The Case Against Brick Workouts

As part of our most recent rewrite our entire triathlon training plan suite (OutSeason, Half and Full Ironman), we decided to eliminate brick workouts (runs off the bike) as a “special” workout. After years of reviewing results and the feedback of our athletes, customers, and comparing both with our own training and racing experience, we have come to the conclusion that brick workouts hold little if any benefit.

In fact, they should be entirely avoided unless your daily schedule requires you combine your bike and run workouts! Here’s why we think you should consider making the same change.

It’s about Race Execution, Not Fitness
The triathlon space is culturally conditioned to seek out a training or money solution to a perceived problem or issue: I had a bad run at Ironman® X. In order to fix this, I must train more/harder/differently to fix it.

However, our experience says that 95% of the time failure to run to your potential on race day is a race execution issue — usually riding or running too hard, especially in the early stages of each leg.

As athletes we have over 40 Ironman® and half-Ironman® finishes between us. As coaches we have nearly 20 years of Ironman-specific experience, having coached over 400 Ironman® finishers in our years as one-on-one coaches before founding Endurance Nation in 2007. Endurance Nation is now over 500 athletes strong, with over 1000 full and half Ironman® finishes in 2011 alone. Finally, Rich and/or Patrick have been at every US Ironman® since 2007 to witness how the race plays out for front/middle/back of the pack athletes in all age groups.

This is a LOT of data about what works and what doesn’t work. Our conclusion is that while a poor run is often determined to be a caused by a lack of training or fitness, the truth is that it’s usually a race execution issue:

  • The Bike: Riding the first 45 to 90 minutes of the Half Ironman® or first two hours of the Ironman® bike too hard, specifically hills and headwinds.
  • The Run: Running too fast in the first 3 to 4 miles of the Half Ironman® or the first 6 to 8 miles of the Ironman.

There is No Magical Run-Off-the-Bike Fitness
A run off the bike is nothing more than another run on tired legs. 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, taste it, experience it so that your first experience with running off the bike isn’t on race day.
  • Pacing Value: Specifically, the disconnect 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 at Pace X, only to actually be running at Pace Y. Generally, Y is faster than X and, because everyone around you is running too fast, you are getting a lot of feedback that Y is the correct pace, that you’re not running fast enough and that X, the slower (correct!) pace, is wayyy too slow! A brick run will help you experience this disconnect and build your confidence to run your pace vs the pace that everyone else is running in the first critical miles on race day.

But once you get these two points above…you get it. Continuing to do brick after brick after these lessons have been learned is the training equivalent of hammering a nail that’s already in the wall: easy to do yet causes peripheral damage and yields minimal results. As coaches, we’ve learned that the key to becoming a faster runner is to create opportunities for you to run faster on fresher legs.

Bricks and Running Off/Near the Bike in Endurance Nation
So, for 2012, this is how our squad, and our training plan customers, will be executing their runs “near” their cycling sessions, in order from most to least preferred:

  • Separated by Several Hours — An AM bike followed by a PM run.  For example, rather than doing a hard 1hr bike followed by a 25-30’ run, you can now do that 1hr bike and then run later in the day or evening for 30-45 minutes, very likely at a faster pace and with better form than that traditional AM brick run.
  • Run First, then Bike — Coach Rich experimented with this in 2011 while training for Ironman® Wisconsin. Coffee then run 45-60’ at Easy to Marathon Pace. Have breakfast then do his normal Saturday or Sunday ride. Observations:
  • Was able to run MUCH faster, in cooler temps and on fresher legs vs the traditional post long ride brick.
  • The run had very little impact on the quality of his bike.
  • However, nutrition did need to be carefully managed for rides over about 3hrs: you’re burning ~700-800 calories before breakfast, then eating about 600-800 calories before jumping on the bike to burn another 2000-3000+ calories. As a result, you really need to pay attention to properly fueling yourself during the ride. This is a good thing as every long ride should be an opportunity to practice your nutrition!
  • Bricks for Time Efficiency: At the end of the day, one of our primary goals is to help you manage your training time more effectively. Running straight off the bike is a very time efficient training session: one workout, one costume change, done. However, you are combining the sessions for time efficiency purposes only, NOT to develop magical run-off-the-bike fitness…because there is none!
  • We realize that two triathlon coaches telling their athletes and readers to not run off the bike…is very unusual! We’ve received some “colorful” emails and we welcome your comments below!

