, 02:00 PM
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burnthesheep has good advice. Get involved in the community and growing the sport.

Do you have a distinct off season phase with a few months of de-training and lower TSS? I am usually quite excited to FTP test and start putting in miles over the winter. Subsequent FTP tests with higher values are equally motivating, and then I'm racing. I'm usually pretty done and tired by the time summer roles around, and I make a point of not training big every weekend and not racing for several months.

Real periodization is probably not needed for an amateur like me that tops out in the 90-100 TSS range, but I feel like it is rejuvenating mentally.
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Old 08-12-22, 06:37 PM
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Sounds like we are a lot alike; cycling is really the only thing I've done consistently (18 years now) and even then there are gaps.

I've learned that when I get a few days away from my routine, I realize how enveloped I am in it and how much better my life is without it.

Right now I'm learning languages, and the sunk cost is real so I really don't want to quit.

I'm also coding, but to be honest, once I figured out the complicated stuff it's basically a second job now. I want to launch my site because I believe in the product, but its probably going to be more pain than its worth.
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Old 08-12-22, 07:29 PM
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Originally Posted by furiousferret
I've learned that when I get a few days away from my routine, I realize how enveloped I am in it and how much better my life is without it.
I'm only 15 years in, but cycling certainly highlights how much a creature of routine that I am. Of course, there has been some strain in my personal relationships because of it. Additionally one needs to learn to be flexible and "go with the flow", which I am (slowly) improving on. Some of that is me just being hyper "Type A".

On the flip side, I also feel like my cycling habit has some pretty huge QOL perks, and overall benefits my life. I've felt that more as I've grown into mentorship, volunteer and community type roles within cycling. I could see some sort of civic/political advocacy in my future as well. I get that urge from my dad's side.
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Old 08-13-22, 09:23 AM
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Yea I just need to keep it in perspective and I think getting my two boys into mountain biking over the last 6 months has actually been great not just for them but for me as well.

I actually bought a brand new high end bike (BMC timemachine road) but it hasnít done anything motivation wise for me. Iím actually still riding my old cannondale more. I got a couple mountain bikes recently too, and I am definitely enjoying trail riding a lotÖ
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Old 08-13-22, 11:09 AM
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Ain't nothing wrong with MTB. I do some XC and endurance type mtb races every year. I usually ride it once a week.
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Old 08-13-22, 12:26 PM
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I really feel compelled to keep training because I want to keep up on our Worlds rides, and enter races. I'm aware that I sometimes go a bit overboard, but I could be obsessed with worse things. If anything, I probably suffer from the reverse, which is never feeling accomplished "enough". At 46, I'm still really enjoying my cycling, and next year I think I'll make a really concerted effort to finally get my cat 2. My plan is to get my track accreditation, race this winter, then do a full season on the road too.
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Old 08-13-22, 12:29 PM
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Now days my health keeps me from ridding like I want to. So there is no burning out. But 30 years ago there would be times I would go months without a ride or even any interest in a ride. But eventually I would find myself moving one of my bikes out of the way and notice some handle bar Tape coming loose. And then on securing it, decide to check the wheels true, and then adjust that brake cables, and then...

Happy Happy, Joy Joy...
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Old 08-15-22, 09:05 AM
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I've been through this several times. Here are two ways I've dealt with it:
  • Changing disciplines - e.g. taking up MTB or track.
  • Taking breaks. I've gotten into the habit of taking a month off of riding and training. I can still ride or lift if I want, but I don't have a plan. I generally find I lift more during that time.
For me, burnout comes from a lot of places. Disruptions, like work stress, injuries or illness, are probably the worst. Then comes repetition. I don't mind doing the same rides ever week with the same people, but do we have to discuss all the intricacies of the ride over beers afterward? Can't we talk about something else?
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Old 09-28-22, 05:46 PM
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Originally Posted by procrit
What do you guys do to keep it fresh and avoid burnout? Am I the odd man out when it comes to this? I'd love to get back into race shape and do some masters races, but I'm also nervous I'm just going to over do it and mentally want to pull back. Any thoughts or help appreciated!
That's a tough one for me as well. What usually happens is that I get really serious about riding and racing again, dabble in it at a somewhat serious level, and then life happens and I stop. In my case it was everything surrounding Covid.

