Friday, May 23, 2008


In the triathlon world, you'll hear people talking about "bricks" a lot. These are training sessions in which you do two activities back-to-back. For example, swim and then bike. Or bike and then run. The main idea is to get your body accustomed to making the physiological shifts it needs to make in a race when switching activities.
Yesterday our Tri Class did what was called a "broken brick" workout. Basically, we ran a mile, hopped on our bikes and rode 8 miles, ran another mile, rode 6 more miles, and finally ran one more mile-- a total of about 1 hour 40 minutes. This was a pretty good approximation of the amount of biking and running I'll be doing in my triathlon in a few weeks-- a 13 mile bike and a 3.1 mile run. I was pleased to find that I had a little extra kick left in my legs at the end of the last mile and was able to turn it on and pass one of the girls at the end (I know, you're not supposed to be all competitive all the time, but I couldn't help myself!)

While biking along through lush green countryside, again on an overcast 55 degree day, I intentionally made it a point to appreciate the weather-- great for biking and running (just not swimming!) The wind was a bit stiff at times, forcing me to drop a few gears on the flats, but otherwise it was a nice, peaceful ride.

I wondered as I rode... "What really is a brick? Where did the word come from?"

I had a couple of thoughts: "After a good bike ride, my legs feel like bricks on the run!" "If I keep working out like this, I'll be built like a brick house." or "Doing this kind of workout will help me from hitting the proverbial "brick wall" during a race.

Well, I looked on the internet and it turns out my first guess was probably the closest to being right. Here are a few links to articles about brick workouts that I found:

The best part about yesterday's workout? Variety is the spice of life. Just as I'd begin to tire of one activity, I got to swap it out for another. It made 100 minutes go by pretty quickly.

I also appreciated knowing that after that much time of aerobic activity I still had some gumption. Perhaps enough to add in a 20-minute swim?

(Oh yeah, and going home to a hot bath, a warm dinner, and a session of legs-up-the-wall while watching Grey's Anatomy was pretty nice, too.)

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