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Burn Out? Cycling Obsession? A Few Months Off Cycling?!

post #1 of 16
Thread Starter 
Over the past few years I've obsessed with cycling and held it up as my favourite activity and the key to all my problems. It has become my main escape, exercise and outlet for stress. Though after being struck hard with a virus and being physically useless for a few weeks I am starting to revise my enthusiasm.

Could it be that cycling and the psychological strain of always looking for moments to train and trying to train faster and faster has added to my physical burnout? Could it be that the hallowed activity that I have held up as the key to my health has done me harm. Has anyone else ever totally burnt out from cycling and turned their backs on it?

What I am thinking of doing (much to the horror of my "cycling" side) is quitting the road for a few months, maybe even an entire season. Somehow after 15 years of serious cycling, walking and swimming seem like they might be more fun. Like cycling is too fast and reflective of my busy day in its pace and aggression, maybe taking a silent walk would be better for me than a 10 mile time trial. Though somehow it also feels like splitting up with someone I love!

Has anyone else had a crisis of faith like this? Because surely it is a sort of faith that keeps us on the roads. I mean at times late at night the fear of a serious cycling accident can make one think of never getting on a bike again! Anyhow, It would be good to hear other people’s stories. I am especially interested to hear from people who have quit cycling for a while then returned maybe months or years later. Do they feel better for the time off, or are they upset at time wasted. I also have a big fear that even if I keep myself at a high level of fitness with other activities, I will get on my bike and find myself useless.
post #2 of 16

Re: Burn Out? Cycling Obsession? A Few Months Off Cycling?!

I hear you and I know where you are coming from.

Lately I have been unable to train for two reasons. First there was a cycling induced foot injury and secondly a nasty virus. I did realise that I hadn't had more than two days off cycling since a bike last put me in hospital and I also realised that I wasn't going to die or turn into a huge blob over night.

It did make it hard when returning to cycling which is what hurried me back on the bike and I think is what may be the cause of all our refusals to have a break; the thought of us losing our hard earned fitness.

I did miss being out on the bike but at the same time it was nice to just to take it easy and it gave me so much more time during the day. It makes life easy not to cycle.

When it comes down to it I would love to allow myself to just go out for a gentle ride a few times a week at my pleasure but I cant bare the thought that I am not riding as well as I possibly can and that I am not maintaining my fitness. Maybe this attitude will be the death of cycling for me!
post #3 of 16

Re: Burn Out? Cycling Obsession? A Few Months Off Cycling?!

I have stopped cycling for 6 months and I don’t recommend. Every time I saw someone riding I regretted my decision. At first it is great. I had more time to do everything else I like, and I never feel tired, but it is very hard to stay away from cycling after you spent a long time riding every day.
post #4 of 16

Re: Burn Out? Cycling Obsession? A Few Months Off Cycling?!

I think a key difference is between "training" and just "riding". Years ago, I raced some and I found that any time I was not on the bike and training I felt that I was losing fitness, and the other riders were getting better than myself. And then it got to where I would question my training, thinking that every one else was surely training better than me. Riding in a race, or with my training pals was ok, but the rest of the time there was a cloud hanging over me.

Well, I eventually moved to a place where I could only rarely ride so I was pretty much off the bike for ten years. Then I moved again to a more bike friendly area and got back on. However, this time even though I ride with fast groups and "train" some, if I can't hang on in a ride, it doesnt bother me (well, maybe a little bit). And my training is based on what I feel like doing. No racing, and no cloud hanging any more.

FWIW
post #5 of 16

Re: Burn Out? Cycling Obsession? A Few Months Off Cycling?!

Wow what a bummer, fortunately hasn't happened to me yet.
post #6 of 16

Re: Burn Out? Cycling Obsession? A Few Months Off Cycling?!

Re Richard Dawkins;

"The universe we observe has precisely the properties we should expect if there was and is no design, no purpose, no evil and no good, nothing but blind pitiless indifference - Prof Dawkins my hero!"

Ahhh....he's not my hero. A friend gave me "The Blind Watchmaker"(I used to be a watch/clockmaker for real) and I slowly/painfully worked my way through most of it(I've done 2 degrees, a teaching diploma and various short courses - so not entirely stupid!!) and found it to be one of the hardest to read books I had come across. He argues for a "design sense" in the world. He's an evolutionist. How could there be a "design sense" for him when he doesn't believe in a designer?!

