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Avoiding mental burnout

Old 04-16-19, 11:45 AM
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Hondo Gravel
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Avoiding mental burnout

No ride today I just donít feel like it. 70 road-gravel miles on Sun-Mon Iím mentally burned out though physically I could ride today. I know a day off will make tomorrowís ride great. Today will be dedicated to all things chores Moderation has never been a strong point for me. After 24 years of riding Iíve finally learned that off days are better for the long term goals. Started cycling seriously in 1995 at age 27 after years of team sports. Teams where hard to keep together because everyoneís priorities change. Cycling is a great sport that can be down solo.
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Old 04-16-19, 12:40 PM
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I'm having a tough time getting back to regular rides after my winter lull. Partly, I'm blaming the weather for being so inconsistent lately. But a lot of it is just pure laziness on my part. I sure feel a lot better though when I do ride regularly three or more times per week and get in at least a 40 mile ride on one of them.

I think with me it's an addiction to adrenaline or something that my body produces when doing fast rides near and into anaerobic levels. Just haven't got enough of those type rides done this year yet.
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Old 04-16-19, 02:45 PM
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I mostly commute these days, so those miles have a purpose, getting somewhere on time. I slack on recreational rides because I live in the desert with year-round riding and I've been pretty much everywhere locally. More of a mental problem! Even when I lived with "riding season" I'd become uninspired by any route options.
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Old 04-16-19, 02:57 PM
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I'm not sure if it's burnout, but I've been unusually tired the past few months (probably still due to a thyroid imbalance), so rather than plan my rides and workouts I just go by how I feel that day -- subject to change after a 30 minute warmup. Sometimes I feel better than expected and push harder or ride farther or longer. Some days it just doesn't happen and I keep the rides to around 20 miles or so.

And I've skipped the hard interval training this year. Mostly I'm focusing on steadier efforts over 20-30 miles, with a few 10-20 minute efforts where it's hard to carry on a conversation without being breathless. That's mostly on some familiar loops and circuits, popular routes with other local roadies.

My main problem is boredom after 30 miles solo. I usually prefer riding with someone else for longer rides, so I'll try to do a few group rides a month for 40-50 mile overall rides. Those are usually conversational pace, often on my hybrid. The relaxed bike encourages me to not turn every ride into a workout.
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Old 04-16-19, 05:16 PM
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Originally Posted by canklecat View Post
............. I'll try to do a few group rides a month for 40-50 mile overall rides. Those are usually conversational pace, often on my hybrid. The relaxed bike encourages me to not turn every ride into a workout.
Interesting concept about the bike style helping you ride more leisurely. I might need to look into that myself. I can't see me on a hybrid, but maybe a beach cruiser or old style roadster. If I could learn to ride leisurely, then maybe I could get my wife on a bike.
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Old 04-16-19, 06:35 PM
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Don't beat yourself up over not riding. If you don't feel like going out that day then don't. Maybe do something else bike related like cleaning and lubing your bike. Personally I can't ride more than 3 days in a row anyway so taking a day off every so often is not even a question..
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Old 04-17-19, 11:55 AM
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How does taking a day off equate to mental burnout? To me, burnout means you are totally tired of an activity and don't feel like doing it anymore. Taking a one day off is not the same thing.
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Old 04-17-19, 12:22 PM
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I stared Riding in The 50's , sucked at team sports , had to do 4 years in the Military
and after that, just kept on riding .

go , to see.
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Old 04-17-19, 02:17 PM
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I ride pretty much every day, mostly to get to work and back. And yes ... there are times I have to force myself to do it. But once I start riding, that feeling lasts all of about 100 yards.

My advice is to force yourself out there. Once you're out, if you're not feeling like riding, turn back and do something else.
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Old 04-22-19, 09:35 AM
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I feel like a diesel engine on a cold morning. After about 30 minutes I feel great on the bike the endorphins kick in and everything is great. I’m going to force myself on the bike Then back to battling oak wilt with a chainsaw.
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Old 04-22-19, 12:51 PM
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Just thinking about riding means youíll keep going.
A little burnout normal....
But go a week or so without a ride,
burnout or not , you want to ride.

No rides thru Winter ...Aaaarg
super motivation
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Old 04-22-19, 02:58 PM
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I do many short rides around town for shopping, post office or a lap of 4-5 miles around the local state park that has fine views of Narragansett Bay. Sundays is a club ride of 40 -50 miles for me. These club rides could be anywhere in Rhode Island but the state is so small that with a meet-up point a 20 minute drive from home, a very large area with hundreds of miles of rural roads opens up. This keeps riding fresh and interesting. It works out that with a fairly high rural population density the area, counter-intuitively, has many roads with low traffic.
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Old 04-23-19, 09:10 PM
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I get tired of riding occasionally.

I spend most of my time on my roadie, but when the burnout hits, I'll switch to my mtb for a few rides. I also hike, lift, and do cardio at the gym, so I try to keep things mixed up a bit.
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Old 05-03-19, 10:13 PM
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Apologies if this response is repetitive.

i commit myself to some really inspirational rides every year and the weekly (less interesting) ones donít seem like drudgery.
Olympic Peninsula ride, Mt Rainier area ride, Utah ride. They donít have to be EPIC from a mileage perspective.

and 3-4 days a week is plenty of training, properly structured.



