3 Brick Workouts to Help You Run Faster, Longer

It is frustrating to come off of the bike and see your run pace fade with every mile. If you are looking to increase your sustainable running speed in your next Olympic-distance or 70.3 event, you may benefit from brick workouts (a bike ride immediately followed by a run) that are targeted toward your race day goals. It is best if these workouts are preceded by race-pace speed training in stand-alone workouts in cycling and running.

Before diving into the workouts, you need to know your steady aerobic heart rate for cycling, or know your power zones. You also need a goal race pace for the run portion of the workout based on past performances. The running portion of the workouts can be done on a track, a measured course or with a device that measures speed and distance.

One caution for the race pace segments. Too often athletes run their speed work segments at paces that are not reasonable or sustainable for race day. Obviously, the total running distances in the workouts are less than 10k (Olympic) or 13.1 miles (70.3). While these workouts are challenging, they should not leave you exhausted. I like the phrase, "uncomfortably possible".

More: Training and Racing Intensities

More: Training Zones Explained

The workouts are 90 to 110 minutes in length and because they include race paces, you need to be somewhat rested. Your workouts in the few days leading into these workouts need to be relatively easy.

Notice that the workouts do include some pacing that is slightly faster than goal race pace. I'm looking for you to be capable of changing speed and knowing that you do have some reserve. The goal is not to run the interval segments as fast as possible. The goal is running at a sustainable, high (for you) speed.

The running segments are shown as time in the charts, but you can convert the times into distances based on your personal running goal pace.

You are looking for three key results out of the series:

  1. Learn how to control run pace off of the bike.
  2. Learn what race goal pace feels like and what a pace slightly faster and slightly slower feels like.
  3. Sustain goal race pace without full (Zone 1 pace or a walk) recovery between the intervals.

Brick Workout No. 1

Bike

  • 30 minutes: Aerobic or Zone 1-2
  • 30 minutes: The fastest speed you can manage while staying in Zone 2

Run

  • 5 minutes: Run at a speed that is roughly 15 seconds per mile slower than goal race pace
  • 2 minutes: The fastest speed you can manage while staying in Zone 2
  • 5 minutes: Race pace
  • 2 minutes: The fastest speed you can manage while staying in Zone 2
  • 5 minutes: Race pace
  • 2 minutes: The fastest speed you can manage while staying in Zone 2
  • 5 minutes: Run at a speed that is roughly 10- 15 seconds per mile faster than goal race pace

4-5 minutes Cool down running Zone 1

Add additional walking for 5 to 15 minutes after the workout

More: The Pros and Cons of a Brick Workout

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