    We look at it this way: We can do what everyone does, giving you what you think you need because it’s just how things have been done, or…

    We can reflect on what we’ve learned in our nearly 20 years of Ironman® coaching, over 40 personal finishes, thousands of athletes coached and dozens of races observed.

    What we’ve learned and how we apply it:

    • The vast majority of the time, under-performing the run is the result of overcooking the bike or the first quarter to one third of the run.
    • If you want to run fast you need to create opportunities to run fast. We do that by creating for you more opportunities to run faster, on fresher legs, vs slowly on tired legs.
    • The address the mental and proper pacing issues by:
    • Putting “big days” into your training plan. A “Big Day” is a 30-60’ swim followed by a 3-4hr bike and a 30-60’ run. “This is what it feels like to put it all together across a long day, this is what it feels like to run on tired legs. I get it. Done.”
    • Teaching you how to execute the half and full Ironman® bike and run. With over a thousand race day data points this year alone…TeamEN has a well-honed race execution system and every EN athlete races on the shoulders of the hundreds who’ve gone before him.

    Endurance Nation Triathlon Coaching
    Learn more about endurance training by taking one of our FREE online seminars! We’ll even include a free copy of our Four Keys of Race ExecutionDVD, a $37 value!

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    56 comments
    • Alschlebecker
      REPLY

      This represents quite a shift, does this mean that those of us that are using your 20-week Out-season plan and have purchased our 20-week IM plans should expect to get updated plans?

    • Alschlebecker
      REPLY

      This represents quite a shift, does this mean that those of us that are using your 20-week Out-season plan and have purchased our 20-week IM plans should expect to get updated plans?

    • teamen
      REPLY

      This non-brick guidance was included in our 2012 OS, HIM, and IM training plans. You'll find it in the introductory text of the training plan and in the first few bike/runs (I guess I can't say brick anymore? 🙂 in the schedule. Rich

    • teamen
      REPLY

      This non-brick guidance was included in our 2012 OS, HIM, and IM training plans. You'll find it in the introductory text of the training plan and in the first few bike/runs (I guess I can't say brick anymore? 🙂 in the schedule. Rich

    • Fpuente53
      REPLY

      I kind of agree, being a 58 year old, I can now only run well in the AM with fresh legs, what do you think about running for 10-15 min when doing a “brick workout” just for mental training to get used to that heavy feeling and tigtness of the lower back one  (me) often feels during the first few minutes of the run.
      Fernando

    • Fpuente53
      REPLY

      I kind of agree, being a 58 year old, I can now only run well in the AM with fresh legs, what do you think about running for 10-15 min when doing a “brick workout” just for mental training to get used to that heavy feeling and tigtness of the lower back one  (me) often feels during the first few minutes of the run.
      Fernando

    • teamen
      REPLY

      Fernando, sure…but I would counter by asking how much “practice” do your really need? I know what it feels like to hit myself in the head with a hammer. I get it. I don't really need to practice it all that often 🙂 Not saying that 10-15' run is a deal-breaker, just trying to put the situation in perspective. You'll get much more, real, get faster benefit by running later in the day as warm-up, ~10x strides, 1 mile at tempo, 3-5' walking cool down. That would take you about 30', tops and you could bang that out right before dinner. That WILL make you a faster runner. Rich

    • teamen
      REPLY

      Fernando, sure…but I would counter by asking how much “practice” do your really need? I know what it feels like to hit myself in the head with a hammer. I get it. I don't really need to practice it all that often 🙂 Not saying that 10-15' run is a deal-breaker, just trying to put the situation in perspective. You'll get much more, real, get faster benefit by running later in the day as warm-up, ~10x strides, 1 mile at tempo, 3-5' walking cool down. That would take you about 30', tops and you could bang that out right before dinner. That WILL make you a faster runner. Rich

    • Alschlebecker
      REPLY

      Rich,
       
      I now see this in the IM plan I bought but not in the OS plan at all. It is filled with Bike/Run workouts (see how I got around saying Brick…dang now I did). Could I maybe have an older version of the 2012 OS (beginner) plan and newer version of 2012 IM?

