December 19, 2014 Login  


Commuting burnout?
Last Post 08/25/2014 06:00 PM by Dale Dale. 12 Replies.
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Red Tornado

Posts:37

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08/12/2014 10:27 AM

I have been a part-time commuter (2-3 days/wk) for the past 7 years.  Commuted in addition to a fast club ride most weeks and a dirt ride thrown in here and there.

This spring the extra stuff required to commute (bringing clothes to/from work, prepping stuff the night before, going to bed early, getting up early) quickly turned into more of a burden than a joy, or even neutral tasks.  Was finding it hard to get to bed on time due to the family liking to stay up and not go the bed "with the chickens" and getting up early seemed to wear me down over time.  Even though I was getting miles, I wouldn't say they were quality miles.  Felt like I was drawing water out of an almost empty well.
About a 5-6 weeks ago I decided to stop commuting and just do club rides and dirt rides w/friends.  Since then my form has steadily become worse.  I kind of expected a slight drop, since I wouldn't be riding as much but this is pretty dramatic over a relatively short period of time.

I can't be overtrained because I don't put that many miles/that much time into it.  The whole commuting thing just got really old all of a sudden, and now riding in general is starting to lose it's fun factor.  Cycling has always been one of my "escapes" and very therapeutic over the years, but that's not the case anymore.

Wondering if I should just take a break from cycling......

Other info:
- 47 years old
- In my 23rd year of riding
- Raced road/dirt for 12 of those years
- Commute is approx 25 miles round trip (not all that long)
- Typical cycling week (commuting + other) was 120-140 miles, 3-4 riding days
- Happily married w/3 kids: 1 in college, 2 in high school (busy family)
- My job does have a reasonably high level of stress but hasn't got the better of me (so far)
- 5'10" 185lbs (yes, I could stand to lose a few) but otherwise in good health for a "recreational" rider: avg 118/79 BP, resting HR 54

Kind of up against a wall on this one.

Cosmic Kid

Posts:1192

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08/12/2014 10:37 AM
COuld just be a case of mental burnout......

FInd another type fo exercise for a few months. Swim, run, play raquetball....heel, even Crossfit (doh!). But find something new and enjoyable. Do it for the fall and earlu Winter months and ride only when you want to.

Betcha bounce back pretty quickly.

Either that or start some "Low T" therapy......
Just say "NO!" to WCP!!!!
Orange Crush

Posts:1251

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08/12/2014 10:48 AM
Sounds more like a lack of sleep burnout. Been there :-)

I don't prep for my commute; weekly cloths rotation at work. Commute 4 days a week (leave home 7:30 back between 6-7 pm); one day "working from home" and training ride. Weekends are for fam. 49 and two kids (both 11).
ChinookPass

Posts:494

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08/12/2014 10:58 AM
Once you get on the commuting train and do it all year, year after year, and witness the finest details of the changing of the seasons, the ebb and flow of form, and the pride of your accomplishments, I think it is hard to ever get off that. You may not be commuting enough! Get more sleep, take the long way home once in awhile, and park your bike on the weekends. The little details of shuttling clothes and food etc to work will take care of themselves. You'll figure out how to simplify all that soon enough.

+1 on finding alternative activities for the weekend. You will be in such good shape you will enjoy them more.
79pmooney

Posts:1192

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08/12/2014 01:35 PM
I am not commuting now but did so for the 6 years of my last job (and nearly every job I've had). Last commute was 26 mile round trip, same as yours. I started at 3 days/week but evolved to 4+, often only driving when I needed the car for other stuff after. (Not weekday shopping; I did that on my way home on the bike; granted, no family.)

Tricks I've found that help a lot: Have a dedicated commuter bike. For this I love fix gears. They always work. (If you haven't looked at your drive train in three weeks and it's been squeaking for two, it still works. And the penalty for running that chain dry? That $10-20 chain and $75 of cogs and rings will have to be replaced 2 months sooner (3 years from now). I pull the bike off the rack, toss in a water bottle, maybe squeeze the tires and go. Had it so the charging cable for the headlight reached the bike on the rack. Shouldn't be much harder than getting in your car. Keep clothes at work and bring them in on your car drive or make one day a week your 'bike truck" trip.

I have the luxury of my own bathroom so I have a place to hang cycling clothes that is really easy in the morning. Perhaps you have a laundry space or some other place you can negotiate with family to speed things up. Point out that you are a happier, better person IF you can get that commuting in AND get adequate sleep; that the family will have a happy, healthy provider for years.

You might look at the Dutch for inspiration. I won't copy their heavy bikes, but I admire how they have evolved and developed a bike-centered life that really works.

Ben
Red Tornado

Posts:37

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08/12/2014 04:19 PM
Appreciate the feedback everyone.

