Transitions: So the new coaching venture Sansego, how is that coming along?
CA: Yeah it’s coming along,,, slowly, for a number of reasons. I have two partners in the business and they have a few other business interest that they are currently involved in and obviously when I decided to race again this year and race in Kona that became my main priority. But we have put a lot of planning into it and we are going to try and execute a lot of exciting things in the next 12 months. There are a lot of coaching companies out there and that’s fine, it is a big market and there are plenty of willing athletes to go round. The main thing I want to offer is a great service, I want to enhance peoples training and racing experience. I think I’ve recruited a great group of people around me, and the philosophy I’m bringing to this company is the same one I have brought to my career. I never had a coach but I used to seek advice from a lot of coaches. I also used to seek advice from a lot of my training partners that I was training with. I know there are a lot of people I have worked with over the last 15-2- years who have a similar philosophy on training and racing as I do and they are the people I have tried to bring in. To be fair, not only do they have as much triathlon knowledge as I do they have a lot more experience dealing with athletes of all levels. I mean it is one thing to win some races (nice understatement Crowie, Ed) but I don’t necessarily think that automatically makes you a great coach straight away. It’s a different skill set, great coaches are great communicators, great observers they have good experience and they know how to take that knowledge, that theory and implement it in a practical real world setting. Most of my coaches have coached people to podiums in world titles but they have also coached amateurs who just want to do a sprint race, people who have never done a triathlon and just want to get fit with the goal of doing a sprint race. They know what it’s like to work with people who have the demands of a forty, fifty or even sixty hour working week and family commitments and how to work training in around that.
If someone comes to us and says I only have ten hours to train, then we have to prioritise and say, well here are the things which we think you will be best served filling those ten hours with. As I said just because you win a few races doesn’t make you a great coach but it does mean you generally know the sport well, and I know the people who know the sport well. And these are the people I’ve tried to recruit.
So we have written some generic online training programmes, some 8, 12 , 16, 20 week programmes. But the main thing is these coaches are not into writing programmes for the sake of it, they want to work with people one on one. So there is some personalised coaching. We are going to be shooting some videos of some different running sessions and bike trainer session which we are doing now. And the main thing is camps, we want to run camps all around the place. All over Australia and around the world, all the coaches will be there and it will be very “hands on”. And the camps aren’t just about training together, its about giving the athletes knowledge they can take away and use for the rest of their triathlon career. We can do an analysis on the treadmill with some new technology we have access to and look at how their body moves and make some real suggestions about how they can improve. We can do a bike fit and make some suggestions, not only for performance but also for injury prevention and being comfortable and sustaining power on the bike.
So yeah they are the things we are working on, but it requires a lot of planning and a lot of travel but I think it’s definitely the next phase. I’m deeply passionate about the sport and want to stay involved. For me the main thing is when you put your name to something I think it’s got to be the best I can do and I have expressed this to a the guys involved. I don’t want disgruntled customers, like my career I always wanted to do the best I could do and prepare the best I could and if we are going to be helping people I want to bring hat mentality to it. Even if it is someone who doesn’t even want to do a triathlon, if they just want to lose some weight and be able to walk 18 holes of golf, well let’s give them the best experience we can and bring the best we can to the table for them.
Transitions: Obviously as an elite athlete, recovery can’t be underestimated, I believe you are also looking at getting involved in a recovery centre, where athletes of all levels can take advantage of the technology and services to give a first class recovery experience?
CA: Yeah, well there are a few of them in the US and I find them very beneficial. Brett Davidson and I had an idea to bring one down here to the Sutherland Shire or somewhere in Sydney. We are looking to get some proper ice baths, some saunas, good therapists and masseuses so there is access to good treatment whether it is dry needling, physio, chiro, we will also have the NormaTec compression recovery boots and all those sorts of things. I think there is definitely a model there where you can set up a place like that and people can become members, get a card and use it every day if you want or need to. You could finish your training come in swipe your card, get in an ice bath, and spend some time in the boots. The one thing I know about endurance training is the importance of the consistency of the effort, what you do day in day out, week in week out, month after month, year after year. You hear people talking about having a good base to work with, well that base is built from consistent training over a long period of time. So obviously the enemy of that is injury and illness, so anything you can do to promote or enhance recovery is a good thing and worth the effort.
Transitions: So you are hitting the speaking circuit with Dave Scott, what can we expect?
CA: Well I’ve been told I’m very “vanilla” and a bit boring *nudge,nudge, wink, wink* but I’m with Dave Scott who is very charismatic, he a very self-deprecating guy, a funny guy, a very knowledgeable guy, he has been around the sport for years, so I think that people will get equal doses of entertainment and knowledge and the benefit of his insight. He is a smart guy, he has won Kona 6 times, and he has watched it for three decades. He has coached the best, I have worked with him, he is currently also working with Eneko Llanos, has worked with Rachael Joyce, Chrissie Wellington, Simon Lessing the list goes on. The number of world titles he has coached must be in the 20’s maybe more, so yeah, lots of entertainment, but also insight. He has loads of knowledge but also an entertaining way of delivering it. So it should be good fun.
Transitions: Do we expect any secrets to come out?
CA: I don’t have any secrets, I’m an open book, Dave might though.
Transitions: So apart from Sansego what is next for Craig Alexander?
CA: That’s a good question. I’m currently an ambassador for WTC, particularly in Asia Pacific. So I still want to race in Asia Pacific, as I mentioned before I won’t be travelling as much but I want to try and race Asia Pacific from home. But I also want to have some input into the direction of the sport, I mean my time in the sport as an athlete is nearing an end anyway, but I think over 20 years you look at the sport and see what improvements have been made and whether it has regressed in any areas and I think as an ambassador part of your job is to give that honest feedback. Its not just lip service, if I get asked my opinion Im not going to sugar coat it ultimately just want what is best for the sport.
So yeah there is that and Im still working with my sponsors, I have some long term sponsorship deals in place, with product development, R and D and ambassador roles as well, I have had a lot of the same sponsors for over a decade now so I want to continue those relationships but mainly I just want to stay involved with the sport in a real and authentic way. I mean if you put together a substantial resume there are a lot of ways you can make money, but I want it to be fun, impactful and real.
Transitions: You are a long time retired aren’t you?
CA: Yeah so I’d like to keep racing for another 12 months even if it is just Asia Pacific.
Transitions: Don’t tell me you are going to target an age group win at “Kurnell World Champs”
CA: (Laughs) I don’t know if I’m good enough for that I hear it’s quite competitive.
If you are finding this entertainingand informative a few tickets are still available to the Brisbane "A night with Triathlon Royalty" event on the 2nd December.
In our next instalment we ask Crowie your questions on the WTC Pro policy, drug testing and more.