You swim, you bike, you run. So why do you watch less competent athletes stream past you in every race? The fact is, you’ve neglected one part of triathlon training (and chances are they haven’t). What is it? Brick training.
Building Tri Success Brick by Brick
What on earth are brick sessions? If this is the first time you’re hearing the term, then you’re in for a treat. Brick sessions are a very specific type of tri training session and they have the ability to slash your race times, shaving minutes off your total.
What Are Brick Sessions
Brick sessions are training sessions where you concentrate on how to link two legs of the triathlon together: swim to bike, and bike to run. This gives you the opportunity to practice the logistical skills of swapping from one to the other, but also to get good at it! Combine brick sessions with a slick transition set up and you can speed up your total race time.
Why Incorporate Brick Sessions Into Training
When was the last time you got home from a bike ride and immediately ran off down the road? If the answer is “never”, then you need a brick session to show you what it feels like. Any triathlete will tell you how bizarre it feels. Your legs feel wobbly and heavy from pedalling, and all of a sudden you want them to pound the ground as you set off at a run. Not nice! Brick training prepares your body and mind for the sensation and helps you plan ahead.
A swim/bike brick is less important but still gives you the chance to practice whipping off your wetsuit and getting on your bike without a break.
How Exactly Will Brick Sessions Help In A Triathlon
1 They’ll slash your finish time
Brick sessions will take seconds off your T1 and T2 time, which means a faster finish time. Win/win!
2 And make you more confident
Do brick sessions in training and you’ll feel more prepared and confident going into the race.
3 Prepare your legs
You’ll know what to expect from going from the bike to the run, and that can only be a good thing.
4 Get you into a rhythm
Bike/run brick training will make the first few minutes of the run easier, so you can get into your stride sooner.
5 Help you overtake
You’ll find it’s easier to overtake cyclists and runners who haven’t practiced the transition in training.
How to Swim/Bike Brick
Doing swim to bike brick sessions aren’t the easiest thing to arrange, so take advantage of any opportunity you get. If you’re a tri club member, see if a session can be arranged at a local pool, lido, or open water training spot. You’ll need someone on hand to look after your bike as you swim, and then to watch your wetsuit whilst you head off on the bike.
How to do it: Set up your bike, helmet, shoes, and other bike kit just as if you were in T1. Swim for at least 10 minutes in the kit (and conditions) of your race. Exit the water as quickly as you can. The idea is to replicate race conditions. Locate your bike, run with it to your imaginary “bike out”, and mount the bike. Then ride off for at least 10 minutes.
How to Bike/Run Brick
This is easier to set up than swim/bike but you will still need to make sure your bike is secure when you head off on your run.
How to do it: lay out your run kit (change of shoes and anything else you will use in a race) just like you would in T2. Head out on your bike and ride for at least 20 minutes, long enough for your legs to be a bit fatigued. Ride back to your start point, jump off, and wheel your bike to your “T2” spot. Rack it as carefully as you would during a race, remembering to remove your helmet at the right time. Quickly change your shoes and any other items of kit. Then head off on your run, focusing on the sensation of getting your legs and breathing under control.