Nailing the Bike-Run Workout: Brick Repeats

by Coach Jumbo Tayag, ITU Level 1 Coach

When a coach orders a brick session to their athletes, they usually have two reactions:  A group who hates and loathes them, and another who swears by them, and they are the one to tell you how effective those sessions are.   Guess who will be performing well on race day, easing out to the run leg and kicking the jello legs away?

There are varying types of Bike-Run workouts:  transition bricks, short bricks, long bricks and they may depend on the type of race an athlete is training for.   From a coaching perspective, not only athletes race better when they regularly incorporate bricks into the training plan, it is also one way to prevent unnecessary injuries when the body is not ready to transition from using different sets of muscles from bike to run.

Other self-coached athletes err on the thinking that getting stronger on the run will solve the jello legs effect felt on running after the bike leg.  That is not quite right.   Your legs will not be fresh after biking on a triathlon or duathlon, so you do need to practice running after your legs have been beaten up from cycling.

Here is a sample workout:

  • 10-15minutes Easy Cycling as warm-up (progress to having higher cadence/low gear as the warm-up finishes)-Perceived Effort 1
  • 10-15 minutes of Cycling at 40k pace or Target Race Effort- Perceived Effort 4
  • 1 km Run at Target Race Effort/Pace- Perceived Effort 4
  • 5 minutes Easy Spinning between Reps
  • Repeat minimum 3x, and more if progressing in the training plan, and when fitness improves
  • 10 minutes Easy Running for Cool Down.
See also:  Best Images: 2018 Ironman 70.3 Bintan

Training Tip:

  • Plan your transition Area and Bike/run loop where it is safe to leave your bike a few minutes at a time. If you have a stationary trainer or treadmill at home that would be best if you want to stay indoors.
  • Try to focus on having shorter strides at higher cadence on the start of your brick runs. You will feel this will allow the tight muscles to loosen up after a few hundred meters.

It is easy to fall into the trap of having a 10-15 minute run after every ride, but if you put a goal pace on both the ride and the run, and having it repeated several times, it will not only improve your anaerobic threshold, you will also develop the muscle memory of running on tired legs.   And with this brick repeats workout, you can also practice your T2 transitions.  Happy training!

Coach Jumbo Tayag has been doing triathlons since 2004.  Jumbo, an ITU Level 1 certified coach since 2006, is coaching around the Clark and Pampanga area and you may reach him with his email jumbotayag@gmail.com and contact number:  +639178977470

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