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Old 05-03-19, 11:33 PM
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Originally Posted by fietsbob View Post
I stared Riding in The 50's , sucked at team sports , had to do 4 years in the Military
and after that, just kept on riding .

go , to see.
What is "go, to see"?
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Old 05-04-19, 04:39 AM
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Originally Posted by canklecat View Post
I'm not sure if it's burnout, but I've been unusually tired the past few months (probably still due to a thyroid imbalance), so rather than plan my rides and workouts I just go by how I feel that day -- subject to change after a 30 minute warmup. Sometimes I feel better than expected and push harder or ride farther or longer. Some days it just doesn't happen and I keep the rides to around 20 miles or so.

And I've skipped the hard interval training this year. Mostly I'm focusing on steadier efforts over 20-30 miles, with a few 10-20 minute efforts where it's hard to carry on a conversation without being breathless. That's mostly on some familiar loops and circuits, popular routes with other local roadies.

My main problem is boredom after 30 miles solo. I usually prefer riding with someone else for longer rides, so I'll try to do a few group rides a month for 40-50 mile overall rides. Those are usually conversational pace, often on my hybrid. The relaxed bike encourages me to not turn every ride into a workout.
I too have a Thyroid problem. It can mess with all aspects of one's life, especially if untreated. It took me over a year to find that out back in 2008 or so . I only rode when I was in the mood and that wasn't often.After treatment, I ride a lot , even at 64 years old I still find time to do nice rides. I look forward to getting on one of my trusty steeds and getting pedal time. Always a highlight of my week. Riding my bike(s) is important in so many ways , similar to a healthy Thyroid! Joe
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Old 05-04-19, 05:11 AM
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change your playlist, your route, your time of day, your level of exertion, your mode, your usual area of riding...

add some maria callas, black sabbath, waylon, mahler or erykah badu to the playlist. if you don't have one, try it.
go down a few dead-end roads you never go down because they're dead-ends. head counter-clockwise vs your usual wind-friendly clockwise route.
construct a perfect 15-??? mile route(s) for a potential visiting cycling friend/recommendation in your area and ride it noting hazards, support, scenic spots.
leave 15 mins earlier or later than usual. get some decent lights and do a night ride in the warming weather once a week.
do some intervals. stay in zone 1 the whole ride. go farther. go slower. hit that crazy hill and walk some of it if you have to. stop for lunch or an espresso someplace new.
hit some dirt. hit some road. do both. work on your bike handling. walk when you have to. push your limitations.
ride your other faster/slower bike. change out the tires for skinnier/fatter ones. dust off/repair the mtb/road/fixie/hybrid and ride it.
throw the bike on the train, the bus or in the car and go to the next stop or three and start riding. drive for 10-15 mins and start your ride there.
ride solo if you usually ride with a group. ride with a group if you usually ride solo. register/commit to a group/organized ride and train/prepare for it.
ride more in the drops. ride less in the drops. wear that jersey you haven't worn since the beginning of time.
do a "kindness" ride by looking for/acknowledging acts of kindness from motorists (waving you through, backing up, signaling, slowing down, moving over) with a wave and a smile.
buy ice cream for the next group of kids you see at the ice cream truck. don't forget to treat yourself. answer questions about your crazy tan lines/kit. laugh at yourself.

Last edited by ooga-booga; 05-04-19 at 05:51 AM.
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Old 05-04-19, 05:44 AM
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Just one day? It can take several days or a week.

I love cycling, and generally working out too. But I can take weeks or even months off when I'm depressed. When I first injured my back I gave up on all physical activity thinking it was over for me. It took 8 years to come out of that.

When I finally determined that it wasn't over. I got back in the saddle and loved it all over again. Riding should always be fun. When it isn't, its time to take a break.
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Old 05-04-19, 07:28 AM
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The rainy weather has passed I put a some faster gravel tires and the humidity is gone. Two days rest and I’m ready to ride.
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Old 05-04-19, 07:48 AM
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Originally Posted by jasnooks View Post
What is "go, to see"?
Touring.. on my bike (Across the Pond, out of the US.. ) & day trip tours ..
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Old 05-04-19, 02:42 PM
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Avoiding mental burnout

Originally Posted by ooga-booga View Post
change your playlist, your route, your time of day, your level of exertion, your mode, your usual area of riding.........................
Seem to recall that "variety is the spice of life"