What's always been my inspiration for getting back into it? Gaining weight and feeling like **** being a mostly sedentary person. I then come to the realization that I need to get fit again and compete. This cycle can only repeat itself a few more times, though, as I'm running a bit out of time at 52. Being 35 pounds overweight at this point has been a wake up call for me. I mostly feel like **** a lot of the time and can't WAIT to race again. I don't suggest this method, though! Not sure if any of this helps.
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Old 10-04-22, 06:27 PM
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I've always enjoyed the racing. I tried very hard to do intervals when I first started racing, and it totally burned me out. Since I like racing more than I like training, I decided to focus on the racing. I didn't do intervals for 30 years (1984 to 2015) until I signed up for an experiment that used VO2Max intervals in early 2015. Probably limited my development but I always enjoyed racing.

Also, as a rider not even close to being pro or whatever, I was never under the pressure to "do better". I enjoy doing the best I can, and when I'm particularly good (for me), it just means more pressure.

I think that my non-interval approach to training has allowed me to enjoy racing even after 40 seasons (a few pretty short due to Covid, but a solid 10 years of racing 40-55 races a year at a time where I didn't do midweek races).

So I say stop with the intervals and have fun on the bike.
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Old 10-05-22, 06:43 AM
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Originally Posted by carpediemracing
Also, as a rider not even close to being pro or whatever, I was never under the pressure to "do better". I enjoy doing the best I can, and when I'm particularly good (for me), it just means more pressure.
This is a great point. When I first switched to track racing, I was having a ton of fun. I was just racing and it turns out, I started winning.

Then as the season progressed, I started thinking about my place in the season standings. And then the results started to matter. I started to feel the anxiety creep in.

Since then, I really try to focus on just enjoying myself and having fun. Every now and again, the anxiety returns, but I try to be more cognizant of it.
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Old 10-05-22, 07:00 AM
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Originally Posted by carpediemracing
I've always enjoyed the racing. I tried very hard to do intervals when I first started racing, and it totally burned me out. Since I like racing more than I like training, I decided to focus on the racing. I didn't do intervals for 30 years (1984 to 2015) until I signed up for an experiment that used VO2Max intervals in early 2015. Probably limited my development but I always enjoyed racing.

Also, as a rider not even close to being pro or whatever, I was never under the pressure to "do better". I enjoy doing the best I can, and when I'm particularly good (for me), it just means more pressure.

I think that my non-interval approach to training has allowed me to enjoy racing even after 40 seasons (a few pretty short due to Covid, but a solid 10 years of racing 40-55 races a year at a time where I didn't do midweek races).

So I say stop with the intervals and have fun on the bike.
I'd like to add that there are many on the opposite of the training/racing fence, like myself. Racing takes a lot of time and energy away from relaxing at home, especially since there aren't many events in San Diego any more. If there was a crit series within an hour from home, I'd support it every time.

I learned during the pandemic that I like the training as much (maybe more???) than the actual racing. It gives me something to be disciplined about and execute on, and leaves me feeling great for much of the day after. Just my personality type.
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Old 03-07-23, 08:18 PM
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I think there is a difference between a hobbyist and a cyclist. I know cyclists that have been in it their entire lives and always will be, and I am talking about seventy and eighty year age brackets. I am in my 60s and have always ridden a bike and always wanted to ride more than I ever was able. I feel about cycling at 60 like I did when I was five, want to do it, will be smiling when I do it, and want to explore new things and limits with it.
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Old 03-09-23, 08:49 AM
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There is a big difference between riding and racing.

Riding can be fun.

Racing requires dedicated and focused effort. It is amazing how much work it takes to be a mediocre racers. And the constant training and focus required to be a successful racer can lead to burnout.
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Old 09-10-23, 11:46 PM
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Old 09-13-23, 02:21 PM
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