A look at Craig’s early career
Part two of an exclusive series by Ironman details some of the Craig Alexander training mistakes he made early in his career.
Five world championships are on his mantelpiece, but it was not until he was a 30-something that Crowie found his way in the sport. With Craig Alexander training up to his limit before races and receiving very little financial backing, he had considered giving up the sport at one stage.
“In early January 2005 I had come off one of my best seasons in the sport. I had won the triple crown of Chicago, Boston and LA in three consecutive weekends, but I was only just breaking even, living away for half the year. I did not have the sponsorship support that I have now,” says Alexander.
With wife Neri pregnant, Alexander needed something to change, and quickly. It came with victory in July, 2005 at the Lifetime Fitness race, which was, at that time, the richest race on the planet.
“Things changed for the better from that point. I had won a lot of race’s but triathlon is not the PGA Golf Tour. The sport is only 35 years old, so we haven’t got the history or the reach of a lot of other sports. We were solely relying on prize money. That was eight years ago and a lot has changed. It was not my biggest win, but the first time I felt like a professional athlete. From that point I felt like I was getting ahead and not living race to race.”
Alexander was already rated one of the hardest working triathletes on the planet, but guilty of leaving his best performances on the training grounds.
“I wasn’t on the level of those guys and I knew it. So it was a conscious decision to train really hard until I thought I was on their level and then start to taper for races.”
Ironically it was illness and disappointment that paved the way to his biggest change.
Alexander fell ill with chicken pox, which put him out of all sport for three months. He missed the Commonwealth Games team as a result. However within just a few weeks of resuming, he made it to the podium in several big races, highlighted by second in a super-strong field in LA.
“I was amazed at the performances and how quickly they came. That is when I first realised how important it was to rest, how the body responded and rewarded you for rest.”
The year following his win at Lifetime Fitness, Alexander won the inaugural IRONMAN 70.3 World Championship, and the year following second place in his first venture to Kona. The rest, as they say, is history.
You can read the full article about Craig’s early career over at here