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Book Excerpt: As The Crow Flies

  • By Craig Alexander
  • Published Jan 18, 2013
  • Updated Jan 19, 2013 at 12:04 AM UTC
Photo: Paul K. Robbins


Steal Crowie’s Workouts

Training Week: Strength & Conditioning (2-3x)

Stability / Swiss ball exercises, push-ups, hip bridging exercises, and exercises to strengthen the pelvic stabilizers

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×) / 1–1½ hr. freestyle intensive / 2–3 km main set / Strength sets: pull buoy and paddle work mixed in year-round

Recovery Workout (1–2×) / 1–1½ 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-meter 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: 4–5½ hr., can incorporate hills

Time-Trial Session / 4–5×10 km efforts at race pace (sustainable threshold) within a 2–2½ 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×) / 1½–3 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.–2½ hr. either as a steady run, a negative split run, or longer intervals (greater than 5 min.) at goal race pace

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