Triathlon training is a complicated business. Three different disciplines to squeeze into your week irrespective of distance is a challenge unless you are a multi-millionaire playboy with time to burn. Not wishing to add to your troubles but I’m going to add another factor into your regime with the “brick workout”. The brick is essential in training because triathlon isn’t just one sport followed by a rest and a cup of tea but a series of events all back to back. This means your legs are only fresh for the swim with fatigue a factor for the bike and swim. In particular the sensation of coming off the bike and into the run is a real jelly legs sensation with the first mile disconcerting. So the brick is combining swim into bike or bike into run. Building up your session with multiple disciplines back to back is the best way in training to replicate the jelly legs race simulation. The term “brick ” according to some can be attributed to the author of “Iron Will,” Mike Plant, while other sources attribute it to Mark Sisson and Zagarino. Our view…who gives a feck who thought of it first, it works and we get it so we use it.
The types of brick triathlon training
The swim to bike brick can be a challenge while training to get from the pool onto the bike replicating race day. Our favourite approach to brick training is cycling to our local lake and putting in an open water swim shift. The key is not to crank it too hard on the route to the lake while you are full of fresh legs and enthusiastic. Coming out of the lake avoid temptation to catch up with your tri buddies but head to your bike as quick as you can and then put your foot down to replicate the second leg of the race.
The bike to run brick is an important element to training because an athlete is transitioning from a fixed-path, low impact exercise into a weight-bearing, high impact, non-restricted exercise. Cycling and running muscles are not used in the same way. By training with the bike to run brick workouts, you allow your body to become accustomed to the feel of transitioning from the ride directly into a run. It isn’t essential to replicate the full run distance in a brick session but the benefit can be achieved from a 10 to 30 minute run that adds value.
How to Get Started
As bricks are very demanding on the body, best not practice them too often, especially if your new at this action. It is not even necessary to crank out your “A” game or even the full race distance. As you get close to the event, it can be useful to run a single mile after every bike workout. During the early days of brick training, triathletes try easing through your bike leg with lower bike gearing to enable increased pedal revolutions. This will help loosen the muscles that will have tightened from cranking it at higher gears. If you get the chance sneak in the odd stretch, you know you love it.
Regardless of the specific workout if you can do some brick training come race day you’ll smash it.