Beyond the Brick: 2 Super-Charged Triathlon Workouts

If you're training for a triathlon, you'll have to accept a few changes in your life.

No matter what you do, your skin and hair will smell like chlorine for days following a swim workout. Like it or not, you'll have to get used to wearing spandex. And unless you plan to quit after the swim and bike portion of the race, be prepared to start your run on wobbly legs. 

More: How to Balance Your Training Volume

When making the change from cycling to running, you can expect a dip in energy levels and compromised running mechanics. 

In the time it takes you to trade your cycling cleats for running shoes, your brain is attempting to regulate your breathing, heart rate, blood flow and muscular recruitment.

Brick workouts, which build endurance for race day, have become a mainstay in triathlon training programs. 

More: Are Brick Runs Overrated?

Typically, the bike-to-run brick involves completing a cycling workout and then immediately transitioning to the run. The exact time, distance, heart rate and intensity are determined by exercise experience and race distance.

To better prepare for the bike-to-run transition, swap your brick for a cinder block session.  A cinder block is just like a brick, only heavier and more versatile. While there is nothing wrong with a brick workout, a cinder block session brings weight-bearing cardio and strength training into the training mix. 

More: How to Prep for a Successful Season

Instead of simply biking and running back to back, cinderblock sessions use kettlebells, a weighted sled or an erg to engage the core, strength the lower body and improve hip extension and flexion. 

This level of training will fatigue the legs and cardiovascular system, while strengthening the lower body and core, allowing you to power through the run portion of your triathlon.

More: Benefits of Kettlebell Training for Triathletes

The brick workout adheres to the old school endurance paradigm that says volume is king. You're knowingly fatiguing your body in order to find out what it feels like to run with or through compromised form. By pairing functional training tools like the kettlebell with running, a cinderblock session shifts the focus from enduring pain to improving fitness. 

Add variety to your training program, improve total body strength and reduce the risk of overuse injuries by trading your brick workout for a cinderblock session.

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About the Author

Joe Vennare

Joe Vennare is the co-founder of Hybrid Athlete, Kettlebell Cardio and Race Day Domination. As the Director of Programming, Joe designs innovative training programs for endurance, adventure and obstacle race athletes. In addition to his professional pursuits Joe is a sponsored triathlete, ultra-marathoner and adventure racer. Check out his triathlon training guide at thehybridathlete.com.

Joe Vennare is the co-founder of Hybrid Athlete, Kettlebell Cardio and Race Day Domination. As the Director of Programming, Joe designs innovative training programs for endurance, adventure and obstacle race athletes. In addition to his professional pursuits Joe is a sponsored triathlete, ultra-marathoner and adventure racer. Check out his triathlon training guide at thehybridathlete.com.

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