On the Verge of Cycling Burnout?

Aussie cyclist Stuart O'Grady smiles in the yellow jersey at the 2001 Tour de France  Credit: Doug Pensinger/Allsport
You have been cycling regularly for a long time, maybe even for several years. Once you've cycled long enough to experience the stimulating effects of cycling, it's hard to turn back.

You feel so good, you never want to let this feeling slide. Your body is used to its daily fix of exercise, better circulation, weight control, increased strength and calming endorphins.

More: How to Avoid Burnout in Young Athletes

Yet cycling, like many other pursuits, can be carried too far from habit to obsession. Perhaps you also notice a leveling-off in your conditioning and times in events, and you don't see progress or improvement as you use to. You also seem to find excuses for training, you terminate training rides early, and you make excuses not to go out, even on beautiful days.

What can you do to treat and prevent this burnout?

When cycling is no longer a joy and a release from the pressures of the world, and a sense of personal accomplishment is missing, it can get dull very quickly. Fortunately, there are plenty of ways to add variety and keep cycling lively and challenging.

If you are cycling in a rut or want to prevent burnout, I have put together some techniques to bring back life into your cycling.

More: Training Q&A: How to Avoid Burnout

Social Cycling

Miles and time go by quickly when you are talking and cycling. Get together with some friends for a ride, and make sure you stick to the pace of the slowest rider in the group. Riding once or twice per week with a group that is slower than you is a good break from the routine of hard riding, but if done more than twice per week, you may lose speed. Don't train too often with cyclists who are too fast for you. If you can't talk with the people in the group, you are doing speedwork.


Schedule easy days, including one or more days off from cycling each week. Many cyclists believe they will lose fitness if they miss a day or two of cycling. But that's simply not true. In fact, studies show that scheduling a few easy days (called tapering) before a race or tour will help you perform better.

More: 3 Tips to Avoid Racing Burnout

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