    • Alschlebecker
      REPLY

      Rich,
       
      I now see this in the IM plan I bought but not in the OS plan at all. It is filled with Bike/Run workouts (see how I got around saying Brick…dang now I did). Could I maybe have an older version of the 2012 OS (beginner) plan and newer version of 2012 IM?

    • Roadlt1
      REPLY

      As one that is trying to get back into it, as one that did five ironmans, alcatraz twice,  several half-ironmans, add in some sprints and olys between 2000,and 2005, this was my mentality; after each ironman, I felt I needed to swim, more, bike more, run more, This grew each year until I was training about 25-30 hours a week and my race times  getting slower and slower. It all came to a head at Ironman Florida in 2005, by race day, I was burned out on Tris, managed to finish, with my slowest time ever. Took some time off, did a few olys in 2006, did a couple olys in 07 and i was done with tris. By 2009, i quit working out all together for about nine months and put on thirty-five plus pounds. Started working out again at the end of 09 dropped about twenty pounds. In all of 10, I could only get on the bike twice for a workout, no swimming. Workoputs were weights, running and elipticals. Finally, this year, I've been able to get back on the bike and swim again. None of this was do to physical ailments, it was all mental. I just could not get back on that bike or get in that pool. Anyway, my point is, I wish i would have followed Rich's plans back then, I sure visited his website a lot, didn't buy into it then, sure wish I would have. It all makes sense now.

    • Roadlt1
      REPLY

      As one that is trying to get back into it, as one that did five ironmans, alcatraz twice,  several half-ironmans, add in some sprints and olys between 2000,and 2005, this was my mentality; after each ironman, I felt I needed to swim, more, bike more, run more, This grew each year until I was training about 25-30 hours a week and my race times  getting slower and slower. It all came to a head at Ironman Florida in 2005, by race day, I was burned out on Tris, managed to finish, with my slowest time ever. Took some time off, did a few olys in 2006, did a couple olys in 07 and i was done with tris. By 2009, i quit working out all together for about nine months and put on thirty-five plus pounds. Started working out again at the end of 09 dropped about twenty pounds. In all of 10, I could only get on the bike twice for a workout, no swimming. Workoputs were weights, running and elipticals. Finally, this year, I've been able to get back on the bike and swim again. None of this was do to physical ailments, it was all mental. I just could not get back on that bike or get in that pool. Anyway, my point is, I wish i would have followed Rich's plans back then, I sure visited his website a lot, didn't buy into it then, sure wish I would have. It all makes sense now.

    • Thomas Gelach
      REPLY

      Agree.  I have been preaching this for years and to run less in general to make sure you are focusing on quality run sessions.  Keep it up

      Thomas Gerlach
      Pro Triathlete

      Save 10% at a TRISPORTS.COM by using Coupon Code – TGER-S at checkout.

    • Thomas Gelach
      REPLY

      Agree.  I have been preaching this for years and to run less in general to make sure you are focusing on quality run sessions.  Keep it up

      Thomas Gerlach
      Pro Triathlete

      Save 10% at a TRISPORTS.COM by using Coupon Code – TGER-S at checkout.

    • David Dorfman
      REPLY

      This works for me.  My philosophy is to reduce chances for injury, improve skills and enjoy fitness.  A brick always seemed like it was an enhanced chance for injury, not focused on skills and had limited fitness benefit.  Plus, it often meant carrying a back pack on the bike to and from the work out.

    • David Dorfman
      REPLY

      This works for me.  My philosophy is to reduce chances for injury, improve skills and enjoy fitness.  A brick always seemed like it was an enhanced chance for injury, not focused on skills and had limited fitness benefit.  Plus, it often meant carrying a back pack on the bike to and from the work out.

    • Rbonser1
      REPLY

      I know and ride with several KONA level triathletes. They have been telling me this for for some time, but I still do my bricks.. Looking forward to the new plans next year and hopefully faster runs with less injury potential.

    • Rbonser1
      REPLY

      I know and ride with several KONA level triathletes. They have been telling me this for for some time, but I still do my bricks.. Looking forward to the new plans next year and hopefully faster runs with less injury potential.

