Are Brick Runs Overrated?

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It's important to review your approach to training each year and decide what's working and what's not. This is a critical exercise for anyone looking to improve.

As coaches we perform the same review, although we have the benefit of looking at training and results from a detached perspective. This year, our top change for the upcoming season is a big one: we decided to eliminate brick workouts (aka running off the bike) as a "special" workout.

Brick Workouts Have (Limited) Value for the Long Course Triathlete

Before we go further, let's be clear that there is some value to running off the bike on tired legs.

Mental Value: Feel it and taste it so that your first experience with running off the bike isn't on race day.

Pacing Value: Brick workouts can help you learn the difference between rate of perceived exertion (RPE) and pace. You've just been pedaling a bike for hours and now you are running. It's very common for you to feel like you're running an eight-minute per mile pace, when in fact you might be running faster.

In addition, because everyone around you is running too fast, you are getting a lot of feedback that this "too fast" pace is the correct one. In fact you'll most likely feel as though you're not running fast enough.

A brick run will help you experience this disconnect without the pressure of a race. It will also help build your confidence to run your pace versus the pace that everyone else is running in the first critical miles on race day.

How-Do-I-Get-My-Legs-Back Value: It's important to learn how to adjust your running form in the first couple of miles in order to get your running legs back. A few bricks can help you develop and refine your own strategy to achieve this.