Wednesday, May 13, 2009

BRICK Workouts

Today's workout: Ride bicycle to work (~8.33 miles since there is no detour to the gym today), BRICK, Run 30 minutes.

What is a BRICK workout?


Bike/run Bricks are included in this workout for one reason only – To help your legs acclimation from cycling legs to running legs by simulating the bike to run transition. Bricks are not about proving how tough you are. A brick can be either a valuable training component or a training liability (causing overuse injuries).

How you approach your brick will determine the outcome. Basically, a brick workout is a back-to-back workout to help simulate real racing. The most popular brick is the bike/run brick, which as we stated above, is performed primarily for leg acclimation from your cycling legs to your running legs. During this training program, bike/run bricks will be included during weeks 5 through 8. You will be performing one a week. Depending upon where you ride, you will need to do some preparation. Have your running gear ready to go when you finish your bike ride. This is where you want to simulate your race transition from bike to run as much as possible. During your race, you will not have a tent in which to change clothing, so you will want to cycle in the same gear you plan on running in.

On the run portion of the brick, you will only need to run for about 10 to 20 minutes (20 minutes tops!). This will provide enough time for you to make the acclimation from your cycling legs to your running legs. And do not simply take off running hard! Begin walking for about 2 minutes, then start out with an easy jog. You may notice your heart rate is higher than your typical zone. That is why walking initially will help lower it providing active recovery. Try and keep your heart rate in your zone during the run.

Brick Tips

 If possible, perform your brick transition at your home. Why? So you have a safe place to store your bike when finished. If you travel to do your cycling (like I do!) make sure you lock your bike in your car before heading out on the run!

 A stationary trainer is a great place to perform your brick workouts. It may be boring but you are assured your bike will be safe when you hop off and it allows you to bike and run in a familiar area. It will also allow you to focus solely on cycling speed work without worrying about automobile traffic.

 Plan ahead. Have everything you will want for your race. Your shoes, perhaps a running singlet (shirt), a hat, and your nutritional drink or gel. Again, you want to simulate real race conditions as much as possible.

 Practice your bike to run transition as if you were in a race. Take your time initially. Yes, speed in the transition area is important, but not right now. If you decide you want to stick with this sport, then you can worry about being competitive and focusing on time saving steps. For now, get used to bending over, slipping on your running shoes and heading out on the run.

 Begin your run with a walking warm-up. Take a sip of your drink during this time. Ease into your run. Do take off sprinting.

 Play close attention to how you feel. Yes, the first time you head out, you
will probably feel awful! You will not be used to the feeling of switching from cycling to running. But you will get used to it. On your first brick be patient but take note of things that stick out. Are your legs tired? Probably, but that will improve with practice. Are you cramping? Could be you didn’t drink/eat enough on your bike ride or it could be what you ate! Are you dizzy? Probably due to nutrition/hydration related. My point, take note of how you feel. In most cases, how you feel on the run portion of the brick is directly related to your nutritional consumption on the bike. And it may not necessarily be how much you consumed but what you consumed.

I did my third brick today and it wasn't too bad at all. I got home, grabbed my running cap and MP3 player and set out on my warm-up walk. I can't make it as far without stopping as I can when I do just a running workout, but my time for the same distance is only off by about 2 minutes. Now I just need to practice a brick after going the race length of 16 miles on the bike instead of just 4.

For those interested, the training program I'm following can be found here.

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