Advice with regaining fitness and having a severe lack of motivation

A light bike doesn't replace good fitness.

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simurs4
Posts: 51
Joined: Mon Apr 09, 2012 11:32 am
Location: Rosenheim, Germany

by simurs4

Long post ahead, just a prior warning!
I am definately more of a lurker on these forums, happy to poke around and just enjoy cycling. Lately though I have been suffering from a major motivational drop.
It began last year, when I left my home of Australia to move to Germany for a new job. This was a challenge in on itself and ate up alot of time, which was not a problem, but I was still able to fit in my usual 400-500km a week mileage upto the point that I left Oz, in April and I was sitting on an FTP of around 290w, which I was wrapped with.

I was not able to bring a bike with me, as my money was tied up elsewhere, the plan was that they would be shipped along with all of our belongings, when my fiance joined me in Germany 7 months later. so I was essentially bikeless for that amount of time. I did buy an old steelie for a couple hundred € so that I wasn't doing zero exercise, but it was not enough.

Fast foward and I have now been here for almost a year, I have all my bikes and everything should be great. I have perfect roads, scenery and mountains at my doorstep, only I cannot get back into the swing of things. We are planning our wedding for later this year and are currently furninshing our new apartment, so there is alot going on that is eating into my available cycling time.

My commute to work back home was around 40km each way, which I did 4 days a week, and my current distance to work about 65km each way, so a decent chunk further.
So far this year I have only racked up a measly 600km, only being able to ride 1 day a week, as winter weather is still hanging around and I am not quite used to it, as it is much different to Melbourne weather. It also doesn't help that I have gone from 69kg from April last year to 77kg today :(.

I completed my first commute to work last week, and loved it. I had to ride in total darkness for about 2 hrs, which I was unfamiliar with, but enjoyed it none-the-less.
I wanted to ride today but somehow mentally talked myself out of it, which I am kicking myself over, as this would be not helping my cause.
It probably doesn't help that in my mind, my 290w FTP still exists, only in reality, it is currently more like 150w, or it just feels that way.

To get to my point, should I just HTFU and try to squeeze as much time on the bike as I can? Or should I just take it easy, not over think it and not try to force it?

RTW
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by RTW

There’s a fine balance between making yourself go out when you don’t really want to, and then enjoying it anyway; and going out and hating it. You don’t want to do the latter!

It sounds to me like you have A LOT on. Having moved to Germany myself years ago, there will be a cultural change. Trying to find your groove and get into the swing of it will be tough, so don’t be hard on yourself.

My advice is to concentrate on enjoying the riding you are doing. You’re in a new area, so you have new roads and those can be great for motivation. Set yourself a smaller target - say 100km a week. Relatively easy to achieve and exceed, which is important. It means you can feel good about hitting your target week to week. Focusing on your old FTP and old mileages isn’t helping you. You are in a different place in your life now, with different stresses and strains. You need to invest enough time in non cycling activities too, especially in a new country.

Germany has lots of cycling clubs which may help with motivation too.
Your cycling kit is one size too big!

by Weenie


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onemanpeloton
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Location: Edinburgh, UK

by onemanpeloton

I agree with the above, don't be so hard on yourself

There will be days when you force yourself to ride and you'll be glad you did, but on the days that you choose not to ride, just own that decision and don't beat yourself up. Riding should be fun so do it as and when you can/want. Once you're in a better routine then the extra miles/training will come.

If you're serious about performance then get yourself a turbo trainer but it sounds like once you have your life settled down and the weather improves, you won't have any problem getting out and riding
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RTW
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by RTW

I was giving this some more thought while riding across London to the office. The problem most of us have is that we only really consider ourselves to have been proper cyclists when we were doing the most riding we ever did. When we back away from that, we feel that our identity as cyclists isn't truly justified. This is BS.

Anyone who is into bicycles is a cyclist, regardless of their actual performance or KM in their legs. Riding your bike 5 times a week, or riding it 1 time every two weeks doesn't mean you are less of a cyclist.

