Brick training for beginners
in the triathlon world usually refers to a bike-run workout but
would also include a swim-bike workout. Brick workouts are
important in triathlon since the sport is made of up of three
consecutively run legs - swim, bike, run, in that order for the most
are new to the sport of triathlon and/or it has been a while
since you've exercised regularly, you don't want to leap right
into brick workouts. Give yourself several weeks of easy-steady
aerobic training and light strength training to first build your
aerobic fitness base.
workouts don't have to be hard, but they are taxing on the
system. When you switch from cycling to running, you are using
many of the same muscles but in slightly different movement
patterns (legs) or entirely different movement patterns (arms).
If you do a swim-bike workout, you are switching from using
primarily your arms and upper body to primarily your legs and
lower body. In other words, just the change in your movements,
body position, and muscle groups used is tough work.
is why the first time you hop off the bike and run should not be
in a race. It will hurt like heck and you may say to yourself,
"This is the hardest thing I have ever done!"
2-3 months of base training, it is time to add in the brick
workouts. A starting brick workout can be as simple as ride 45
minute to 1hour, then quickly change
into running gear and run/jog 10 minute easy. "Easy"
may not feel easy as the first time most people do a brick they
find the run to be hard regardless of their desired effort level.
the point that you complete that first brick, my recommendation
is to include at least 1 bike-run brick workout per week. As the
weeks progress, you can either lengthen the duration of your
brick or increase the intensity. For a sprint your distance
should get into the 15 mile bike - 2mile run distance. For
Olympic distance at least one brick should be 20 mile bike - 3
mile run. For those of you training for a 70.3 / Half-Iron
distance event, ultimately you would want to get to at least one
brick that is in the 50 mile - 6 mile distance.
least one time prior to your race you should build your bike into
your goal race pace, and then run several minutes at your goal
pace off the bike, so on race day you are not surprised by the
discomfort of this sort of effort.
can go farther on these but be aware of the exertion levels and
recovery time longer or harder bricks demand.
bike bricks are also useful but harder to pull off as they
require taking your bike to a pool or body of open water. Ideally
at least once before your race you will swim half or more the
distance of the event, then bike some to all of the distance.
Repeated swim-bike bricks will help your body adapt more quickly
to the transition from prone swimming with minimal leg use to
semi-upright cycling with lots of leg exertion.
more advanced bricks include repetitions of shorter duration
multiple times. Examples of a sprint triathlon focused multiple
miles - run 1 mile - bike 5 miles - run 1 mile
400 yards - bike 3 miles - swim 400 yards - bike 3 miles
complete brick AKA a practice triathlon would include some time
in all disciplines consecutively. Again, this is a good thing to
include at least once prior to racing in your first triathlon.
You do not need to complete the entire distance - just some of
it, and you might include some time at your goal race effort so
race day is no shock to the system.
not include full Ironman (140.6) brick suggestions because in my
opinion you shouldn't be training for an Ironman if you're just
getting into the sport. To really prepare well for an Ironman
requires several seasons of consistent triathlon training.
CSCS, is lead coach and co-founder of One Step Beyond. He has
been writing articles like the one above since 2000. Marty's
favorite brick is 15 mile bike - 3 mile run - 15 mile bike
- 2.5 mile run - 15 mile bike - 2 mile run.