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Steal Craig Alexander’s Workouts

  • By Triathlete Europe
  • Published January 8, 2013

Not only is Craig Alexander one of the hardest working men in triathlon, he’s also one of the most successful. A three-time Ironman World Champion and two-time Ironman 70.3 World Champion, Crowie has forged a considerable reputation for himself around the world. His new book, As The Crow Flies, is a fascinating insight into his world of triathlon. It also offers some insights into what it takes to be the best in the world – including a detailed look at the training required. One of these sample weeks is listed below – see how you go!

STRENGTH & CONDITIONING (2-3X)

STABILITY / Swiss ball exercises, push- ups, hip bridging exercises, and exercises to strengthen the pelvic stabilisers
STRENGTH / Cycling- and running-specific exercises such as front squats, back squats, lunges, hamstring curls, back extensions, power cleans / 3×8–12 repetitions per exercise, concentrating on proper technique with a range of motion that simulates cycling or running for the muscle group being worked

Training Week: Swimming

MASTERS WORKOUT (3×) / 1–11⁄2 hr. freestyle intensive / 2–3 km main set / Strength sets: pull buoy and paddle work mixed in year-round
RECOVERY WORKOUT (1–2×) / 1–11⁄2 hr.
TEMPO WORKOUT WARM-UP / 500 (stroke count, concentrating on technique) / 500 mixed stroke/drill / 8×50 freestyle

MAIN SET / Close to race pace, with short rest (usually 1:20/100 m) / 3×400 / 6×200 / 6×100 / As the summer progresses, recovery gets progressively shorter. COOL-DOWN / 200 stroke count TOTAL DISTANCE / 4.6 km

Speed Workout
WARM-UP / 500 easy swimming (concentrating on technique) / 500 (50 right arm, 50 left arm, 100 choice drill, 100 backstroke, 100 freestyle, 50 right arm, 50 left arm) / 8×100 paddles, pull buoy, band (leaving on 1:20 or 1:30)
MAIN SET / 8×400 / 1st 400 (150 easy, 50 hard ×2) / 2nd 400 (100 easy, 100 hard ×2) / 3rd 400 (50 easy, 150 hard ×2) / 4th 400 hard / Repeat sets. / Relatively short rest between each 400. Hard effort = faster than race pace.
COOL-DOWN / 200 recovery
TOTAL DISTANCE / 5.2 km Note: Swim workouts are done in a long- course 50-metre pool. This basic framework can be used all year by tightening the intervals and shortening recovery.

Training Week: Cycling

ENDURANCE RIDES (2×) / Long aerobic endurance ride: 4–51⁄2 hr., can incorporate hills
TIME-TRIAL SESSION / 4–5×10 km efforts at race pace (sustainable threshold) within a 2–21⁄2 hr. ride
SPEED WORKOUTS (1–2×) / 5×5 min. at race pace, 3 min. recoveries // Or 20×1 min. max efforts, 1 or 2 min. recoveries
RECOVERY RIDES (1–2×) / 11⁄2–3 hr. at low intensity

TRAINER WORKOUTS

STRENGTH WORKOUT
WARM-UP / 10 min. easy spinning / 5 min. alternating 30 sec. max effort in a big gear, cadence of 70–80 rpm, with 30 sec. rest / 5 min. easy spinning
MAIN SET OPTIONS / 6×5 min. seated effort at cadence of 50–60 rpm, 2 min. easy spin recovery // Or 5×8 min. seated effort at cadence of 50–60 rpm, 2 min. easy spin recovery
COOL-DOWN / 10 min. easy spin

SPEED WORKOUT
WARM-UP / 10 min. easy spinning / 5 min. alternating 30 sec. max effort in a big gear, cadence of 70–80 rpm, with 30 sec. rest / 5 min. easy spinning
MAIN SET OPTIONS / 8×3 min. at race cadence of 85–90 rpm, 2 min. easy spin recovery // Or 20×1 min. at race cadence of 90–100 rpm, 1 min. easy spin recovery / Hardest effort sustainable for the predetermined interval.
COOL-DOWN / 10 min. easy spin Note: The goal is minimal variance between the first and last interval. Be mindful of this when determining effort in first interval and number of intervals.

Training Week: Running

STRENGTH WORKOUT (2×) / Hill repeats / Running the dunes
SPEED WORKOUT (2×) / Straight off the bike / 6×3 min., 2 min. recovery // Or 6×5 min., 2 min. recovery
LONG RUN (1–2×) / 1 hr. 20 min.–21⁄2 hr. either as a steady run, a negative split run, or longer intervals (greater than 5 min.) at goal race pace.

From As the Crow Flies by Craig Alexander. Republished with permission of VeloPress. Available now in bookstores, tri shops and at Bloomsbury.com/uk (£25)

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