A Pile of Bricks

4 05 2011

You probably recognize this:

as a pile of bricks. (source)

So when I mentioned I did my first brick of the season, I completely understand if you were like this:


Let me explain:-)

A “brick” is where, in one training session, you do two workouts back to back. Brick workouts are an important part of triathlon training, because come race day, you’ll be doing 3 workouts back to back (to back)! So, of course you want to practice this! Brick workouts typically describe a workout that is a bike ride which transitions directly into a run. But, you could do a swim/bike brick too. Brick workouts simulate part of the racing experience, so that you can train your muscles and your brain on what to expect when you’re doing the real deal!


Then run. Could this also be categorized as an awkward and embarrassing race photo? I think so 🙂

So why is it called a “brick”? Well, that’s how your legs feel when you transition from the bike to the run (especially your first time).  Your heart will start to pound, as the blood is switching from flowing through your biking muscles to your running muscles. But you use your legs for both! When you do a brick, you will discover that you are using different muscles. Trust me.

When I did my first triathlon, my coaches eased us into our first brick. We did our usual Saturday long ride, but this time we were told to switch into our sneakers and jog for just ten minutes immediately after. Puh! ten minutes? Piece of cake!

Um, my legs were SCREAMING at me! “WHAT IN THE WORLD ARE YOU DOING??” I quickly realized why every Saturday for the remainder of our training we were scheduled to do a brick.

Don’t you want to just go do a brick workout right now?? 🙂

If you’re a newbie, this is a great way to get started with bricks. Begin by doing a normal ride, followed by a short run. When you’re nearing the end of your ride though, ease up a little on the gears, so the resistance is lighter; that way, your legs won’t be burning before you even get off the bike. Then, quickly switch into your sneakers, and go! It will be tough for the first few minutes, but the more you practice, the more you’ll get used to it 🙂

I used to coach swimming and one of the things that the head coach would always remind the swimmers was, “Hard training, easy race; Easy training, hard race.” I think bricks fit into “Hard training,” for sure. And honestly, transitions in a race are still hard for me, despite how many bricks I do during my training. I don’t know that they’ll ever be “easy” and I don’t know that I ever want them to be that easy. I just know that doing them is one of the best ways I can prepare for my race, and I can finish with a smile:

(I love you all enough that I’ve put up this picture!!)

Check out these articles about brick workouts, with some examples of some brick workouts:




Question of the day: What was your most painful workout experience?