CK, Did that several years back when I felt burnout coming on. Helped coah my sons youth football team, finished some projects around the house, etc. I didn't get much exercise, other than football practice, and it took me a while to get going on the bike again. Definitely re-charged the batteries, though. My have to consider that again.

OC, I have been in sleep deprivation mode for a while now. When I was younger I could push through it; as I get older it's not so easy. Oh, if my family weren't night owls it would be so much easier! There might be a sweet spot in there somewhere that would allow more rest but not at the expense of too much fam time.

I had a pretty good system of bringing fresh clothes to work weekly on one of my driving days and we have a decent shower area so no issues there. Pretty much just got tired of going through the motions.
Sleep deprivation seems to be the biggest hurdle for me. Also like the idea of SS/fixie; something different.
Keith Richards

Posts:759

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08/12/2014 04:30 PM
Posted By ChinookPass . on 08/12/2014 10:58 AM
Once you get on the commuting train and do it all year, year after year, and witness the finest details of the changing of the seasons, the ebb and flow of form, and the pride of your accomplishments, I think it is hard to ever get off that. You may not be commuting enough! Get more sleep, take the long way home once in awhile, and park your bike on the weekends. The little details of shuttling clothes and food etc to work will take care of themselves. You'll figure out how to simplify all that soon enough.

+1 on finding alternative activities for the weekend. You will be in such good shape you will enjoy them more.


I totally agree on the commuting thing. I have been commuting for almost 20 years. I just do it. I don't push the rides any more than is necessary tho. Make sure you take time to slow down and sight see, take a different route, chat with other commuting cyclists...I also stopped doing big weekend rides until last week. I had not done a hard group ride in 10 years because of commuting. Given the choice of commute and not ride on the weekends or get burnt out, I chose to commute and do other stuff on the weekends. Usually fishing!
----- It is his word versus ours. We like our word. We like where we stand and we like our credibility."--Lance Armstrong.
Cosmic Kid

Posts:1192

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08/12/2014 04:35 PM
I wouldn't overlook the sleep deprivation thing.....not to bring this back to my attempt at an IM, but I am just about freakin' fried right now. Dragging my sorry-ass out of bed between 5 and 5:30 most mornings is just getting old. Even getting up for a 7:00 ride on Sat or Sunday seems like a major effort.

I am usually going to bed between 9:30 and 10:00, but usually not asleep until 10:30 or so. The lack of sleep is definitely wearing thin......cannot WAIT until September 8 and I can sleep in, guilt-free.
Just say "NO!" to WCP!!!!
THE SKINNY

Posts:430

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08/12/2014 04:44 PM
naps are great if you can get one in. burn out sucks especially if you burn out on the thing that keeps you sane.
How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives.
Keith Richards

Posts:759

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08/12/2014 05:05 PM
The one thing I am loving the most about no longer racing is the guilt free days off and sleeping in!
----- It is his word versus ours. We like our word. We like where we stand and we like our credibility."--Lance Armstrong.
Orange Crush

Posts:1251

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08/12/2014 05:29 PM
+1 on napping being a game changer. Also at night you don't need to crash last. When I crash I crash; nothing stopping it.
Red Tornado

Posts:37

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08/25/2014 05:02 PM
Update on my situation. Took some time to evaluate and came away with a few conclusions:
1. My job is more stressful than I realized. I guess you get conditioned (or maybe numb is more accurate) over time. Be that as it may, there's not much I can do about it for the short-term.
2. I had too many irons in the fire. Family should come first, and it usually does, but other things will have to take a back seat, be re-prioritized or dropped altogether. I have a fair amount of involvement/responsibility at my church. This comes right after family for me, as the good I can do for others there far outweighs the good I can do on my bike for myself. So family & church stay. The other stuff (I won't go into it all) is really un-necessary and just making life more complicated.
3. After 20+ years of being a dedicated cat-napper I realized I haven't taken a nap in months. Until recently, I have always taken naps ranging from just 15-20 min to an hour or two several times a week. That seems to go a long way to re-charge the batteries.

So I will continue to attend my kids functions (band, football, track) and go on dates with my wife. I will stay involved at church, but realize I may have to say "no" sometimes. I will take a power nap when required.

This will allow two good, quality bike rides per week. One fairly challenging club road ride during the week, and one longer but moderately paced road ride - or a dirt ride - on the weekend. I've done all this for a week and a half so far and rode within my limits and felt much better. Once the kids are moved out, or all in college (approx 4 years from now) I will have more time to ride. But until then I gotta give them top billing, especially when they seek me out wanting to do something. They'll be gone before I know it.
Dale

Posts:524

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08/25/2014 06:00 PM
Good man. The ability to say 'no' has liberated me from a ton of stress induced by over commitment.

Hope you life continues to become less hectic.
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