Sunday, April 24, 2011

Brick training: Benefits of Bike - Run Workouts

I will never forget the first time I did a run immediately after a bike workout. I could not believe the fatigue in my legs and how they literally felt like bricks. This feeling of deep fatigue is extremely common for beginner triathletes. There are also numerous stories of extremely talented runners entering into the sport of triathlon and experiencing less than optimal run splits following the bike section of a triathlon.

One needs to approach brick training just like they would their training for individual sports. There needs to be a prep (foundation) phase, then a build phase, and finally a peak (race) phase. In the prep phase it is critical to train the central nervous system what it feels like to run immediately following a bike session. The optimal goal is learn how to get the run turnover (cadence) up into the 90 foot strikes per minute as quickly as possible. These efforts should be completed as easy efforts. During the build phase of the training program, endurance bricks can be introduced. These longer brick sessions help the body to become more efficient. A few shorter, high intensity intervals can be added into some of these workouts to get a feel for race pace without taxing the body to much. Then as one is entering into the peak phase of training, it’s time to work into longer, sustained effort race simulation brick sessions. These steady state efforts help to sharpen the speed and power necessary to optimize the race experience. With the proper training, one should be able to run off the bike very close to their “fresh” (run race only) pace. The key is to stay healthy, have fun, and train smart. Enjoy the journey!

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