    • first timer
      REPLY

      After following the EN Long Course plan for almost a year now, 9 days out from IMFL you decide to post this? REALLY? You couldn't wait 9 more days to tell me that my entire last year of training was wrong? :p

    • first timer
      REPLY

      After following the EN Long Course plan for almost a year now, 9 days out from IMFL you decide to post this? REALLY? You couldn't wait 9 more days to tell me that my entire last year of training was wrong? :p

    • runrgrl
      REPLY

      I agree 100%. After watching my husband train for 4 IM's without BRICKS and having done my first IM this past summer with a total of  2 BRICK runs that were no more than 20 minutes, I know it is not necessary. I watch many people kill themselves with BRICKS and do not have good race results. You can do an many BRICKS as you want, but if you bike too hard, you still will not have an optimal run. QUALITY workouts, not QUANITY!!

    • runrgrl
      REPLY

      I agree 100%. After watching my husband train for 4 IM's without BRICKS and having done my first IM this past summer with a total of  2 BRICK runs that were no more than 20 minutes, I know it is not necessary. I watch many people kill themselves with BRICKS and do not have good race results. You can do an many BRICKS as you want, but if you bike too hard, you still will not have an optimal run. QUALITY workouts, not QUANITY!!

    • Ereck
      REPLY

      I have solved this problem in my training by doing all my long low intensity workouts as 3 small bricks.  For example 3x (15-20 min easy bike + 15-20 min easy run) and doing higher intensity workouts separately on separate days.  I also sometimes do a low intensity bike ride before a high intensity run as a brick.  Neither of these things feels like being hit over the head with a hammer.  I agree that doing a high intensity bike ride before a running workout doesn't make sense, however, I have a theory that doing the brick workouts I just described helps you more than just mentally.   Your central nervous system is in control of recruiting muscle fibers to perform physical activity.  It is likely that by repeating the action of cycling followed by running and running followed by cycling, you are training your brain to recruit the correct muscle fibers needed for each activity and to make the transition faster.  I only race sprint and olympic distances so it is very important to get up to speed as soon as possible right off the bike.  Is it possible that there is more benefit from bricks for shorter distance races?

    • Ereck
      REPLY

      I have solved this problem in my training by doing all my long low intensity workouts as 3 small bricks.  For example 3x (15-20 min easy bike + 15-20 min easy run) and doing higher intensity workouts separately on separate days.  I also sometimes do a low intensity bike ride before a high intensity run as a brick.  Neither of these things feels like being hit over the head with a hammer.  I agree that doing a high intensity bike ride before a running workout doesn't make sense, however, I have a theory that doing the brick workouts I just described helps you more than just mentally.   Your central nervous system is in control of recruiting muscle fibers to perform physical activity.  It is likely that by repeating the action of cycling followed by running and running followed by cycling, you are training your brain to recruit the correct muscle fibers needed for each activity and to make the transition faster.  I only race sprint and olympic distances so it is very important to get up to speed as soon as possible right off the bike.  Is it possible that there is more benefit from bricks for shorter distance races?

    • KiwiTri
      REPLY

      Couldn't agree more. Love your thinking! All we are doing is showing our legs what it feels like to run off the bike – and you don't need to run very far to figure that out. Havent done an IM since March 2010 and I can STILL feel what it feels like. I usually only jog until the legs and back ease up, thats it. But I know coaches who are having their athletes bike 180k then run 3hrs off the bike. Injury rates are very high, motivation becomes very low.

    • KiwiTri
      REPLY

      Couldn't agree more. Love your thinking! All we are doing is showing our legs what it feels like to run off the bike – and you don't need to run very far to figure that out. Havent done an IM since March 2010 and I can STILL feel what it feels like. I usually only jog until the legs and back ease up, thats it. But I know coaches who are having their athletes bike 180k then run 3hrs off the bike. Injury rates are very high, motivation becomes very low.

    • Kori
      REPLY

      So, if I have to put my two workouts together now for the sake of time, is it smarter to flip them aruond and do the run first, then immediately hop on the bike? Still would be running on “fresh” legs and not as much potential for injury when biking on tired legs, right? Also would be nice to not have to run in sweat-drenched clothes.  🙂 Feedback?

    • Kori
      REPLY

      So, if I have to put my two workouts together now for the sake of time, is it smarter to flip them aruond and do the run first, then immediately hop on the bike? Still would be running on “fresh” legs and not as much potential for injury when biking on tired legs, right? Also would be nice to not have to run in sweat-drenched clothes.  🙂 Feedback?

