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”. So lets explore what are the benefits of brick workouts?
Triathlon Brick Training for beginners
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.
Why is it called a brick workout?
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 Scott Zagarino. Our view…who cares who thought of it first, it works and we get it so we use it.
Buy Iron Will – Mike Plant book from Amazon
How to do brick triathlon training
There are essentially 2 types of triathlon brick training. The first of these is to combine a swim followed directly by a cycle. The second being to combine a cycle followed by a run. The combination of these workouts is intended to prepare the body for a triathlon and the sensation on muscles moving from one discipline to the next.
Swimming to Cycling Brick 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.
Cycling to Running Brick Training
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.
Getting started with triathlon brick training
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. So hopefully this will help explain why you need to include brick workouts in your triathlete training.
3 of the Best triathlon training books
To help you learn more about how to do brick training we recommend the following 3 awesome triathlon training books.
- Be IronFit by Don Fink and Melanie Fink
- The Triathlon Training Bible by Joe Friel
- Triathlon for beginners by Dan Golding
Be IronFit – Buy Be IronFit now from Amazon for £10.99
Now in its 3rd edition, this is regarded by many Ironmen triathletes as the go to bible for training plans with a week by week schedule to prepare for Ironman triathlons. Two of the Trivelo team have used this and found it incredible powering to under 12 hour finishes at Ironman Wales.
The Triathlon Training Bible – Buy the Triathlon training bible from Amazon for £17.75
Another iconic training masterclass from Joe Friel is the Triathlon Training Bible now in its 4th edition. Very comprehensive training aid spanning both physical and mental side of training for triathlon.
Triathlon for beginners – Buy Triathlon for Beginners from Amazon in paperback for £9.99
Triathlon For Beginners by Dan Golding is a worthwhile entrant in our top 3 triathlon training books. Perfect for beginners and giving something for every level of triathlete. The book covers some excellent tips on how to avoid injury for new to triathlon competitors. Essential reading.
For more essential triathlon training tips read our article on core strength training for triathletes. A range of exercises to help build core mobility and strength that can be transferred to improved performance in triathlon.