A “brick” workout turns out to be running after biking, so named because ones’ legs are purported to feel like bricks for the first mile. When I first saw the term, without knowing the definition, I imagined it was doing more than one event in a day, as the check boxes I use in my weekly workout log stack like bricks. More learning.

training brick
my training log bricks

As my first triathlon is now rapidly approaching, I am having my own brick experiences. At the end of my very first week of this adventure, I did what I would call a mini-brick workout. I rode my bike for 35 minutes, followed by a 15 minute run/walk, and finished with a 15 minute swim in the pool. No ill effects were noted then, and as I was so new to running at that point, I had zero expectation that my legs would be anything other than bricks!

A bit more than a week later, I did the same 35 minute bike ride, this time followed by a 26 minute run, my first time running that long. Again I was so excited to be able to increase my running time that I didn’t notice (or comment upon) how my legs felt.

Then I hit the stretch where running was really painful. Tri this: P.I.T.A.┬áLet me reiterate: Do not ride a bicycle with an eccentric load on your back. Bad idea, particularly if it turns out you have an old back injury that leaves you vulnerable to SI joint problems (likely a souvenir from gymnastics). Thankfully, I’m now recovered and more aware of how to care for myself going forward.

So it wasn’t until last Sunday at the end of week 8 that I did another brick workout. I biked for 52 minutes, followed by a 24 minute run. I stopped and walked for 2 minutes during the run, as I felt generally tired that day. I noticed that my calves were a bit sore, but otherwise my muscles didn’t feel unduly strained. I did note in my log that I might want to put a rest day or light workout the day before my next brick.

One week later, its time for my next brick. My goal today was to do the full distances in the upcoming mini triathlon. I started with bike, gradually increasing the intensity as my muscles warmed. I completed 11.2 miles (race is 11). Arriving home, I did a quick shirt change as my muscles weren’t the only thing warming up, blew my nose, and headed out to run. My legs actually felt pretty good during the run, although by the time I was chugging up the gentle hill to home, I was ready to be done. Distance run: 2.25 miles (race is 2). I then rode my running route on my bike to get the actual mileage, which felt easy and relaxed. I finished by swimming 650 m (race is 300 yards). I would have kept swimming but the pool was getting crowded, so I decided to call it a day.

I’m pleased with today’s brick workout, and am now feeling confident that I will be able to complete my mini-triathlon in 2 weeks. I’m relieved, as my training is now going to be somewhat interrupted by travel, heading first to Wisconsin for a wedding, and then Oregon for the solar eclipse. I’m bringing my running shoes and my swim gear with me and plan on getting some workouts along the way. Brick by brick, I’m building strength, endurance and confidence.

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