From your quote above - may be he's just refering to the physical universe but he certainly couldn't be refering to more than that - from where come alturism, love, jealousy etc?
post #7 of 16

Re: Burn Out? Cycling Obsession? A Few Months Off Cycling?!


Has anyone else had a crisis of faith like this? Because surely it is a sort of faith that keeps us on the roads. I mean at times late at night the fear of a serious cycling accident can make one think of never getting on a bike again! Anyhow, It would be good to hear other people’s stories. I am especially interested to hear from people who have quit cycling for a while then returned maybe months or years later. Do they feel better for the time off, or are they upset at time wasted. I also have a big fear that even if I keep myself at a high level of fitness with other activities, I will get on my bike and find myself useless.
[/QUOTE]
I think you need to ask yourself some bigger questions;

Why do you ride?
For some it's social reasons etc not just to race and be fit.
If it's social do you feel like you'll drop out of a whole group of people's consciousness if you stop riding with them.

Does your self esteem rest in being a good rider? or being fit etc?
If it does - why does it?
What else could you have going on in your life to give you joy, confidence etc?

Are you a gear fan? I like bikes etc, not just riding so that is part of it for me.

What else can you do to get keep fit? Amazingly some cross training(or not riding at all) could get you more fit.

What else could you use your spare, non riding time for?

Hope this gets you thinking, Paul
post #8 of 16

Re: Burn Out? Cycling Obsession? A Few Months Off Cycling?!

Quote:
Originally Posted by howierart
Over the past few years I've obsessed with cycling and held it up as my favourite activity and the key to all my problems. It has become my main escape, exercise and outlet for stress. Though after being struck hard with a virus and being physically useless for a few weeks I am starting to revise my enthusiasm.

Could it be that cycling and the psychological strain of always looking for moments to train and trying to train faster and faster has added to my physical burnout? Could it be that the hallowed activity that I have held up as the key to my health has done me harm. Has anyone else ever totally burnt out from cycling and turned their backs on it?

What I am thinking of doing (much to the horror of my "cycling" side) is quitting the road for a few months, maybe even an entire season. Somehow after 15 years of serious cycling, walking and swimming seem like they might be more fun. Like cycling is too fast and reflective of my busy day in its pace and aggression, maybe taking a silent walk would be better for me than a 10 mile time trial. Though somehow it also feels like splitting up with someone I love!

Has anyone else had a crisis of faith like this? Because surely it is a sort of faith that keeps us on the roads. I mean at times late at night the fear of a serious cycling accident can make one think of never getting on a bike again! Anyhow, It would be good to hear other people’s stories. I am especially interested to hear from people who have quit cycling for a while then returned maybe months or years later. Do they feel better for the time off, or are they upset at time wasted. I also have a big fear that even if I keep myself at a high level of fitness with other activities, I will get on my bike and find myself useless.
Some years ago I was so excited about the oncoming racing season that I burnt out by the end of the first racing month after 4 races, I was overtrained and caught a virus due to completely crumbled immune system and was effectively off the bike for 2 weeks and then again for 2 weeks.
I reconsidered my approach to cycling since then. As I'm not a natural born racer, I like to race but not too much. that's why:
- I started running, swimming and skiing in off-season;
- I cut down my training volume to maintain a desire to ride and race throughout the whole season. If I ride 12-15 hours/week I burn out too fast.
- I stopped riding uninteresting places, routes, road or off-road just for training effect save that's impossible to avoid; for example I try to avoid roads as much as possible. It stipulates the next rule: I do little structured training.
- And I don't race too often.

But I'm still so obsessed with cycling that I break my rules sometimes with disastrous results.
post #9 of 16

Re: Burn Out? Cycling Obsession? A Few Months Off Cycling?!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bigbananabike
Re Richard Dawkins;

"The universe we observe has precisely the properties we should expect if there was and is no design, no purpose, no evil and no good, nothing but blind pitiless indifference - Prof Dawkins my hero!"

Ahhh....he's not my hero. A friend gave me "The Blind Watchmaker"(I used to be a watch/clockmaker for real) and I slowly/painfully worked my way through most of it(I've done 2 degrees, a teaching diploma and various short courses - so not entirely stupid!!) and found it to be one of the hardest to read books I had come across. He argues for a "design sense" in the world. He's an evolutionist. How could there be a "design sense" for him when he doesn't believe in a designer?!

