BRICK WORKOUTS ARE TRIATHLON-SPECIFIC WORKOUTS THAT COMBINE SWIM AND BIKE, BIKE AND RUN OR SWIM, BIKE AND RUN EFFORTS. THESE SESSIONS PROVIDE RACE-SPECIFIC TRAINING FOR TRIATHLON RACING. FOR LONG-COURSE ATHLETES, SESSIONS THAT TARGET FATIGUE RESISTANCE, NUTRITION TOLERANCE AND PACING ARE IMPORTANT. THIS IS A TWO-DAY BRICK WORKOUT DESIGNED TO ADDRESS ALL THREE OF THESE TRAINING COMPONENTS. BREAKING THE WORK UP OVER TWO DAYS ALLOWS FOR MORE QUALITY TRAINING AND SAVES THE ACTUAL RACE EFFORT FOR RACE DAY.
The first day incorporates a long bike ride with a short run. The ride can be four to seven hours. This workout simulates a full-distance bike leg thanks to the duration, the need for race-specific fuelling and event-specific positioning (you should stay in the aero position as much as possible). For athletes new to full-distance racing, a long zone two (easy) ride is enough. For experienced athletes, 30 to 60 minutes of the second half of the ride should be at full-distance race pace. This is a test of pacing, fuelling and fatigue resistance – the session will give you a good indication of whether your nutrition plan and training are on track for race day.
After the bike, transition to a 15to 60-minute run. Strong runners with a lot of mileage can push this run to an hour, while less experienced runners should aim for 15 to 30 minutes. Easy running is enough, but you can also include some fiveminute repeats of 20 seconds quick turnover/40 seconds easy to work on your leg speed and help you with your race day preparation.
The second day is a long run day. The Saturday bike/run brick creates lingering fatigue. A night’s sleep does not provide full recovery, so the Sunday run feels like a continuation of the day before’s brick work. As a result, less running is required before the fatigue simulates the last third of a full-distance marathon.
Starting with 30 to 60 minutes of easy running, the workout is one to four by 5 km, or 30 minutes at goal Ironman pace (whichever is shorter). The total volume of running is less than 2½ hours. There is similar benefit doing more easy running before you do the quality effort (making your legs tired), so be conservative with the number of intervals. Very fit and experienced runners can build up to four by 5 km at goal pace with 5 minutes rest between efforts, aiming to even split all four.
No matter what marathon split you are aiming for, this workout should still take less than 2½ hours. Athletes incorporating a run and walk protocol in their racing plan should follow that plan during this workout. Instead of making long runs even longer, you can incorporate hiking into your program. Hiking is a safe way to add mileage to prepare for a longer marathon. You can add some hikes to your plan and make your long run workouts higher quality and less than 150 minutes.
The first time you try this, start with easy running and be conservative with the 5 km repeats. A two-hour run on tired legs, at an easy pace, may be enough for the first time. Incorporate race-specific marathon fuelling and realistic pacing. If your goal pace in not realistic, you will not be able to hit that pace on your first 5 km repeat. The trick to pacing is finding a rhythm, so try to run by feel as much as possible.
This weekend brick is a great way to get a safe, long-distance triathlon effort in over two days. Breaking up the workouts with incomplete rest ensures you get a lot of quality in the training without creating excess fatigue. That said, this weekend of work demands significant rest, so planning for three to six days of recovery afterward is important. One of these weekends in a three to four week training cycle is more than enough.
Melanie McQuaid won the ITU Cross World Championship last year. In addition to her successful pro career in the sport, she is also a renowned coach from Victoria.