Monday, July 2, 2012

Brick It!

For anyone that’s ever done a triathlon or any training for a multi-sport event, you are familiar with the concept of the “Brick Workout.”  The idea is to do a bike workout immediately followed by a run. Or a swim, followed by a ride.  This is awful because your legs literally feel like bricks (or sometimes Jell-O).  Although it is completely evil, it is a necessary evil if you want to improve your overall times.  It helps your body get used to the transition from bike to run and can also help you improve your transition time between events. 

For anyone new to this, here’s the basic gist (taken from this site):

1. Work up to it. A brick is for those who have been training and can complete the run and bike distance planned in the brick.

2. Make sure the brick isn't scheduled too close to any planned races. Bricks are very good training workouts and are very hard on the body. There should not be any races planned within two weeks of a brick workout to allow plenty of recovery time.

3. Get all the gear needed ready. Fill water bottles. Get your running shoes set up for when you come off the bike and are switching to running. Place anything else needed for the run, such as energy gels, next to your shoes.

4. Wear clothes comfortable for both sports. One of the points of a brick is to practice transitions for triathlons or duathlons. Any switching of clothing costs time in a race. Making the routine as close to it as it will be on race day is extremely helpful.

5. Drink plenty of fluids. Since this workout usually takes longer than biking or running alone, it is very important to drink enough. Also, bricks are a great time to practice race-day nutrition if you are training for a longer-distance race, such as an ironman.

6. Focus on the transition from bike to run. Since most duathlons and triathlons require it anyway, keep your helmet on until the bike is racked, or put away. Then take off your helmet and bike shoes, if you didn't remove them while still on the bike. Get your running shoes on and get going. This is a great time to test how your feet will react to running without socks! It saves about 40 seconds of transition time.

7. Force the run at first. It never feels good the first 100 yards or so. Most of the time it feels like your legs just won't work. The normal rhythm will come, but until then just force leg turnover and warm your legs up. You will most likely surprise yourself when you review your Garmin and find out you were actually running faster than you thought you were. 

While I haven’t found the pool here on base yet, haha, I do have my bike and indoor trainer here and plenty of area to run.  I’ve only forced myself to do this workout twice because it felt so awful both times!  I suppose there’s only one way to make it less horrible though – do it more often! 

What do you do to motivate yourself into completing a workout that you really, really do not feel like doing?