Wednesday’s Workout – Bricks

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A brick workout consists of combining two endurance disciplines during the same workout session.  I am not exactly sure when the term brick was coined, but I do remember doing a lot of them during my years of doing triathlons.  In the beginning I would often do these workouts without knowing exactly what it was called.

Now realistically you could pick any discipline and combine it with another to do a brick.  To make things a little easier to digest, we are going to stick with a triathlon’s disciplines of swim, bike and run.,

There are normally three types of .

  • Swim/Bike
  • Swim/Run
  • Bike/Run

Of the 3, the Bike/Run can be setup on the track to do multiple bricks.
Swim/Bike
We would often do these workouts in the summer when the temps were good.  Swim/Bike bricks consist of doing a swim session followed immediately by a bike session.  This is fantastic training to prepare the body for the swim to bike portion of a triathlon.  You will learn things like your cycling sun glasses have a tenancy to fog up right after swimming and jumping on the bike.  You will learn that biking can be really cold in the beginning, but if you wear too much you will overheat.  You can practice your transitions from swimming to cycling.  Often this includes transitioning cloths and learning what works and doesn’t work.  As you switch disciplines, you will understand which muscles were used for swimming and which are used for cycling.  You will also quickly discover that swimming can burn through calories that you didn’t realize were burned until your starving on the bike and needing more calories.

In an Ironman I could get out of the swim in under an hour and soon realized that if I didn’t fuel up on the bike soon after, my cycling performance would be hurt.

On hot summer days, there is nothing better than starting out swimming and then jumping on the bike for a very refreshing workout.

Swim/Run
Swim/Run is another fantastic summer time workout.  Just like Swim/Bike, your transitioning from the water to a different discipline, but you don’t have as many things to worry about.  No helmet, no bike, just put on your running shoes and start running.  I often do these workouts in my running shorts and have a pair of running shoes, sunglasses and socks at the ready.  The less you can get away with the better IMO.

Bike/Run
Well I saved Bike/Run for last.  In reality you can do run/bike or bike/run or bike/run/bike/run….  Bike/Run is probably the ultimate in brick training and I will often do it on the track.  Normally what I like to do is bring a trainer with my bike and set it up so as not to impede other runners.  Of course you will bring both cycling shoes and running shoes.  You should wear an outfit that is comfortable on both the bike and while running.
Bike/Run Brick workouts are fantastic for working on your bike to run transitions, that is, if you are training for triathlons.

Here is a great Bike/Run Workout
Warmup 20 minutes on the bike
Transition to the run (800 to 1 mile)
Transition to the bike (2 to 10 minutes)
Repeat 4-8 times
Cool down 20 minutes on the bike

Of course you can do lots of variations of the above.

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About Author

Tom Crandall

Totally into multi-sports including triathlon, swimming, cycling, running skating and movement in general. Love to trail run and hang outdoors.

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