Triathlon Training – Double Brick Sessions

With only 4 weeks to go until the Triathlon World Championships in London it’s almost time to start some speedwork in my training. I have until now been doing mainly strength and endurance work and building up my overall fitness. it’s also time to start working on some race specific training such as Brick session. Brick sessions are back to back sessions, usually a bike and then a run, although you can do swim and bike sessions too, but as many people struggle with running off the bike then bike to run sessions are the norm.

My training schedule called for some double brick sessions in the form of a bike, run, bike, run and in a strange way I had been looking forward to them. I did the first last week, a 35 minute bike ride, followed by a 10 minute run, followed by a 20 minute bike ride followed by another 10 minute run. Not only does it get me used to running off the bike, but it gives me an opportunity to practise transitions too, even if they aren’t exactly as they’ll be on race day. I swap tops when doing these at home for two reasons.

  1. I need a cycling top with pockets in for the ride so that I can carry a pump, spare tube, multi-tool and mobile phone just in case – I don’t bother with all of this on race day.
  2. I stick a t-shirt on over my tri-suit for the run as I don’t want to be seen running around Ynyslas is a skimpy tri-suit!

I had another of these double brick sessions on my schedule for Friday, and this time extended the bike portions out a little to be closer to 40 minutes each.

I actually run really well off the bike. In fact, I always run a lot faster off the bike than I can if I just go for a standalone run. I’m not supposed to have started any speedwork yet, but I just can’t help myself when running off the bike. I jump off the bike, change my shoes and then go off at top speed. The whole session was supposed to be at a fairly steady effort, but when running off the bike I just have to go flat out!

Bike 1

The first ride was around what I call the Staylittle Loop. From Ynyslas it heads into Borth, through Dolybont and then up over the Lon Glan Fred Climb, through Staylitte and down the narrow twisty hill towards Tre Ddol. It then cuts off the corner and adds in the little climb up to Gwynfryn Hall before heading back to Ynyslas.

I didn’t feel great on this first bike portion of the double brick session. The wind seemed to be against me all the way and I was starting to think that the rest of the session would be a struggle. The wind obviously couldn’t have been against me all the way around, but the only time it was behind me was for the twisty, narrow descent where I am on the brakes all the time anyway.

Run 1

I jumped off the bike and headed out onto the first run, expecting to suffer. As usual I headed off at top speed and flew around the short little loop down the the visitor centre at the estuary and back. Last week this loop took me just under 10 minutes, but today I was running well and finished it off in just under 9 minutes with an average pace of 6:10 mins / mile. Not bad, and I was feeling good now that I had got going.

Bike 2

I was now determined to put in a good effort so headed off on the same loop as before on the bike, determined to improve on the time I had put in first time around. The wind was still against me and I was beginning to tire come the end, but I managed the loop this time in 38:04, 21 seconds faster than the 38:25 I had set first time around. Not a huge improvement but at least it wasn’t slower and I was now beginning to feel tired. Just another 10 minute run to go.

Run 2

Once again I jumped off the bike and headed off faster than I should have on the run. My legs were beginning to feel it now but could I go faster than the first time around? The answer to that, despite the burning quads and general fatigue was yes. This time around it took me 8:33, 21 seconds faster (again) than my first loop which was completed in a time of 8:54. It did feel pretty hard though with an average pace of 6:01 mins / mile.

I then headed off for an easy 10 minute jog across the golf course and out onto the beach in order to cool down before heading home, satisfied that I’d put in a good effort. These brick sessions may be hard, but I quite enjoy them and it’s nice to be putting in some proper efforts now and then. I just hope it all pays off.

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Alan Cole

Alan is a Freelance Website Designer, Sports & Exercise Science Lab Technician and full time Dad & husband with far too many hobbies: Triathlete, Swimming, Cycling, Running, MTBing, Surfing, Windsurfing, SUPing, Gardening, Photography.... The list goes on.

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