Last edited by OldTryGuy; 05-05-19 at 04:06 AM.
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Old 05-04-19, 03:34 PM
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I believe I get mental burnout more from not riding. There are days that I just do not feel like riding, but I do not think it comes from riding too much. It comes from having other things to catch up on, lack of quality sleep, or maybe just a bit of depression. I also realize that for me, having some kind of goal helps to keep me motivated to get on my bike regardless of weather or other non-riding issues/events. I always perk up if I just get out and start pedaling.
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Old 05-05-19, 09:11 AM
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I don't ride to a plan, as I prefer to be adaptive and rest when my body asks for it.
Also - I mix up the rides a lot. A few local after work rides during the week, sure. But on weekends I travel and try new roads. I'm a map junkie (really) so have a lot of fun planning new routes. Lately I've been into gravel, which has opened up huge opportunities to explore. I've been having a great deal of fun doing that. Might even try some short bike-packing trips if I can find someone to do it with.
Everyone is different. But at lest for me, rest and adventure keeps it fresh.
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Old 05-12-19, 06:30 AM
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Originally Posted by canklecat View Post
I'm not sure if it's burnout, but I've been unusually tired the past few months (probably still due to a thyroid imbalance), .....
Are you on any meds? A couple years ago my MD put me on a beta blocker because of high BP. I had no idea what a beta blocker did. I found out. It almost killed me. I couldn't get out of bed, when I did I couldn't ride the bike and I started getting depressed. I've never felt depressed in my life. My friend is a ND. She suggested 100% organic beet juice. That brought my BP to normal.
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Old 05-12-19, 02:05 PM
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Originally Posted by bruce19 View Post
Are you on any meds? A couple years ago my MD put me on a beta blocker because of high BP. I had no idea what a beta blocker did. I found out. It almost killed me. I couldn't get out of bed, when I did I couldn't ride the bike and I started getting depressed. I've never felt depressed in my life. My friend is a ND. She suggested 100% organic beet juice. That brought my BP to normal.
Yeah, that depression can be a grind and tricky to diagnose and cope with. In my case it was partly physiological -- thyroid cancer, injuries from being hit by a car last year with chronic pain -- and situational. I was my mom's caregiver for more than a decade until her physical health and dementia got so bad she had to stay in a rehab/nursing home during her final year. I had pain from old and new injuries, and was unable to work all of 2018. Wasn't sure whether I could keep my apartment and didn't have enough energy to move. But the housing issue is resolved for the rest of the year, so that's a relief.

Yup, I'm taking a few prescription meds: diclofenac anti-inflammatory; calcium and Vitamin D (there's some debate whether these actually have any benefit -- recent research indicates moderate exposure to sunlight may be more effective, so I'm riding and walking sans sunscreen this spring, for up to an hour a day); levothyroxine for thyroid. My endocrinologist will OK increases only every 6-8 weeks since it takes awhile to evaluate the effect. And because I'm in the early stage of osteoporosis they're cautious because the thyroid and parathyroid have complex functions ranging from general metabolism to bone health. My mom's bones turned to cheese-filled pretzels by the time she was in her 70s (that colorful description was from her surgeon after her femur snapped spontaneously while she was walking). I'd rather avoid that so I'm following my doctors' recommendations on prescription and OTC meds and supplements.

I'm up to 75mcg of levothyroxine now and after 6 months it's just beginning to feel like I'm regaining my energy. Checking my activity data (mostly Strava with the Elevate extension), it shows a small but consistent gradual improvement since March.

On the other hand, my cardio is very different from this time last year, before the thyroid cancer diagnosis. Back then, my resting heart rate was around 80 and my maximum HR was around 160, maybe 170, and BP tended to run a bit high-normal, 130/80. Now my BP tends to run under 120/70, usually 110/60 or so. My resting HR is in the low 60s. But I can't get my maximum HR above 150 anymore, even during maximum effort high intensity interval training.

Feels like my body is still trying to reach some sort of equilibrium. I'm impatient to get back to normal. I may ask the doc about increasing the dosage in June, but I'll do whatever she recommends.

I don't take daily meds for BP or cholesterol. Those are usually within normal range. I do have metoprolol for severe headaches -- for some reason I'm one of those oddballs for whom beta blockers are effective for relieving severe headaches like migraines. But I don't need it daily.

Occasionally I take pseudo-ephedrine for sinus congestion, which messes with my HR and BP. I'm being evaluated for a chronic sinus inflammation, and hope to discontinue the decongestants. Daily OTC antihistamines, inhalers, etc. Sometimes large doses of niacin help relieve asthma related mucous and congestion, but it's not a good idea to take too much niacin too often.

I've found that "alternative" remedies like CBD and kratom help with chronic pain and anxiety, but while my experience with small doses of those has been completely positive, I'd urge anyone to study the more credible anecdotes carefully to decide for themselves. I cringe when I read comments from people claiming they need 10 grams or more of kratom a day to have any effect. I use only 1-2g and not even every day. I suspect those folks are looking for a buzz in addition to relief from pain and anxiety, so they're verging on abusing kratom the same way they abused drugs and alcohol. And while some of my friends claim they "need" THC rather than CBD for pain and anxiety, I get the impression they crave the buzz, or have used so much for so long that they've developed a tolerance that CBD can't touch. I prefer CBD over my prescription pain meds because CBD doesn't hinder my energy or make me too lazy to exercise and ride a bike. Corny as it sounds, for me there's no better buzz than a good bike ride.

On the original topic, mental burnout, I usually have the opposite problem. I'd rather ride every day. But I'm forcing myself to take rest days to let my body recover and grow stronger. So I try to limit my hard workouts to once or twice a week, and just ride casually the other days.
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