Brick Workouts to Help You Finish Fast

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As you close in on the last four to six weeks of the summer race season, you want to capitalize on your hard-earned fitness and make the last one the fast one. You want a PR.

If the biggest race-day challenge you have is running well off of a fast bike ride, these workouts can help. They're geared toward athletes who generally produce good results at run-only track workouts, but when it comes to running fast after a rocket-fast bike split, they've been disappointed.

I've outline a workout for Olympic-distance racers and one for sprint-distance racers. Both workouts are bricks (a bike ride immediately followed by a run) and are done at a track or on the open road using a speed and distance gadget such as the TIMEX Speed + Distance or Bodylink tools.

More: The Pros and Cons of a Brick Workout

Olympic-Distance Brick

Total brick workout time: 1:30 to 2:15, plus transition time

Bike: Ride 1:00 to 1:30 with the last 15 to 20 minutes at Olympic-distance race heart rate (Zone 4 to 5a) or power output if you have a power meter.

Transition right to your run

Run: Run a total of 30 to 45 minutes.

  • Run the first half-mile at Zone 2 heart rate intensity or an easy pace. Go right into the next set.
  • 2 x 880 (half-mile) at a pace that is 5 percent to 8 percent faster than your best Olympic-distance triathlon run pace. (Ex. If you run an 8:00-per-mile pace, your goal pace for this workout is 7:22 to 7:36 per mile). If you're on a track, check your pace at each 220 mark (1/8 mile). If you are on the open road and you're using a speed and distance tracking unit, check your watch every minute or so to be sure you're on pace. This pace range is what you will maintain for the remainder of the run intervals.
  • 2 to 4 x 440 (1/4 mile)
  • 4 to 8 x 220 (1/8 mile)

During the intervals, make each recovery interval an easy jog at Zone 1 to 2 intensity for a time equal to the previous workout. (Ex. Follow a three-minute run interval with an easy three-minute jog.)

Run easy in Zones 1 to 2 or at an easy aerobic pace for the remaining time.

Repeat this workout each week on your non-rest weeks, up to one or two weeks prior to your key race.

More: Go Old School With Run-Dominant Bricks