One of the most grueling workouts on a triathlete’s training schedule is the brick workout. They are pretty much always a challenge but they don’t all have to be the same. There are many variations of the brick workout but here are three that will help you to improve your running speed and train your legs to adjust to running more efficiently off the bike.
Short sprints. Start with a shorter bike segment such as 8-10 minutes of moderate to steady paced riding. Then, after a quick transition, run hard for 1:30-2 minutes. Do about 4-5 repeats of this. This workout is designed to get your legs adjusted to the feeling of running hard right off the bike so that you may get up to speed quickly and run as if you were fresh.
Back to back bricks. This workout is very tough but has been proven to set some personal best times. For example, if you are training for an Olympic distance race, after a good warm-up ride 10km at race pace, then run off the bike 2.5km at race pace. Repeat this 2 more times. These workouts are training your body to do what is asked of it (and more) during a hard race. They are meant to be done during the peak of your speed work about 1 month out from race season. Realistically you will get about 2-4 of these workouts in and never perform one during a recovery week. Along with the physical you will gain mental toughness from these and race day will feel like a piece of cake.
The standard. After one of your longer, endurance rides, run 10 minutes off the bike between tempo and race pace, then 10 minutes easy. A fairly standard type of brick that trains your body to run on tired bike legs. The more you train your body to understand what is required of it on race day, the better you will feel and you will have a better result.
The brick workout is both mentally and physically tough, but built into your program frequently they will translate into better running off the bike. Work with your coach to build in bricks specifically to your schedule to maximize the training effect and have you race ready.
LifeSport triathlon coach Jessica Adam has been a coach in Victoria, Vancouver and now resides in the Toronto area. She loves to share her years of experience with beginner triathletes and also experienced triathletes that are trying new distances like ½ IM or IM for the first time. She coaches athletes online all across the country.
If you are interested in working with Jess, write Jess@LifeSportCoaching.com