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Brick Workout 101 | Triathlon Training Explained

(light music) – Welcome back to the triathlon
training explained show, powered by Training Peaks. And today, I’m gonna be
explaining exactly what a brick session is, how you do one and how it can benefit
your training and racing. (light music) If you’ve ever done a triathlon before, you’ll likely have experienced that dreaded jelly legs feeling. Sadly, you never completely
get rid of that feeling, it’s kind of part and parcel of triathlon. But you can help to reduce that feeling and to get a little bit more used to it. Which is where brick sessions come in. Now you might be wondering
why it’s called brick sessions and there are actually a number of stories behind the origin of that name. Like your legs feel like
bricks as you run off the bike. Or it feels like you’ve
run into a brick wall. Or even that the fact that you’re piecing disciplines together, like you would with bricks. But the most plausible I’ve
heard is that a chap called Doctor Matt Brick coined this term brick, for these back-to-back sessions where he’s doing swim to bike, bike to run and even run to bike. Well whatever the origin,
they’ve become extremely popular. You’d actually be hard-pushed
to find a triathlete that doesn’t do them nowadays. And the idea is that you do one discipline to the next in quick succession. And therefore sort of testing the body in the same way that you will on race day. Because after all,
there’s no point in being a super swimmer, an uber
biker and a great runner, if you can’t put it all together on race day or your triathlon. The reason that it does feel so hard is because of a thing
called blood shunting. So when we’re swimming, we’re
predominantly using our arms, so all our blood is pumping to our arms, to transport that oxygen and energy there. But then we come out of the
swim and we start running to our bike and we start cycling, suddenly we try to use
different muscle groups and all our blood needs to be shunted to different areas of our body. And that is why it feels so hard. If you haven’t trained
that to do it quickly and efficiently, it feels pretty awful. Now the other reason it can feel so hard, is due to the different
demands we’re placing on our muscles throughout a triathlon. If we take our legs for example, we’re expecting them to propel us forward, to support us and even to take quite a lot of impact during the run. That takes quite a lot of getting used to, as well as the different body positions throughout a triathlon. But most importantly, that can be trained through the brick sessions. And that can be any order of things, it can be swim to bike, bike to run and even run to bike for the
duathletes out there perhaps. Basically, it’s prepping us for race day as best as possible. So let’s get stuck in, let’s
run you through how to do one. (gentle music) So today I’m gonna be doing
a bike to run brick session. Now this is probably the most
popular type of brick session, partly because it’s probably the easiest one in terms of setup. Unless of course you can jump straight on your bike out of a swimming pool or out of an open water venue. In terms of the setup, you
have a couple of options here. Some opt to do this all or part indoors, using a turbo trainer, a static gym bike and then jumping off onto a treadmill. Whilst others opt to do it outdoors. The reason that some people like to do it indoors might
be due to the weather, might be due to available daylight hours, or also just in terms of getting the quality out of the session
without any disruptions. And actually some people
like to do hard sessions and work hard right up to the point that they jump off the
bike and on to the run. So you can do that quite easily indoors. And also if you are training
for racing in a hotter climate, you can obviously turn the heat up indoors and prepare for that. Either way, they both work really well. And today, I’m gonna
be doing mine indoors, using my turbo trainer and treadmill. And I’ve already got my
running shoes set out ready to slip on after the bike. This doesn’t necessarily need to be a flat out race day transition, but it’s always good to practise. Too long and it sort of negates the point of doing the brick session. (gentle music) So in terms of kit, you’ll
probably have noticed, I’ve changed out of my cycling jersey. And that’s because running
in a cycling jersey can feel a little bit uncomfortable. That’s not to say that you can’t, but what I tend to do
is wear my bib shorts, with a running top over the top, or of course you can use your tri-suit. If you are going outdoors, then you might like to
use your cycling jersey, with your spares in your pockets behind. And then when you come in
to change over to the run, you can just do a quick
transition and change your top. But right now I’m warming up
ready for my brick session. So whether you’re doing a swim to bike, bike to run, or run to
bike, there are loads of different kind of sessions
you can do within those. If this is your first brick session, or you’re new to triathlon, then it’s really important
that you simply go through the motions of a brick
session to begin with and get used to the feeling of it. So keep it to a steady, aerobic pace, so something like a 30 minute steady ride, followed by a 15 minute steady run. And then as you get more
comfortable with that and you feel a little bit fitter, you can start to increase that gradually, by increasing the
duration or the distances, in line with your triathlon. But if you’re slightly more experienced and past that point already, then you might want to spice
things up a little bit. And you can start including some race pace specific intervals within your session. So first example we have is this one here. Now this is focused more on those shorter distance triathlons, your sprint and Olympic
distance triathlons. In fact, this is the
session that I’m doing today and it’s got some relatively
short, high-intensity efforts, with again some relatively
short recoveries between them. But if you’re dong some
slightly longer events, like a Half Ironman, or an IronMan, then we have this session here, that has some relatively
long sustained efforts. We’ve got two lots of
20 minutes on the bike and two lots of 10 minutes on the run. And that will really help
you to dial into your pace and also use your aerobars
for some long periods of time on the bike. Okay, but now let’s really
mix things up a bit now. Because there’s no harm in
going from one discipline to the next, over and over and over. Sort of creating a monster
brick session, like this one. Now this will be a really high intensity, it’s quite short reps
from one to the next. But the focus is really on
going from those transitions from one discipline to the next, practising that process and that feeling. And of course, you can
increase the durations, depending on the distance
that you’re focusing on. It really can be tailored
any way you like. (upbeat music) So today I’ve been working
by power on the bike, so that I really hit my
numbers specific to race day. You can of course use heart
rate in a similar way. And then there is perceived
effort of exertion, it’s a little bit more subjective, but still a really good
measure of your intensity. If you would like to use these metrics for your brick session,
the suggested values for each distance during the
bike are on screen right now. And if you like, why not
just take a screenshot. Now on to the run as I am now, you can continue to use heart rate and perceived effort of exertion. But right now, I’m
actually working by speed. So I’ve set the treadmill
to my ideal race pace that I’m gonna work to and
if I was out on the road, I can also just use my GPS
watch to monitor my speed. So again, those values
for the run per distance are also on the screen right now. There are a few methods to working out your threshold run pace, that you can see on one
of our previous videos, where we talk about tempo
and threshold running. These can be really tough sessions, in fact a lot of athletes just keep it to one hard quality session per week. But of course there’s
no harm in doing some of your easy sessions back to back, in a brick session like format. It’s also a really good
way of just getting your training done and freeing
up time during the week. Well the jury is out as to whether you should do all of
your training like this. Some say that you still need to focus on the quality of individual sessions. But that aside, there’s clearly a very big training benefit
to doing brick sessions. So I definitely recommend doing at least one brick session per week. If you like this video,
hit that thumbs up button. And if you’d like to see
more videos from GTN, just click on the globe and subscribe. And if you’d like to see
our tempo running video, where we explain how to work
out your threshold run pace, just click down here. And if you’d like to see our functional threshold
power video for the bike and how to work out your
FTP, just click down here.