    • Endurance Nation
      REPLY

      Not wrong! Patrick will be at IMFL to deliver our Four Keys Talk and support the squad and YOU for your race. Please attend that talk. Proper race execution is far more important on race day than fitness!

    • Endurance Nation
      REPLY

      Not wrong! Patrick will be at IMFL to deliver our Four Keys Talk and support the squad and YOU for your race. Please attend that talk. Proper race execution is far more important on race day than fitness!

    • teamen
      REPLY

      I would counter that if you're going to follow the principles of specificity then, for short course racing, you may want to do one brick per week where you are riding very hard for the last 20', jump off the bike for a quick transition, and run about 1 mile at your goal race pace…right off the bike. Then add another 2-3 miles, if you want, to get in some additional volume. But you'd only need to do this in the last 4-5wks before your race. I would say that your easy, low intensity runs off the bike are neither very specific (not fast enough) or long enough — what if instead of doing 3 of these runs you combined the total volume into 1-2 runs, creating 1-2 non-running days in your schedule to absorb the work? We could go round and round on what may/may not work for you, as I don't know your complete story, how you're training, etc.

      Regarding specificity, the brick run and long course training and racing. Our observation, and our opinion, is that people aren't building much raw speed (call this the potential to run fast on race day) because they either have been sold the LSD running volume script and/or they are too tired from their other training (long bricks) to do the fast running that makes them faster. For example, let's say your current plan has you running 4x/wk for a total of 5hrs at an average pace of 9:00. If, through effective scheduling, I can have you doing intervals over here, running faster before/well after your bike vs right off the bike, doing a faster 2hr long run vs 2:30…the net being that your average pace across the week drops from 9:00 to 8:35's. In our experience you will become a faster runner,
      increasing your potential speed on race day.

      Race day is then about executing properly and running to your potential. If

      you look at typical Ironman training and run performances…clearly people

      are very fit, they are putting in the miles and they ARE running bricks.

      But you only have to do that run course teleportation exercise I described

      in my post (stand at mile 1, then go out to mile 18) to see that people are

      MASSIVELY underperforming. This is NOT a fitness issue! See very fit,

      running bricks, etc above. This is a pacing, race execution issue.

      The short answer is that the solution doesn't always have to be to do more,

      more often, more harder. Rather, it's about being smarter with the time

      that life has given you, increasing your potential speed, and then racing

      smart so that you can realize that potential — Rich

    • teamen
      REPLY

      I would counter that if you're going to follow the principles of specificity then, for short course racing, you may want to do one brick per week where you are riding very hard for the last 20', jump off the bike for a quick transition, and run about 1 mile at your goal race pace…right off the bike. Then add another 2-3 miles, if you want, to get in some additional volume. But you'd only need to do this in the last 4-5wks before your race. I would say that your easy, low intensity runs off the bike are neither very specific (not fast enough) or long enough — what if instead of doing 3 of these runs you combined the total volume into 1-2 runs, creating 1-2 non-running days in your schedule to absorb the work? We could go round and round on what may/may not work for you, as I don't know your complete story, how you're training, etc.

      Regarding specificity, the brick run and long course training and racing. Our observation, and our opinion, is that people aren't building much raw speed (call this the potential to run fast on race day) because they either have been sold the LSD running volume script and/or they are too tired from their other training (long bricks) to do the fast running that makes them faster. For example, let's say your current plan has you running 4x/wk for a total of 5hrs at an average pace of 9:00. If, through effective scheduling, I can have you doing intervals over here, running faster before/well after your bike vs right off the bike, doing a faster 2hr long run vs 2:30…the net being that your average pace across the week drops from 9:00 to 8:35's. In our experience you will become a faster runner,
      increasing your potential speed on race day.

      Race day is then about executing properly and running to your potential. If

      you look at typical Ironman training and run performances…clearly people

      are very fit, they are putting in the miles and they ARE running bricks.

      But you only have to do that run course teleportation exercise I described

      in my post (stand at mile 1, then go out to mile 18) to see that people are

      MASSIVELY underperforming. This is NOT a fitness issue! See very fit,

      running bricks, etc above. This is a pacing, race execution issue.

