You may be looking to complete your first triathlon or maybe you have already experienced the rush of a race or two and now you’re looking to improve. One of the most important workouts you should include in your plan is the brick workout.
The brick workout is essential in training because with a triathlon, you are not just completing one sport and finishing – you have to make the smoothest transition from one discipline to the next. The only leg that a triathlete participates in being truly fresh is the first one – the swim for a regular race, and the run for a reverse-style race. As fatigue sets in, form and perceived exertion can be different than the beginning of the race. There are two transitions in a triathlon race – from swim to bike, and from bike to run. The first thing that comes to mind when you hear the word “brick” is one that goes from the bike to the run, however getting a ride in after a swim workout should also be utilized for training.
The bike to run brick is an important element to training because an athlete is transitioning from a fixed-path, low impact exercise that utilizes and fatigues similar muscles into a weight-bearing, high impact, non-restricted path of running. These muscles though, are not used at exactly the same ratio. 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. These bricks can be long or short duration with varying types of sets. When utilizing short bricks, it is necessary to focus on higher power output and faster speeds at both ends for more sets. For longer duration bricks, the focus of the training should be the pre-fatigue of the muscles from the first discipline before beginning the next one and will likely have a less amount of sets. With this being said, a ride should almost always be followed up by some sort of a run because a triathlete will always have to run after they bike, unless it’s reverse, they would have to swim.
The swim to bike brick can be a little more challenging transitioning from the pool to a bike so the focus likely won’t have as many variables as that from the bike to the run. One great way to focus on a swim to bike workout is riding the bike to the pool followed by a moderate to high intensity ride home. Another option if you are using a pool in the gym is to utilize a spin bike if available, but if it’s not an option, doing some sort of activity – whether running or riding – immediately after a swim workout will benefit a triathlete from making the transition from a supported workout to one that is over-ground.
If completing a triathlon or improving on your previous race is a goal that you have and are looking for a workout to help you, utilizing the brick workout will give you a great benefit and put you a step ahead of the rest.