The Good, Bad and Ugly of Your Brick Workout

If you really think about it, what do you feel is the true value of a workout like this, knowing that the run will be slow, dehydration and glycogen depletion are likely outcomes, and you'll need several days of recovery before another quality session can be carried out? Progressive overload and breakthrough sessions take athletes to the next level, but there's a very fine line between cooking yourself and exerting an effort that you can bounce back from.

Self-awareness and an extremely detailed training log will help keep you on track.

More: Reasons to Keep a Training Diary

Mix Up Those Bricks!

No amount of running off the bike will fully prepare a triathlete for the demands on race day.

However, a buffet of "brick workouts" (swim/bike and even swim/run workouts can prepare your mind and body for the drastic physiological adaptations that take place in anywhere for 50 minutes to 17 hours, (sprint triathlon to ironman).

Going from a horizontal position in the water, using mostly your core muscles and upper body (yes, triathletes, you should still have at least a two-beat kick and increasing it in the last 50 meters of the swim leg) to a vertical position, demanding your legs to run to transition at the time, can seem like utter torture. Until, of course, we hear our name being yelled from the crowd. An adrenaline surge gets us to T1 but our heart is still trying its best to pump blood to our legs while at the same time returning it back to our lungs and heart.

More: Practice Swim-to-Run Transitions

Think of an hourglass on fast forward. The result: a skyrocketing heart rate. But do not fear, transitions are trainable, and below you'll find some of my favorite and creative workouts to prepare your body and mind for the intensity that awaits you on race day.

Swim Bricks

Water & Land:
500-1000y easy with some drilling and kicking mixed in
Main Set: 10 X [hop out of the pool for dryland - 10 toes raises, 10 lunges, 10 pushups, 3 pull-ups, 10 crunches or V-sits; by a 100 IM or freestyle swim at about 75 – 85% of max speed]
2nd Set: 4 x 50 fast on 5-10 seconds rest; 300 pull; 4 x 50 fast on 5-10 seconds rest

Cool-down: 100 easy swim


Warm-up: 500-100y easy with drilling and kicking of choice

Main Set: 10 x 50 at 90% of max speed on challenging interval or 5 seconds rest
1-minute rest
5 x 100 (50 drill/50 swim) on interval that allows for :15 rest
2 x 200 at race pace on interval that allows for :20 rest
8 x 25 Sprints off the block with walkout recovery
200 easy pull recovery

*Quick transition to a 10- to 15-minute run starting off easy and increasing pace every minute until you end up at your desired race pace!


Help yourself, but always in moderation. Know what your body can handle. Focus on enduring those seemingly impossible sessions, but even more so, focus on knowing when to wave the white flag and train with intelligence. Purpose, moderation, quality and recovery are necessary ingredients for a successful triathlon season.

More: Find Triathlon Success

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About the Author

Marisa Carter

Marisa L. Carter, MS, RN is the Owner and Head Coach of Evolve Multisport. For more information on coaching services or to contact Marisa, please visit
Marisa L. Carter, MS, RN is the Owner and Head Coach of Evolve Multisport. For more information on coaching services or to contact Marisa, please visit

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