Athlete's Corner: Training Tips with Christopher Blevins
USA Cycling National Team member Christopher Blevins is about as versatile as it gets when it comes to the sport of cycling. The multi-faceted 19 year old is not the reigning U23 Cyclocross National Champion, he is the reigning U23 Cross Country Mountain Bike National Champion and has also won national titles in BMX Racing as well as won several international road races.
Becoming a force to reckon with across four cycling disciplines before turning 20 is no easy feat, it takes discipline, goal setting, and hours of training. We had the opportunity to talk training with Christopher this week.
USA Cycling: How do you and your coach set goals and incorporate them as part of your training program?
Christopher Blevins: Understanding your goals before you get your training going for the season is crucial to having direction and building fitness towards the right time. Often, I have multiple goals in a season, which can be difficult to incorporate into a season long training program. It's important to stay in communication with your coach, plan long term, and knuckle down in training for your target races.
USAC: Tell us about your training schedule and how it varies from week to week.
CB: My weekly training varies depending on a lot of factors. I will do a few fairly big 10 to 14 day blocks when I have some time to train without trying to recover from or travel to a race. After big training blocks, it's important to follow with a solid rest week, to maximize the hard week done in the days before.
USAC: What metrics do you use to ensure that you are on track to hit your goals?
CB: I use power and heart rate to track my effort during rides, which I then upload to Training Peaks for my coach to analyze. Being able to chart my fitness, recovery, and trajectory helps give clarity in understanding how the training I'm doing will pay off.
USAC: How do you adjust your training knowing that you have a big race coming up?
CB: The training shifts quite a big the week before a big race. I tend to focus on recovery foremost, while also keeping the system firing with some efforts. I also may do some technical practice on a trail system with similar conditions to what the upcoming race will be.
USAC: What advice would you give to someone who is looking to set up a training plan for the first time this season?
CB: Try to hold yourself accountable to your plan, but when you need to be flexible allow yourself to be. Try to find someone to ride with and keep pushing you, and most importantly make sure you have fun with the training plan you set up. Because happy riders go faster.
A native of Durango, CO, Blevins is currently living in in San Luis Obispo, CA where he attends California Polytechnic State University. You can continue to cheer Chris on by following his journey on Instagram and Twitter.
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