      The short answer is that the solution doesn't always have to be to do more,

      more often, more harder. Rather, it's about being smarter with the time

      that life has given you, increasing your potential speed, and then racing

      smart so that you can realize that potential — Rich

    • teamen
      REPLY

      Back in the dark ages of about…2003 or 2004, I was approached by a woman from Atlanta, training for IMFL, her first Ironman. Her's what an incredible story — 1xx pounds of weight loss over the previous 3yrs, with Ironman as the capstone to an incredible life changing journey. Her local coach was scheduling her for 120 mile bikes followed by an 18 mile run. I told her to fire him and I fixed it. She finished under 16hrs with a smile on her face. I've seen many, many example of this over the years…pure negligence.

    • teamen
      REPLY

      Back in the dark ages of about…2003 or 2004, I was approached by a woman from Atlanta, training for IMFL, her first Ironman. Her's what an incredible story — 1xx pounds of weight loss over the previous 3yrs, with Ironman as the capstone to an incredible life changing journey. Her local coach was scheduling her for 120 mile bikes followed by an 18 mile run. I told her to fire him and I fixed it. She finished under 16hrs with a smile on her face. I've seen many, many example of this over the years…pure negligence.

    • Sergio
      REPLY

      I agree and disagree with your theory. I’ve tried it both ways and my results are a little different. In 2012 I would ride, recover for an hour and hit the run. In 2013 and in preparation for Texas IM, I’ve been doing bricks right off the bike. I’m peaking right now with 5 hour rides followed with 2+ hour runs. I’m running a comfortable sub 8 minute mile, and have noticed that I have better run in bricks than just dry runs.

      I agree that the fitness level is either there or not, and that it’s more psychological than anything else to do a brick. I will try your run in the am and bike later in the day method and see how I feel.

      I’m thinking that a combination throughout the month of bricks, reverse bricks and no bricks would contribute to muscle, mental, and cardio confusion netting a better fitness level.

    • Sergio
      REPLY

      I agree and disagree with your theory. I’ve tried it both ways and my results are a little different. In 2012 I would ride, recover for an hour and hit the run. In 2013 and in preparation for Texas IM, I’ve been doing bricks right off the bike. I’m peaking right now with 5 hour rides followed with 2+ hour runs. I’m running a comfortable sub 8 minute mile, and have noticed that I have better run in bricks than just dry runs.

      I agree that the fitness level is either there or not, and that it’s more psychological than anything else to do a brick. I will try your run in the am and bike later in the day method and see how I feel.

      I’m thinking that a combination throughout the month of bricks, reverse bricks and no bricks would contribute to muscle, mental, and cardio confusion netting a better fitness level.

    • Jack Hain
      REPLY

      Joe Friel’s training methods (which I generally adhere to) say the opposite: that it’s bad to bike in the AM and run in the PM because 1.) the fatigue from cycling earlier will lead to injury 2.) there is little benefit because it is not teaching your body the actual stress it will see in the race (the stress of running directly off the bike). The result is that adhering to these principles drastically skews your risk-reward ratio towards higher risk and lower rewards.

      While I believe it depends a lot on the specific strengths and weaknesses of the athlete, I believe that athletes that have a lot of trouble running of the bike should do exactly that. If they are susceptible to running injuries, all it takes is a short 15-20 minute run off the bike a few times a week for the necessary adaptations to take place. Yes, if you run faster outside of bricks you should do your breakthrough running workouts as stand alone workouts, but they should be the earlier in the day than bike workouts when doing two or three-a-days. Less risk, greater rewards.

      • admin
        REPLY

        Jack, I agree that individual athletes should work on the aspects of their performance that are most limiting to them. Our approach here isn’t for athletes who have trouble running off the bike, or for athletes who are injured but need to work on running fitness…but rather for the other 95% of folks whose only “trouble” running off the bike is exceeding their target pace — running 30 to 60 seconds faster than perceived for the first few miles of their race. Thanks for the input!

    • Jack Hain
      REPLY

      Joe Friel’s training methods (which I generally adhere to) say the opposite: that it’s bad to bike in the AM and run in the PM because 1.) the fatigue from cycling earlier will lead to injury 2.) there is little benefit because it is not teaching your body the actual stress it will see in the race (the stress of running directly off the bike). The result is that adhering to these principles drastically skews your risk-reward ratio towards higher risk and lower rewards.

