I have my first triathlon Saturday.  Llast Sunday night, with less than a week until the race, I decided to do my one and only bike-to-run brick workout. This is not ideal, but one brick is better than none.

What is a Brick Workout?

A brick workout for triathlon training describes any time you do two sports back to back with no or very little time in between: running immediately after biking, or biking right after a swim. In this post, though, I’m mainly referring to the bike-to-run brick.
If you’ve never done a triathlon, doing a brick workout during training is a must, according to Cary, North Carolina-based USA Triathlon coach Marty Gaal, CSCS, and owner of One Step Beyond.

“When you switch from cycling to running, you are using many of the same muscles but in slightly different movement patterns (legs) or entirely different movement patterns (arms),” he writes in “Brick Training for Beginners” on USATriathlon.org. “That is why the first time you hop off the bike and run should not be in a race.”

What are the Benefits of a Brick Workout?

Sunday night was not the first time I’d ever done a brick workout. I did a few last year when I was cross training. I’d go for a short run right after mountain biking. So, I knew what to expect when I got off my trainer Sunday, changed my shoes and hopped on the treadmill. I knew my feet would feel like cement blocks and my legs would be very tight.

“When you stop biking and start running the legs feel ‘strange’ and heavy (this is why they call these workouts bricks!) and the heart rate goes up, as our body tries to switch the blood from flowing into the muscles used for biking to those used for running,” writes personal trainer Enrico Contolini in the article “Introduction to Bricks” on BeginnerTriathlete.com. “Brick workouts help shorten the time our legs take to start feeling more normal thus allowing us to run better and faster.”

Sunday, I made myself run at my desired pace, and by the end of the mile, I felt pretty good. It was confidence-boosting–which is another benefit of brick workouts.

Not only do you train your body to get faster after transitioning from one sport to the next, but brick workouts in triathlon training also help get you mentally prepared for your race…and the pain.