Loss of Motivation

By Peg Labiuk | 01/09/13
Loss of Motivation

Photo: istolethetv, "Head Down" via Flickr, Creative Commons Attribution.

We’ve teamed up with Marilyn Trout, certified USA Cycling Elite Coach to answer Voler Newsletter List members’ training questions. You can view her coach profile at http://www.linkedin.com/in/mountainpedalscoaching80903 Send your cycling inquiries to Marilyn, and for a limited time, if yours is selected to be answered in our Training column, Voler will send you a $20 gift certificate that can be used towards any purchase from the Voler Store at http://www.voler.com. To submit your inquiry, e-mail her at Marilyn@MountainPedals.net, and type “Voler Training Question” in the subject line of the e-mail.

The following question was answered by Peg Labiuk (nee Peggy Maass), a colleague of Marilyn Trout, and a certified NCCP level 3 coach with a career in international road and track racing. She is a World Championship medalist, World Record holder, U.S. Olympic Team member, former British national team coach and Kreb's Cycle co-founder (British Columbia, Canada).


Hi Coach,

Hope all is well. So... strange question this time. Did about 20 races this year, mostly Crits. Thank you for your advice in the past. Lately, I've been so lazy about training, riding, going hard, etc... I've really backed off hard, multi-day training. I commute to work 20 miles, 5 days a week, ride long (70 to 100) on Saturdays, take Sunday off and normally do hard training on Tuesdays. Love my team and my cycling buddies, but any hard training rides really don't excite me lately. Even though I still feel strong, I have to force myself to ride. I can't seem to get motivated.

What am I missing? Got any suggestions?

Thank you in advance!


Since the physical and mental go hand in hand, perhaps there are some signals your body has been giving you that it wants a break?  When I need a rest, I get lethargic, sleep more, and I’m clumsier.  What are your symptoms aside from lack of desire?   I’ll suggest some solutions.  See what appeals to you:

1.  Take a 13-21 days rest break.  It even makes commuting by bike optional.  Don’t throw your leg back over that top tube until you are really missing riding.

2.  Remembering the old adage, “A change is as good as a rest”, take up a new sport for a month.  Swim, kayak, dance.  Anything but ride.  Starting something new should change your muscle patterns, so have low intensity as you are getting into the swing of it, and avoid being competitive.

3.  Get a new bike!  Take time to build it up yourself, check your position, test ride.  There’s nothing as motivating as a new ride.  It could be a single speed, cruiser or BMX!  OK, if that’s too much, how about a new toy like a Garmin, power cranks, rotor rings, or GORGEOUS NEW KIT MADE BY VOLER!

4.  Scope out new routes.  Change your scenery, find new routes for intervals, sprints, or centuries, but don’t do the efforts while scouting.

5.  Try a tandem.  Borrow or rent.  When you are comfortable, take someone out.  Are there disabled riders who need a guide?  Volunteer.

6.  Volunteer at races.  While taking a break, it is a good time to give back to the sport.  Be a course marshal at a charity run or ride.

7.  Support your system – double up on Vitamins, do a cleansing, drink Green Tea, more water, take probiotics, and adrenal supplements.  A nutritional overall should make you feel great.

Once you have taken enough of a break that you can think cycling again, then look at motivation.  Yes, it’s time to review 2012 and set goals for 2013.  I know I can’t push myself for long when I don’t have an end goal I’m shooting for.  Choose your races, your goal times or speeds or Strava segments.  Then work out your peaking plan.  

Note that resting is as important as training when you are inducing top performance.  Build in rest breaks every 3-5 weeks to head off injury, illness, and burn out.   Even then, after you peak, you still need to rest.  There’s no fighting that – what goes up, must come down.  Just enjoy the down time as a well deserved rest.

Coach Peg

p.s. - Check out previous training tip "Indoor Trainer Motivation" (Feb. '10) for other motivational suggestions.

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