What is Brick Training & Do You Need it to Succeed in Triathlon?

You’ve probably been searching around the web for quite some time now, trying to learn as much as you can about brick training for your triathlons, duathlons and swim-run events. Or maybe you’ve even tried to run quickly straight off the bike or swim on race day, but it didn’t turn out as well as you hoped.

Indeed, if you’re like a lot of our beginner triathlete & multisport buddies, then you probably ended up with heavy legs, bonking on the course and having to walk/run slower than anticipated or in some cases crawl to the finish line.

Don’t despair. You can start increasing your triathlon and duathlon success, and all you have to do is tweak your triathlon/multisport training strategy a bit. Generally, that means you need to add brick training to your regiment.

Let’s get our read on…

What is a Brick/Brick Training?

Most beginners enter the world of multisport; triathlons & duathlons for example, coming from running, cycling, and sometimes even a swimming background. If you are new to the multisport endurance world — then you should quickly get familiar with Bricks or Brick Training.

It is a game changer!

Success in triathlons, duathlons and swim-run (aka splash & dashes) events on race day is predicated on adding bricks to your training plan and practicing transitions from one sport to another.

Bricks are training sessions where you perform 2 sports back to back. In the case of triathlon training, it’s when an athlete mixes two of the three triathlon legs in one workout.

Brick Training is essential for your race-day success in triathlons, duathlons, splash & dashes and swim-run events.

Especially if you are a beginner triathlete, you can experience some “strange things” after swimming horizontally for some time and upon exiting the water your attempt to get vertically positioned quickly — things could feel kind of “wonky.” After all think about it — you've been moving — but you have not really used your large leg muscles - so, they are kind of asleep when you pop out the water.

Similarly, when you are getting off the bike after completing a cycling leg of a triathlon or duathlon, you are a bit wobbly on your feet generally. Akin to having, “bricks” as legs.

Your body is like — “WTH”!! Meanwhile, your mind is like “move b*tch.”

It’s one of those things athletes only get better at with proper training and practice.

Swimbikerun Fun wants to share with you how to add brick training into your triathlon or multisport training plan, some best practices for doing bricks, and what mistakes to avoid.

The Swim → Bike → Run Switcheroo!

Changing disciplines is hard yet necessary in multisport racing. Pushing too hard in switching disciplines can literally blow you up physically & mentally without practice. It’s so easy to shift too hard into cycling coming out the swim and get a rude awakening coming off the bike onto the run.

At the Cap Tex Tri, we heard an athlete coming out T2 yell “I can’t feel my legs. I feel like I got cinder blocks on instead of these Nike’s.”

When you first start triathlon or duathlon training — you will start out by performing each discipline individually. The moment your plan calls for a brick you will gain insight on how your body responds to the switch. Generally speaking your legs will feel slow & heavy going from swim to bike or bike to run.

Brick training is a way of grasping how to string two disciplines together to build familiarity, work on your pacing and figuring out how to handle your mind and body on race day.

One person on our team said Bricks remind them of Peanut butter & jelly. Say what now?? We asked them why? They shared - “ My brain is like jelly coming out the water the first few miles on the bike; my legs feel like thick chunky peanut butter when coming of the bike; & by the time I reach the finish line I’m hungry & need some bread” 😂

Takeaway: Changing Disciplines affects both your mental, and physical sensibilities

Triathlon & Multisport Transitions - Practice Them!

Speaking to the beginner triathlete - we want to take a moment to define the multisport term transition” because it really has four meanings - kinda sorta😜.