From your quote above - may be he's just refering to the physical universe but he certainly couldn't be refering to more than that - from where come alturism, love, jealousy etc?
Where your degrees scientific?

Dawkins says the only thing which we have evidence for with regards our emotions and that is that the feeling of love, compasion etc... are the result of such feelings being helpful to our development as a species. To me this is obvious and the only realistic means of us aquiring such feelings but I know to others equally obvious and valid is that these feelings are given to us by a creator.

I always like to think of the phenomenon of life as being similar to the phenomenon of radioactive decay, photoelectric effects, etc... We accept that things like that just happen but we dont, on the whole, accept that if you leave hydrogen, carbon, nitrogen and oxygen on a planet at just over 273 kelvin eventually life will form.
post #10 of 16

Re: Burn Out? Cycling Obsession? A Few Months Off Cycling?!

I rode mountain bikes for about 3 years and then got out of the sport for several years. I then bought a road bike and have been really working on it and am finding that I'd wished I stayed with cycling of some sort. I really enjoy and need the workout.

I suffer from depression. I have found that the hard physical activity keeps it at bay and that I don't feel so bad I am wondering if I should be on medications. It has helped my moods level out and given me a place to go and pound out my stress.

I do have a regular training plan and have tried to map out a plan with some specific goals. I don't race. I get really irritated at the aspects of personality brought out by that facet of the sport. I just use it to look into myself and find new strength from pushing myself and getting stronger. I don't ride with other people. I don't want to worry about comparing myself to them or waiting for them to keep up or if I am slowing them down.

Right now, I think it is as important to my mental health as it is to my physical health. I just get out there and punish the stress. I push myself and learn about endurance, pain (wind and hills), joy (speed) and take in the beauty of the world as it rolls by.

If it isn't fun and isn't making your life better, take some time off, or change your goals and get a new perspective on what it is that you really need from the sport and pursue it.
post #11 of 16

Re: Burn Out? Cycling Obsession? A Few Months Off Cycling?!

Quote:
Originally Posted by MichaelB
I always like to think of the phenomenon of life as being similar to the phenomenon of radioactive decay, photoelectric effects, etc... We accept that things like that just happen but we dont, on the whole, accept that if you leave hydrogen, carbon, nitrogen and oxygen on a planet at just over 273 kelvin eventually life will form.
An interesting perspective, but those examples fall on the opposite sides of the street. Radioactive decay and photoelectric effect are both means by which matter reorganizes itself to a lower energy state and more stable form, which seems to be the normal direction of flow in nature, whereas elements combining into more complex and higher energy states seems to be swimming against the natural stream. I could certainly understand a rationale for accepting one set of phenomena as natural, and another as 'designed' or 'created.'
post #12 of 16

Re: Burn Out? Cycling Obsession? A Few Months Off Cycling?!

I bought my first road bike last season I really pushed it during the spring and early summer. I put myself on a serious workout plan and was averaging 250 miles per week. When school ended, I found myself without a summer job and cycling became the only thing in my life. By late July (a day or so after the Tour de France), I just gave up. I was so sick of the sport.

I relaised this season that cycling isn't something we have to do, it's something we get to do. If it's a pain in the ass to hop on the bike each day then we really shouldn't be doing it. This year I ride when I feel like it or to relive stress and so far that's worked out great. I'm not going to win any races and my fitness may suffer, but unlike last season I'm now really enjoying my time on two wheels.
post #13 of 16
Hi i ve had a work injury to my back and have been of the bike for 3 months now just getting back to some cycling as part of my rehab and building up my weaker right hand side ive also been doing some swimming at the beach as its summer will probably continue to swim to protect the injury forever and i do enjoy swimming however i miss the bike and the crew who i usually ride with and have for 4 years here is the real quandry i have 5 months till i go to the tour de france for a cycling holiday........... so i am looking to slowly increase all activity and get back to a fitness level that will allow me to enjoy being on the bike on this holiday, but also to climb the iconic mountains in the tour ( col de maodelaine for 1 ) recovery is a physical and mental battle i have set mini goals and will continue to on my countdown to july 9th when i takeoff currently i started with a 30 minute ride then 45 minutes and im up to 1 hour which i will maintain now for 1 month and build up my speed and power. i am partly riding with my group some of the rides and keeping in touch with them on strava they are all flying and going in sportives racing etc ive never been a racer on the track but i miss the feeling of powering up a climb as currently im avoiding climbing in these early stages i was forced into time off the bike as injured i continue to make my way back slowly and look forward to my holiday and being injury free cheers Karl
post #14 of 16

