Training and riding motivation

I’ve decided I hate being dropped on rides (especially hillz) much more than I hate the burning sensation in my lungs and legs when training/riding.

So I’m going to start riding more. Regular morning rides will probably be the only thing to fit around work and life committments, so this means 1hr rides at 5am.

I would like to commute to work. But at about 45kms each way, and no showers/change rooms in my new building yet, it doesn’t seem possible.

My plan will be the following:

  • Tuesday & Thursday mornings. 5am ride. 1hr duration. 10 minutes stretching when i get back.
  • Saturdays. Try and ride with a group (Sat morning Sydney crew if I get into the city)
  • Sunday. Low exertion recovery ride if I can find the time.

For the first few weeks at least I will try and get into a routine, rather than focus on any specific training goals on the rides.

My questions for others (who regularly ride / have other training programs) is:

  1. How do you keep motivated for early starts or hard sessions?
  2. Is one day enough recovery between rides?
  3. Did you worry about time/distance at the start?
  4. Any other tips?
  1. set some goals. “not getting dropped on hills” isn’t specific enough. they need to be precise and achievable.
  2. yes.
  3. yes. measure your rides by time.
  4. i don’t know you, but if you want to get better at hills, shed some kilos.

get a stationary trainer and do proper structured sessions

1 Find at least one mate that you can ride with each time, that way you are both committed to the early ride, and also agree at the start on the format of the session in advance.
2: Recovery and rest are an important a part of any training regime. Over training is always counterproductive, if for no other reason that you end up with no social iife, having to get to bed by 9pm each night! Having a couple of days off like you say above is a great idea ( see below)
3: See point 1, if you are going for a ride with a mate, then one of you will have comittments, so plan the ride to either a time or if you have the time a place.
4: Don’t overdo it - while there is merit in getting “miles in your legs” to increase you stamina, it is far more important to go for quality. Like anything it is easy to get into bad habits. Technique is everything, if you look shit on a bike you will ride like shit. Hill climbing especially while, at the top level requires an anorexic body with super human fitness - is predominantly technique that needs to be learnt whatever your body shape or size.
4a: Never be afraid to ask for advice, get to a couple of coached sessions, track is always good for technique, and also that the coach can see you the whole time.

Ride within your limits- read your body, if you take a long time to recover, then hold off - do not assume speed in a big ring equates to fitness!
The thing that catches everyone out if they start racing is the change of pace.
Look for a more social ride, if it doesn’t end at a coffee shop with everyone chatting nicely- look for another group.

It is important to think what your goals and expectations are before committing to anything, but if it stops being fun then you are going to be wasting your time.

Happy to help you out more need to get some hours up for my CA level one coaching, shame I’m in Brissie.

Good Luck

I’m not a coach, but I’ll offer a couple of general things

Best thing for getting stronger on hills is riding up hills. Find some hills, ride up them. If you are carrying some extra pounds this will also motivate you to watch what you put down your throat.

the hardest part is throwing the blankets off and putting both feet on the floor.

find a mate and make an appointment to ride - you staying in bed lets them down and vice versa

If you can afford it, hire a good coach. They’re not just for the elites.

Cheers for replies guys.

S.M.A.R.T. goals… yep. Got that in the works for when I get a few more kms under the belt.
For now I’m thinking routine rather than results though.

Goals are hard when I don’t have a benchmark riding fitness level yet. But your point is well and truly taken.

Weight? Hmmm. I know I could lose some kgs. But its not my main motivation. I’m 6ft, and 80-81kgs at the moment, and as opposed to when I used to play rugby, its not mostly muscle any more… Stupid desk jobs.

I hate running indoors on a treadmill with a passion. So I can guess that I would hate riding indoors just as much.

i am the same but when you realise you can get a lot more out of 45 mins on the trainer than you can from a whole day out on the bike, it starts to become worth it

I’ve only recently been doing ‘structured training’ after having been riding for 7-8 years. The things i have discovered in this short time are largely mentioned above but i will say that

  1. Having a buddy is crucial. Whether it be for friendly banter or friendly competition/shit talking, it passes the time and makes you push harder.
  2. Racing makes you fitter.
  3. Heart rate monitors are fun, though not crucial. I enjoy mine just as a toy/comparing certain loops to see if i have improved.
    4.Recovery iz fun.
  4. Unless you are aiming for glory in the upper echelons, don’t worry too much about diet and general lifestyle. in my experience, its this element that takes the fun out of training/racing/doing the cyclist caper. Mayo is nice, chips are tasty. Everything in moderation, including moderation itself.
  5. Shave your legs.

More info. Thanks!

Too slow getting my replies to the first replies.


  • Don’t have any riding buddies out where I live yet. Moved out to the burbs recently.
  • Riding wihtin limits. Yep. Keep that in mind. I push myself too hard sometimes trying to make up for lack of regular rides with smashing myself in a hard irregular ride.


  • Plenty of hills where I live now :slight_smile:
  • Again. Noone to ride with at the moment. But motivation to get up isn’t usually too hard in summer. Its winter I will have to watch out for.

