Thursday, 4 August 2011

Brick Session Training

Yes I know Triathlon, 3 sports, however "Brick training" refers to training on 2 disciplines most of the time, one after the other or with very minimal or no interruption between.  Most of the time the classic brick session is bike/run, however the other variations are swim/bike or even swim/run (aquathon) aswell as run/bike (duathlon).

Swim/bike brick: while you are swimming, a lot of triathletes will want to use your legs as little as possible or else you may have a hard time when you get on your bike before you start feeling comfortable. A swim/bike workout that simulates race conditions will help you minimize this problem. A couple of suggestions are to use your legs more (that is to kick more which you should do!!) during he last 50-100 meters of your swim to get more blood flowing to them. Also, start your bike portion using an easier gear than the one you plan on using during the main part of the race. This will give your legs a chance to get used to the new sport and accumulate less lactic acid than they would if you started from the beginning with a tough gear.  

3 x (500m swim + 5 mile bike). I believe this is more useful and time efficient than doing a 1500m swim followed by a 15 miles bike, because you will switch sports 6 times instead of only once.  This is dependant on the swim facility not easy in the UK to be in and out of water and also wetsuit.

Bike/run bricks, mainly because the transition between bike and run is the toughest of the two during a triathlon. 

Sprint triathlon workout:  (15 min bike + 3min  run) - repeat three or four times.
Olympic triathlon workout: (20min bike + 10min run) - repeat three or four times.
70.3 triathlon workout: (30min bike + 15min run) - repeat two or three times
IM triathlon workout:  (3hr bike + 20min run)  - do not repeat, however can do 70.3 repeats for IM Brick training

When I do these kind of bricks,I try to do out and back runs with time, you could use a track and run distance rather than time set your turbo up on track side. I force myself to run fast and time myself and use heart rate.  I push on the bike, but the run needs to be the hard part of the workout. 

I am trying to get my body used to running fast as soon as I get off the bike. You are training to adapt to this for race environment.

By doing a series of short repeats you also switch sport (and therefore muscles used) several times in the same workout. You are  teaching your legs and body to switch as fast as possible and as efficiently as possible between two very different kinds of effort. 

I would consider a series of short repeats more efficient then doing the two sports one after the other, especially when you are short on time.  For example set your turbo trainer up track side or garage/garden and ride 10min + run 2min (800m) repeat 5 times.  You decide, DON'T GO OUT TOO FAST 

FIRST TIME  BRICKIES, you should get used to them before attempting the kind of workouts described above. Start with a 1 mile run or run/walk after every bike ride. You can start by walking briskly when you get off the bike and them move to a jog or run within ¼ to ½ mile. You can also attempt your first brick by biking in the morning and then running in the afternoon or after a 1 to 2 hour break.  
When you stop biking and start running the legs feel “strange” and heavy and the heart rate goes up, as our body tries to switch the blood from flowing into the muscles used for biking to those used for running. This feeling is more pronounced at the start of the run and usually the legs get better as time passes - although probably never as fresh as those you have when you run without biking before it (I wonder why?! ). Brick workouts help shorten the time our legs take to start feeling more normal thus allowing us to run better and faster. It is not uncommon to experience cramps when starting to run after biking, especially if you are not used to it. As usual, listen to your body and slow down if you feel a cramp coming. A gel and electrolyte or water will also help if you are experiencing cramps due to the decrease in muscle fuel.

If you have the climate and location for a back 2 back tri then this is a great session.  Whilst athletes were on the Paradise Tri Training camp  in February this year they took part in a .......

B2B super sprint -   swim/bike/run/swim/bike/run 

they also did a 

(20min Tempo bike - 10min easy ride) x 4  (2hr ride)
30min run 
all at 1/2 IM pace even with tough climbs on the route.

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