Reynold King

31 Replies to “Brick Workout 101 | Triathlon Training Explained”

  1. Nicely explained. Such an important session for triathlons, and also for winter training for seasoned runners to prevent injuries.

  2. just finished my brick workout 40min GCN turbo followed by a three mile run as hard as I can in zone 4..tues are brick day in the winter for bike to run and in the spring I add open water swim to bike….gr8 video mark nicely done

  3. Here’s a show idea, motivation. Like if I’m with a group I can ride and run fast, when I’m alone I can never push myself to run or ride fast. In a 5K race I can run 7:20/miles, on my own i drag my feet along at 9:00/mile.

  4. Depends on my training periodization. If my training block focus is on base aerobic capacity, I might not do any bricks for those 4 weeks. As I move closer to my A race for the season, more bricks tend to be incorporated, but typically not more than one or two per week. Always bike->run… I don’t seem to have a problem with swim->bike, and only go for triathlons so no need for other variations. To be honest I don’t think I have a big issue getting into the run from the bike either. I just have to tell my body to shut up and take it for maybe three minutes and then it accepts my decision to punish it and switches over to run mode.

  5. Thanks for putting a high quality video
    To explain brick workouts. I just put together a video on my channel doing 4 intervals of bricks for a total of 28 miles of biking and 8 miles of running. You get to see just how hard they are!

  6. I do one each week(when the event comes closer) Today it was a 3 hours 30 LSD ride followed by 4 progressive running intervals

  7. Another story I've heard is that the name originated from the "ick"y feeling you have by doing a "b"ike followed by a "r"un. (B)ike(R)un:(ICK)

  8. Hi in my training plan for triathlon sprint I have only these exercises 15 days before the race. Do you sugest brick sessions every week?

  9. 1 per week. Great video! Maybe think about taking out the arm gestures to pretend that's calling up the screen graphics. It seems a little juvenile…

  10. Is it bad to do a brick session mon, wed with rowing as a swim leg and then bike, run on treadmill for sprint distance, Tuesday is a hiit day with easy bike and run and same with Thursday. Friday is a swim and road run, Saturday is a long ride and drill session in the pool with a long run stretching into the remainder of the weekend as recovery…is this too much? I feel I am pushing to my limits every day except for recovery days and I feel I am getting fitter except my legs hurt like hell but I feel it’s worth it. I am overweight and need to shed about 15kg before my first race in 12 months to prevent me from embarrassing myself.

  11. My ftp is 210 so I put out like 195 in a race that has me averaging like 34km/hr cause I’m quite light and that way I don’t suffer to much with jelly legs

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