Train Like an Elite: Craig Alexander
He’s a true sporting legend with more titles under his belt than most could ever dream of. Here, ‘Crowie’ offers his biking tips…
Bike position and set-up
Craig spends most of his training hours on the bike, so a good set-up is doubly important to make his sessions more productive and to keep him injury-free. Here are the four key areas he focuses on…
Comfort, comfort, comfort
Craig’s first principle when getting his bike set up is comfort. He feels that other considerations such as aerodynamics should only be brought into play once you’re able to sit comfortably on the bike for several hours, while producing your highest possible power output.
Craig has SaltStick dispensers attached to the aerobars of his race bike – they’re the black tubes with the red knobs. In Kona he takes one to four of these electrolyte capsules per hour, depending on how his muscles are feeling. If they start to feel twitchy or like they’re cramping, he increases his intake.
Craig uses an SRM power meter paired with a Garmin head unit to monitor power output and cadence. Although he observes his wattage when racing, he mainly uses the cadence information to help him keep his legs spinning at his optimal rate, which he feels is around 88 to 90rpm.
Craig tries to do the majority of his long rides and intervals on his race bike, at his optimal rate and in the aero position. This means that come race day his body is as adapted as possible to producing optimal power in that position.
Ironman build-up weekly bike training plan
Recovery ride of 2-3hrs
Low cadence (55-65rpm) strength efforts: 2-3 reps of 12mins or 5-6 of 5mins, with 3min recoveries
Long ride of 4-6hrs in the mountains, including Ironman-paced time-trial efforts towards the end
Hard time-trial efforts (for example, 4 x 10min above Ironman pace) followed by a 40min block at Ironman pace
Steady recovery ride of 2hrs
Long ride in mountains of 4-6hrs, solo or sometimes with a group
No riding (long run day)