Congratulate yourself for what you can do, as the chap above says own a decision not to ride and don't beat yourself up.

Chances are you will be a more rounded person!
Your cycling kit is one size too big!

simurs4
Posts: 51
Joined: Mon Apr 09, 2012 11:32 am
Location: Rosenheim, Germany

by simurs4

Thanks for the kind words! It has been refreshing reading them.
There certainly is alot going on currently, I have been joking with my partner that this year is mostly a write off, as so much is happening and still needs to happen before the year is done, but that 2020 is kind of a clean slate for us, as we would be officially set up here and all of the wedding chaos is done.

The main thing that has hit me, that was pointed on by RTW, is going from a high amount of cycling, which I had kept up for the last 3 years, with zero crashes, injuries, overtraining etc to doing next to nothing. This has been the biggest hurdle for me to deal with. My Mrs just thinks I am over reacting and it is total nonsense, but the mind does what it does!

I think I just need to calm down abit, not treat it so seriously and just enjoy cycling in new areas for the time being. I have gone for a couple of rides into the mountains already, no Garmin, no power meter, just myself and the bike, which I enjoyed thoroughly. I think I just need to embrace that way of thinking more.
There is a bike shop, in a town nearby, which I have befriended and are starting to do sunday group rides, with the improving weather. So that will be my next point of call.

bilwit
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Location: Seattle, WA

by bilwit

I think the best thing to do, at least in my experience, is to just take a step back and don't worry about the numbers (power, mileage, anything). Just ride whenever and however you feel content. I think once you start to appreciate just riding again, the motivation to really get back into training will follow.

I was in a slump recently after trying to chase my former FTP and getting super stressed out about getting my rides in, weekly TSS, etc and it eventually came to the point
where I'd ask myself wtf I was doing half way through an interval workout and just hopped off. For me, just getting back to unstructured rides whenever I wanted and not riding to power at all helped bring back the joy in cycling for me and coincidentally my fitness eventually came through despite lack of intensity.

AJS914
Posts: 3142
Joined: Tue Jan 28, 2014 6:52 pm

by AJS914

I raced for 7 years in my twenties and then just hung up the bike for 10 years after that. I got really burned out on the grind of training, driving to races, racing, and then driving home. I had found whatever genetic limits I was going to find on 10 hours a week of training while working full time and not having any other life and there was nowhere else to go.

I regret those 10 years off the bike. I wish I had been able to reorient myself to 5 hours a week of riding, having fun on a Sunday group ride even if I wasn't at the front crushing everybody, and then maybe picking 3 fun events per year (centuries, fondos, cycling vacations, etc) to train for so I would have had a goal in mind.

You've also had major disruptions in your life. All of the cycling habits you had have fallen apart. I've moved twice in the last two years for my wife's job and it's hard to get the inertia up again to rebuild one's good habits. So, I'd encourage you to make a conscious effort to rebuild your good cycling habits - things like putting a good group/club ride on your weekend calendar, joining a new gym if you had done that in the past, riding the trainer a couple of days per week if needed to maintain fitness, etc.

The other thing to think of is starting at zero with base miles. Just go out and pedal easy. I guarantee that after 20 easy rides your legs will start to feel good again and you'll want to do more.

After my last move to a place with snow and time off the bike, I jump started my spring by saying I was going to ride 14 days in a row. It was just super easy 15-20 mile rides. It got my butt in shape for sitting on a saddle. I think it also helped enormously because it just got me into the habit/routine of getting all my gear together and getting on the bike. I think I actually made 10 of those 14 days but after that two week period it was easy to continue riding.

