Brick training tips

Bike-to-run transitions require specificity—it takes time for the brain and spinal cord to adjust to the new neuromuscular patterns needed for running off the bike. With practice, efficiency increases, along with your ability to pace yourself better. Try these tips from Lifesport coach Dan Smith during your next brick workout.

Brick Training Tips:

– Use brick sessions to practice race nutrition at race-specific heart rates. Make sure you are fueled and hydrated.

– Finish off 1–2 rides per week with at least a short run off the bike.

– Have mental cues ready for the run, such as “quick feet,” “loose shoulders,” “open lungs.”

– Commit to the run, regardless of how you feel on the bike. Often a lack of energy can be attributed to low fuel. Have a gel 15–20 minutes before getting off the bike.

– The legs often feel heavy because they’re fatigued and now have to support the body as well as propel themselves forward. Leg fatigue is also related to how hard you pushed on the bike and how “cycling fit” you are. Process this heavy feeling as normal and aim to become more efficient while running post-ride.

– Try targeted pace work off the bike—it’s very effective for race preparation. These measured efforts are at a slightly faster pace than your personal best times for the distances.

A new way of doing the traditional triathlon brick workout.

Triathlons are typically won on the run. Unfortunately, the typical triathlete jumps off the bike with their legs feeling like anvils. Most try to abate this phenomenon by doing bricks—a bike ride followed immediately by a run. While the typical brick workout is indeed effective, you only switch from the bike to the run once during this workout, limiting the neuromuscular adaptation that brick workouts can provide.

With the following brick workout, you shift from the two disciplines 12 times instead of once, forcing your body to shift blood from its cycling muscles to its running muscles and then back many times over. This workout is most easily done with a trainer, but can also be done by locking your bike in your car while you run or by having a very understanding friend or significant other hold your bike for you while you run. The shorter the transition between the disciplines, the better.

The workout:

30-minute warm-up on the bike

10 minutes of running
10 minutes of cycling
10 minutes of running

10 minutes of cycling
5 minutes of running

10 minutes of cycling
5 minutes of running

10 minutes of cycling
5 minutes of running

10 minutes of cycling
5 minutes of running

20-minute cool down on the bike.

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