Haha. Nah. For the same reason I won’t buy a carbon bike. I don’t think any performance gains are worth it at the level I ride. That is, in proportion to the gains I am yet to make in other areas. When I am measuring my improvements in single digits maybe I’ll worry about leg hair.

where are these hills? i have just started doing 3 mornings week, i ride 1/2 hr in one direction then just turn around, as i live in the mountains i can start with either a up or down kinda thing, not really for training but at the mo’ its the only uncommited time i got (3 kids and 4hrs commute every day.) and 5ish is a choice time of day, beautiful slight chill the best way to start the day is to see it come in.

leg hair and the removal thereof has more to do with avoiding infection than enhancing performance.

i’m with alex on this one. an hour on the trainer > an hour on the road. watch movies while you do it. i watched bmx bandits on the trainer the other day. it ruled.

In reference to OP item 1:

When you are not training, remember, someone somewhere is training, and when you meet him he will win.

Hillz are around Engadine. Not big hills by any measure. But if you look at a topo map of the area all you see are ups and downs. I am also close to the Royal National park which has a couple of hills. Such as the one going down into (or up out of) Audley.

I know road rash + leg hair = greater chance of infection. But I also see that shaving leg hair + some unknown X-factor = ingrown/infected hairs. I’m taking my chances on this one for now. But who knows, I might give in to peer pressure at some stage and do it anyway.

Hmmm. May have to reconsider that riding indoors thing then. Noone is going to beat me in my living room.

That sucks that your work doesn’t have showers.
Can you can find some creative way to incorporate a ride into the commute? Some sort of ride/swim/bus combination? Can you leave your bike at a swimming pool somewhere?

I agree about the aversion to riding indoors - I know it’s ‘efficient training’ and all but personally I’d rather go for a real ride.

I’d highly recommend going to the track though, for something more intensive. Eg. DHBC at Tempe. I was so impressed with the friendly/helpful/easy setup there that I started a thread about it.

The club rides on Sundays could push you to do more Ks too, if our Saturday rides aren’t enough. Alternately I think we could quite easily start a regular Sunday ride similar to Saturday… I feel a new thread coming on.

More people to ride with = more rides, more Ks, more epic hills conquered.

Ride/Swim/Bus sounds like my sort of triathlon… haha.

Work will have showers eventually. So I will try and incorporate some commutes when that happens.

Track stuff would be good. But times never match up with work. I used to live directly opposite the Hurstville Velodrome, but I wasn’t riding much at the time, so never joined.

I’ve been considering the Sutherland Cycling Club - because they’re close by now. But even their training rides are too close to when I finish work. It might be a good option for the weekend rides though, and maybe I would find a local training buddy.

i found i had to make a clear distinction between going for a ride and training. training hurts a lot for the whole time you are doing it. eg you cant really go out for a 4 hour ride at 70% and call it training. if you are doing 20 min climb repeats at 90% though, that is training.

basically training is unpleasant, it hurts, it is a pretty shit experience all round but it works and it is worth it.

the reason i prefer doing proper training indoors is because training sucks and i want to spend as little time as possible doing it. training indoors is the best way to spend more time enjoying your actual riding.

Having a training buddy isn’t needed. I don’t have one and I don’t find it hard to get motivated. Insaying that though to start off with would have been easier to have a training buddy. Maybe solo and partner for about 4:1 ratio.

To start with get your body and mind into a routine. Set out a training plan and goals on paper, put it on the fridge or next to the computer or near your calender. Once you get your body and mind to realise that when you wake up most mornings you will be going for a ride, there isn’t a way out it you will get use to it and it will become second nature and most of the time enjoyable.

The first 2 weeks will be the hardest for you, but stick to it. Even if you’re so damn tired just get out there, once you’ve nailed those first 2 weeks it will get easier to get motivated.

One of the best moments you can have is just after finishing an interval session feeling like you’re about to throw up and just lying down on the grass (note: I train for runnning and ride for fun) and looking up at the clouds and feeling so awesome and nothing else matters.

It might sound like shit if you haven’t done it before, but it is so so so good.

Point taken re indoors training - And also training vs riding in general. I know this distinction well.

My plan is to get used to the routine over a few weeks. Then to set a clear goal and some training guidelines. Without doing a lot of research or talking to coaching type people: (for my 1 hour ride) 10min warmup, 40 minutes at 90% HR (although I have struggled with aerobic training in the past - hence why I used to be a sprinter, not a long distance runner - so this will either wreck me or give me the kick in the arse I need) 10min cooldown. 10min stretching at home.

Happy to have comments on the above. Because I won’t be doing it for a few weeks.

Cheers. Yeah some good ideas there. I know the interval training feeling from athletics and rugby, and I have spewed a couple of times after a sprint session.

I think the key message is endorphins are fucking awesome.

I also used to do weight training three days a week, and know/love the feeling of sitting at work with arms that are too heavy to lift a stapler, and legs that are so sore even getting up from your chair is a struggle. Good times.