'All or nothing' can be a terrible trap for endurance athletes. You turn your back on hardcore dedication, for whatever reason, how do you structure your new life? I quit rowing for similar burnout reasons, and over the next four years I gained 100lbs. For someone for whom fitness was integral to identity it was a bitter lesson. In that time I still rode, I still worked out in the gym regularly, my performance stats were still far above the average layman who doesn't train. The problem I now had was that none of it was satisfying if I didn't push myself to my limit. If I went to the gym and didn't get PB lifts I felt like crap.

 

Anyway, now I seem to be back training five days a week to undo four years of decline. So from one extreme to another, as always.

 

Burnout sucks, and honestly just fighting it won't get most of us anywhere. You need some new inspiration, a new reason to love cycling again, before you continue. For the moment though the pressure you put yourself under to perform is not going to do you any favors.

 

My recommendation would be to shake things up completely. Get a new fitness objective, seriously re-assess your long term goals. Take up hiking, go for those walks. Climbing for example has its own set of very demanding performance parameters, but is a much slower, more thoughtful experience. Have there been sports you've been interested in but never committed to? That could be an idea.

 

Perhaps you might also look at other areas of your life, sure sometimes we just burn out, but could something non-cycling related have changed your perspective?

 

I sound wishy-washy because honestly I don't know what the secret to kicking burnout is.

 

Always remember that the bike will be there, waiting for you, whenever you are ready for it, and you can always re-gain fitness, it is harder to re-gain the time you spent in the enjoyment headwind. 

 

 

post #15 of 16

Hello,

 

howierart  Sorry to hear your are feeling lost in the world of cycling. The good news is, you still have some love for the bike or you would be on craigslist selling your bike and not on a cycling forum. I think Alex had some great ideas, mix it up, have fun and see what happens.In the event that your are concerned to take too much time of the bike do the following:

 

1.Choose 2 days to ride your bike during the week.

2.Ride for 90 minutes or less mostly in your small ring just to keep your muscle memory in check.

3. Continue to ride in the small ring until you start to get the urge to ride longer and faster then just let yourself ride the way your body like!

 

While you wait for the magic feeling to come back find another sport (endurance would be great but not needed) that you enjoy and try to participate in it 2 or more times a week.

 

See you on the road,

 

Roger

Quote:
Originally Posted by AlexWins View Post

'All or nothing' can be a terrible trap for endurance athletes. You turn your back on hardcore dedication, for whatever reason, how do you structure your new life? I quit rowing for similar burnout reasons, and over the next four years I gained 100lbs. For someone for whom fitness was integral to identity it was a bitter lesson. In that time I still rode, I still worked out in the gym regularly, my performance stats were still far above the average layman who doesn't train. The problem I now had was that none of it was satisfying if I didn't push myself to my limit. If I went to the gym and didn't get PB lifts I felt like crap.

 

Anyway, now I seem to be back training five days a week to undo four years of decline. So from one extreme to another, as always.

 

Burnout sucks, and honestly just fighting it won't get most of us anywhere. You need some new inspiration, a new reason to love cycling again, before you continue. For the moment though the pressure you put yourself under to perform is not going to do you any favors.

 

My recommendation would be to shake things up completely. Get a new fitness objective, seriously re-assess your long term goals. Take up hiking, go for those walks. Climbing for example has its own set of very demanding performance parameters, but is a much slower, more thoughtful experience. Have there been sports you've been interested in but never committed to? That could be an idea.

 

Perhaps you might also look at other areas of your life, sure sometimes we just burn out, but could something non-cycling related have changed your perspective?

 

I sound wishy-washy because honestly I don't know what the secret to kicking burnout is.

 

Always remember that the bike will be there, waiting for you, whenever you are ready for it, and you can always re-gain fitness, it is harder to re-gain the time you spent in the enjoyment headwind. 

 

 



 

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