As winter fades and the weather gets warmer, it is the perfect time to supplement your training with some cycling or swimming. While you’re at it, you may even want to dip a running toe into the waters of triathlon.
Triathlons are a great way for runners to incorporate much-needed cross-training in a fun way. Cycling and swimming allow your body to rest from the constant pounding out on the pavement, and practicing transitions can be a fantastic endurance-training tool. Whether or not you sign up for a triathlon race, you can get some racing skills from doing brick/bricks.
First things first: A “brick” refers to completing two disciplines in the same training day. A typical brick training session might involve a 30-minute swim, immediately followed by a 45-minute run. Another example is an hour-long bike, right into a 30-minute run.
The fun part comes in the transition—the time between getting out of the water and getting on your bike and then getting off the bike and into your running shoes. It’s something that every triathlete should practice and that every runner can gain endurance from. Plus, it makes cross-training days a little less boring.
Now that we know what a brick is, let me explain the “brick/brick.” This sample brick/brick workout involves cycling and running:
Step One: Set up an area in your driveway or another secure location with your running shoes, a towel to step on, a water bottle, sunglasses and anything else you usually run with.
Step Two: Get on your bike and ride for 6-8 miles, finishing back at your transition site.
Step Three: Dismount at your transition site, and get your helmet and bike shoes off and running shoes on as quickly as possible.
Step Four: Immediately start running and run up to 3 miles, finishing back at your transition site.
Step Five: Get your running shoes off and helmet and bike shoes on as quickly as possible, and bike another 6-8 miles, always ending at the transition site and switching disciplines as quickly as possible.
Step Six: Repeat steps 2-5 as many times as you can!
The mileage will add up, your breathing will be labored, your legs will start to feel like rubber and you will love every minute. For some additional fun, time yourself in transition and see if you can beat it each time.