How to Beat Burn-Out on the Bike

2 Jun
10 MIN

We recently hosting another Gravel Chat with our four Jukebox Cycling gravel superstars: Alexey Vermeulen, Ashton Lambie, Adam Roberge and Dylan Johnson. They answered all of your tough gravel questions, and we’re sharing some of their answers here on the blog. You can also watch the entire chat right here!

RIDER QUESTION: How do you avoid burnout with training and racing?

Plan breaks

This is something that I've dealt with a lot. Even before this topic came up, Adam and I were talking about when we're going to take a midseason break. And having that break planned in seems to really do a lot for me. There often comes a point in the year where my results start to suffer a little bit, and I just feel fatigued all the time. But after I take six days off the bike completely, I feel a lot better. The first couple rides back are rough, but it’s worth it. That's probably the biggest thing if somebody is starting to feel burnout: Just take a few days off. -Dylan Johnson

Find the fun

If you don't have enjoyment on the bike, figure out what will make it fun. Ride to the coffee shop, find a friend to ride with—mix it up. Doing anything over and over and over every day is difficult, no matter what you're doing. But there are a lot of ways to make it more fun, whether you're changing the bike you’re riding or you're changing who you ride with or you're changing what you listen to while you ride. Depending on what I have to get done on a given day, I’ll change whatever I need to get motivated but stick to the plan. Like, if I have five hours of endurance riding today and I’m struggling to get going, maybe I’ll do three by myself, then come back and get my girlfriend and our dog and put him in the pack and we’ll finish the ride that way. That’s something I wouldn't have done three years ago, but now I see how valuable it is. -Alexey Vermeulen

Don’t force yourself to race

It might be tempting to put a race on the calendar to push through a slump, but mental burnout and physical overtraining are definitely linked. A lot of times when a highly motivated athlete is feeling burnt out—meaning they’re not motivated—the underlying cause of that is that they're either overtraining or they've just been going too hard for too long and they physically need a break. Putting a race on the calendar when you're feeling burnt out can help if the only issue is mental, but if you’re heading into overtraining territory, putting a race on the calendar is a bad idea. You can't race every single race. And if you do try to race every single race, which I have done before, your results will suffer because of it. -Dylan Johnson

Mix it up

To be honest, I don't know if I'm qualified to answer this question! I've never really feel like I don't want to train. But that said, my schedule might be the reason that I’ve never had that issue. In the late fall, when it’s cold and wet in Quebec, I do feel more tired, but that tends to be the offseason anyway, when I would be taking it easy regardless. And in that time, I ski and fat bike, so I have a lot of fun. There’s a lot of value in that, it makes me feel like I’m changing scenery and just playing outside with friends. -Adam Roberge

Molly Hurford

Author for the Jukebox Cycling Team