I though I’d share one of my key sessions that I use throughout the year. This is one of those things every triathlete should do, but is also hugely beneficial as a general fitness training tool. And as always, understanding what you’re trying to achieve will allow you to get the most from this infinitely flexible session format.
What is a brick session? Simply put it’s a bike and run session. Sometimes called a transition session. You go from bike to run with minimal fuss in between.
Why do it? It will get you better at running off the bike. You’re trying to condition the body to go from the demands of cycling into an efficient and relaxed running mode. Plus, you’re practicing the actual transition that you’re going to be doing on race day, which straight away is going to save you seconds if not minutes that would otherwise take a lot of energy to take back on the run.
So I’ve got two brick session formats to chose from:
The short fast one: 1hr. This session is all about the changeover. You bike and run just long enough to get into a rhythm. It’s gets your muscles used to switching between movements, and it gets your whole body used to changing posture without loss of form.
Format: After a warm up, you do a 5 minute bike followed by a 5 minute run. Keep repeating for an hour with the fastest transitions you can. Your focus is to go smoothly from bike to run and back again.
Pro tip – Mark a 5 minute out-and-back course or a 5 minute loop. Your challenge is then to do 6 bike/run laps in an hour including transition time. When this gets easy just make the lap slightly bigger and try and get those 6 laps within the hour. This is a great group workout for mixed abilities.
The Big Brick: 1.5hrs+. This is a different session as the focus is now on adapting the body to run strongly after a long bike. You need to be on the bike long enough, or go hard enough to feel some fatigue. And your run should be long enough to develop endurance but not so long that you lose form. I’d suggest running about two thirds your bike duration but you can be flexible here.
Pro workout: My favourite session here is a 40km bike followed by a 10km run, the duration works well for me and I’ve got convenient loops for those distances to make it enjoyable. But you could halve those distances, or double them, or for a real killer session you can do the 40km/10km brick twice through – now that’s a session!
To brick or not to brick
Both these sessions should be done throughout the year, you could do them both every week or alternate weeks. Understand what you’re trying to achieve and work the format to suit your goals and ability. It’s one of my favourite sessions as it breaks up what can be a long workout, and although it feels horrible at first you’ll notice yourself getting stronger every time you do it. Enjoy!