World Class Workout 9: Use These Bricks to Build Triathlon Power

Credit: Jesse Hammond/

Having done his first triathlon in November 2000 "for fun and a bet amongst friends," Matt Dixon barely even qualifies as a newcomer in triathlon.

But qualifying is what he has been doing ever since, with top 10 finishes at both the Blackwater Eagleman and Vineman 70.3 in 2001 (which earned him an Ironman Hawaii slot that he turned down, feeling he was still too new to the sport).

In August [2002], Matt finished as the top amateur at the competitive City of Los Angeles Triathlon, beating several seasoned pros, and was the second-place overall finisher at the prestigious Nautica Malibu Triathlon, behind veteran Mark Lees.

With a masters degree in exercise physiology, Matt is getting serious about designing a training program. Currently working with Bob Forster at Phaze IV in conjunction with Ian Murray's ACME personal training system, Matt is creating a workout schedule that he hopes will put him in the winner's circle at Kona next year. It is the first time he is relying on formal coaching in his training, having previously been somewhat of a free spirit (which has certainly served him well so far).

A mild-mannered, lanky guy whose party-animal wild side is concealed by a disarming sense of humility and a crusty British accent (he was born and raised in London and attended school in the States), Matt agreed to share his favorite "brick" for this column.  

Matt explains the basis of his unconventional brick workout, and why he enjoys it:

"I have found talking to most triathletes that one of the hardest parts of any race is getting off the bike and getting into the run. In my first triathlons I found that I could be as fit as I like, but when hitting the run it would feel like my body was 10 feet in the air, and my legs six feet under.

"I believe the only way to get better in this transition area is PRACTICE. So basically this workout is better than a simple bike/run (brick), as you go through the feelings and physiological adjustments more than once."

Matt warns that this workout is best attempted with a secure training base and should be done in an area conducive to executing transitions safely, quickly, and without distractions.


10 minutes of easy jogging, followed by 4 x 2 minutes of running with 1 minute rest.

"The intervals are a warm-up, and I would descend the effort in the runs to where the last one is only about 80 percent effort...not hard! Then stretch, hydrate and make sure everything is set up for your brick set."

Main Brick Set

  • Run 5K at pace

  • Bike 40K at race-pace cadence

  • Run 5K at pace

  • Bike 40K faster than first 40K

  • Run 5K at fast pace

"The main set is continuous and completed how I like to think about racing," Matt explains. "Ascend the effort to maintain a fast pace (things are always easier at the start of a race). In this workout, the run loop and bike loop should be the consistent each time to provide feedback on how you do in each section.

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