Brick training refers to the back to back training of two disciplines. In a weight lifters world, this may be known as a super-set (e.g. bicep curls super-set with push-ups). But this term comes more into play with triathletes and duathletes.
Why is it important?
For a triathlete or duathlete, it is important to help ‘mimic’ the race scene.
You will be expected to jump from race leg to race leg, with little to no rest in-between,. So it helps to condition your body at fighting through the muscle fatigue and shortening its recovery time to be used for the next race component.
How do you do it?
You might pick two legs of the race (e.g. swim/bike or bike/run) and pair them together. This could consist of two longer sessions, which even more closely mimics a race condition, or could focus on more of a HIIT speed session with shorter intervals being repeated multiple times.
One of the best back to back pair ups to do is the bike/run session. This is simply because it is considered one of the toughest transitions in the race. Most people are very fatigued through this point and are still required to use their legs as the dominant muscle group back to back.
Nicole competing in the Active TRI Series earlier this year.
Other important notes
Ensuring you are mapping out your distance is very important. Avoiding traffic and people that provide a ‘break’ in your session is also helpful to continue mimicking the ongoing race concept and to avoid extended break times.
Choosing a brick length to suit your triathlon distance is another key training point. For example, a sprint triathlete would do shorter and more ‘speed worthy’ lengths than an Olympic or Ironman trainer.
Another tip is to choose your weak points. If the bike is your weak section, make sure you’re including this in your brick session. It will be harder than training the bike alone, but it’s the only way to improve at it.
Just like a race, a brick session is hard work if you’re doing it right. If you are swimming, you may not be aware of the amount you are sweating out, that also needs replacing.
Ensuring you are well hydrated with electrolytes throughout the session, as well as consuming adequate carbohydrates to keep you powering through are all important components to allow you to train your best.
Some of the best endurance products Bulk Nutrients have that I recommend are Electrolyte Plus, BCAA Recovery as well as Recuper8 to sip on while I’m brick training and during transition. Of course, whole foods like bananas and nuts and high protein foods are then a great post training/race choice.
Sipping on BCAAs during Brick Training will help with recovery.
Some outdoor Brick Training examples
Here are a few different outdoor training session ideas at different distances.
- Sprint Duathlon: 8-10km ride + 2km run. Repeat 3-4 times.
- Olympic Duathlon: 10-13km ride + 4-5km run. Repeat 3-4 times.
- Sprint Duathlon: 500m swim + 2km beach run. Repeat 3-4 times.
Some indoor Brick Training sessions
Here’s a great indoor Brick Training session, for when the weather isn’t so great outside.
- Sprint Duathlon: 10 minutes quick spin bike + 5 minutes fast paced run. Repeat 4 times or for one hour in total.
If the run is your weaker point, switch the times around so that you are running for longer and spinning for less.
If you’re into triathlons, I’d love to hear how you’re going. Please comment any questions for me below.