      While I believe it depends a lot on the specific strengths and weaknesses of the athlete, I believe that athletes that have a lot of trouble running of the bike should do exactly that. If they are susceptible to running injuries, all it takes is a short 15-20 minute run off the bike a few times a week for the necessary adaptations to take place. Yes, if you run faster outside of bricks you should do your breakthrough running workouts as stand alone workouts, but they should be the earlier in the day than bike workouts when doing two or three-a-days. Less risk, greater rewards.

      • admin
        REPLY

        Jack, I agree that individual athletes should work on the aspects of their performance that are most limiting to them. Our approach here isn’t for athletes who have trouble running off the bike, or for athletes who are injured but need to work on running fitness…but rather for the other 95% of folks whose only “trouble” running off the bike is exceeding their target pace — running 30 to 60 seconds faster than perceived for the first few miles of their race. Thanks for the input!

    • Johan
      REPLY

      Interesting angle at the topic.
      I do have brick workouts as do my athletes. sole purpose, to leanr to manage pace the first 1-1,5 miles.
      Top athletes do bricksand they earn their living with it.
      Some coaches have ppl run 60-90 after the bike, that is not helping, 20-30 miutes does.

      Nothing wrong with the article, the title could have been the argument against long runs in brick workouts.
      With tight schedules I have sometimes weights-runs and rides in one day. Nutrittionand knowing how your body reacts to the various loads of each training session, makes for each one to be quality.

      You get a better cyclist by riding your bike, a better runner with training running and a better triathlete if you have experience in detail about the transition from biking to running.

      We train T1 and T2 as wellright? so, the overall time results (the minutes) are within the details.

      • admin
        REPLY

        Johan, the title is purposefully provocative for sure. And bricks as a time-saving measure (2 workouts, 1 shower) make sense. That said, once you learn what the “right” pace is out of T2, it’s not something you need to practice. While we definitely approve frequency over volume (more 30′ runs than 90′ runs), we aren’t a fan of those runs after the bike. We are greedy…I want more runs that are better (before fatigue of bike) than those after. Again, if life dictates that’s the way it is, then that’s the way it goes…but in the quest for excellence, only a few such workouts — given their high “cost” — should be required in a cycle. Thanks for the comment!

    • Johan
      REPLY

      Interesting angle at the topic.
      I do have brick workouts as do my athletes. sole purpose, to leanr to manage pace the first 1-1,5 miles.
      Top athletes do bricksand they earn their living with it.
      Some coaches have ppl run 60-90 after the bike, that is not helping, 20-30 miutes does.

      Nothing wrong with the article, the title could have been the argument against long runs in brick workouts.
      With tight schedules I have sometimes weights-runs and rides in one day. Nutrittionand knowing how your body reacts to the various loads of each training session, makes for each one to be quality.

      You get a better cyclist by riding your bike, a better runner with training running and a better triathlete if you have experience in detail about the transition from biking to running.

      We train T1 and T2 as wellright? so, the overall time results (the minutes) are within the details.

      • admin
        REPLY

        Johan, the title is purposefully provocative for sure. And bricks as a time-saving measure (2 workouts, 1 shower) make sense. That said, once you learn what the “right” pace is out of T2, it’s not something you need to practice. While we definitely approve frequency over volume (more 30′ runs than 90′ runs), we aren’t a fan of those runs after the bike. We are greedy…I want more runs that are better (before fatigue of bike) than those after. Again, if life dictates that’s the way it is, then that’s the way it goes…but in the quest for excellence, only a few such workouts — given their high “cost” — should be required in a cycle. Thanks for the comment!

    • dan
      REPLY

      so how do you determine your average pace out of T2? doing bricks? finding your threshold? doing your fast short high quality runs you talk about?

      • EN Blogger
        REPLY

        For first year athletes on the Team, we use their Zone 1 effort based off of their vDOT test, plus 30″ per mile in an IM, zone 2 + 30″ per mile in a 70.3. For our second year or more advanced athletes, they can rely on a combination of experience and heart rate. Hope that helps!

    • dan
      REPLY

      so how do you determine your average pace out of T2? doing bricks? finding your threshold? doing your fast short high quality runs you talk about?

      • EN Blogger
        REPLY

        For first year athletes on the Team, we use their Zone 1 effort based off of their vDOT test, plus 30″ per mile in an IM, zone 2 + 30″ per mile in a 70.3. For our second year or more advanced athletes, they can rely on a combination of experience and heart rate. Hope that helps!

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