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DonutBoy
Posts: 15
Joined: Fri Dec 11, 2009 9:06 pm

by DonutBoy

Plan in a big race / sportive - that works for me. The fear of undue suffering / getting spat out the back gets me out training. Then the endorphins flow. Plenty to pick from in your new neck of the woods https://radmarathon.at/. Enjoy & good luck.

iheartbianchi
Posts: 218
Joined: Sun Mar 24, 2019 9:17 am

by iheartbianchi

simurs4 wrote:
Wed Apr 10, 2019 8:14 am
Long post ahead, just a prior warning!
I am definately more of a lurker on these forums, happy to poke around and just enjoy cycling. Lately though I have been suffering from a major motivational drop.
It began last year, when I left my home of Australia to move to Germany for a new job. This was a challenge in on itself and ate up alot of time, which was not a problem, but I was still able to fit in my usual 400-500km a week mileage upto the point that I left Oz, in April and I was sitting on an FTP of around 290w, which I was wrapped with.

I was not able to bring a bike with me, as my money was tied up elsewhere, the plan was that they would be shipped along with all of our belongings, when my fiance joined me in Germany 7 months later. so I was essentially bikeless for that amount of time. I did buy an old steelie for a couple hundred € so that I wasn't doing zero exercise, but it was not enough.

Fast foward and I have now been here for almost a year, I have all my bikes and everything should be great. I have perfect roads, scenery and mountains at my doorstep, only I cannot get back into the swing of things. We are planning our wedding for later this year and are currently furninshing our new apartment, so there is alot going on that is eating into my available cycling time.

My commute to work back home was around 40km each way, which I did 4 days a week, and my current distance to work about 65km each way, so a decent chunk further.
So far this year I have only racked up a measly 600km, only being able to ride 1 day a week, as winter weather is still hanging around and I am not quite used to it, as it is much different to Melbourne weather. It also doesn't help that I have gone from 69kg from April last year to 77kg today :(.

I completed my first commute to work last week, and loved it. I had to ride in total darkness for about 2 hrs, which I was unfamiliar with, but enjoyed it none-the-less.
I wanted to ride today but somehow mentally talked myself out of it, which I am kicking myself over, as this would be not helping my cause.
It probably doesn't help that in my mind, my 290w FTP still exists, only in reality, it is currently more like 150w, or it just feels that way.

To get to my point, should I just HTFU and try to squeeze as much time on the bike as I can? Or should I just take it easy, not over think it and not try to force it?
I would just start riding for fun for the next few months. Join a cycling group, turn off your Garmin and just go out and enjoy yourself. After a few months I think you'll be ready to start training again.
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boots2000
Posts: 1530
Joined: Mon Oct 15, 2007 9:28 pm

by boots2000

Do you also have a trainer?
Start with manageable goals- Ride every other day and only do 1 commute per week.
Other than the commute, start with short rides. Even 30 minutes is better than nothing.
Schedule this in so that you make the time for it.
Gradually increase as fitness and moral increase.
Don't set a goal of commuting 40k 4x per week. That is a recipe for burnout.

kode54
Posts: 1572
Joined: Tue May 23, 2006 9:39 pm

by kode54

Find someone to ride with...that always helps with motivation.
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Meuble
Posts: 4
Joined: Thu Jul 05, 2018 8:36 pm

by Meuble

Hmmmmm, sounds a lot like myself. FTP 290 500 Km one week, struggling the next week to bother. Lots going on, motivation low...... If you find an easy fix let me know.

Maybe it's just swings and roundabouts. It'll come back on line eventually. Perhaps a break is a good thing... Who knows? Apologies I've not been much use but you're not alone in the motivation department.

Cheerio.

by Weenie


gurk700
Posts: 224
Joined: Fri Jan 20, 2017 7:40 pm

by gurk700

I was at 277 FTP while riding average 10 hours a week. I think problem here is you're trying to replicate quantity.
For whatever reason, you don't wanna ride as much. Totally understandable. But the fact that you don't ride as much doesn't have to mean you can't get fitter.
Do an 8 hour week with intense efforts. Once you see your numbers rise again, it becomes addictive and you wanna ride more and more.

At least this is what happened to me between last year and this year. I'm still going back to peak both in CTL and FTP. Still not there but it's looking really good.
You can do it too! Just change things up!

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