I did my first brick workout today! For those that haven’t tried a tri (see what I did there?), a brick workout is when you do two of the disciplines back to back in training, mostly the bike then the run. The reason they call it a brick, is that it is said that your legs feel like bricks when you hit the run portion. Today I did a 40 minute bike ride followed immediately by a 20 minute run. I was so excited to do this workout! I’ve heard and read so much about brick training and was eager to practice the mini transition between the two to se how long it would take.
I headed out very eager to try my best to maintain cadence on the bike. I have been practicing on the stationary trainer to try to get myself used to knowing when I am at the right cadence and riding for increasing periods of time at that cadence. For me, that is a cadence in the high 80’s to mid 90’s. That might be low for some, but since I started in the low 60’s I think I’m improving nicely. Do you know what doesn’t happen on the indoor trainer? The wind! Man, I felt at times like I was just spinning my pedals and not getting anywhere. It was a challenge but I was pretty happy with the cadence I maintained and for how long. I remember when I started I would let the bike coast very often because my legs just needed a rest. Now I am able to maintain for much longer.
I hit the local road that leads to a greenway where I knew I could get some speed without concern for traffic. I rode that out and then the roads back. The race will be on a standard paved road, so too much training on the greenway would not be like the real thing. The 40 minutes wasn’t bad. I had to tell myself a couple times to relax my quads. For some reason, they have been seizing up during my swim attempts and I almost felt like they were going to go any minute. Thankfully, I was able to focus on relaxing them while still pedaling away. I went fairly hard on purpose because I was not tracking my miles in real time, but was more concerned that I was sure my legs would be nice and tired so I could experience the brick for all its glory. I also read that it’s a good idea to stand on your pedals as you are approaching the dismount area to get the blood flowing differently in the legs.
I got to the house and dismounted as quickly as I could. I wasn’t thinking about the things that had to happen here at the house with my bike that would not be a consideration at the triathlon. Since I was riding on the road I needed my lights, so I had to take a second to turn those off. I ran the bike up the driveway and into the front door where I had my bike stand set up and my running shoes waiting. I sat on the floor and quickly started removing my cycling shoes. I chuckled to myself that I was trying to do it quickly as if i was in the race and felt silly. Then my husband came out, realizing what I was doing, and started to pretend cheer me on. I just cracked up as I laced up my running shoes and set my helmet down to head out the door.
As I walked out of the living room, I thought to myself “I don’t get the whole brick thing, my legs feel great!” I started my Garmin and began to trot down the street. The moment I took my first stride, or rather attempted to take my first stride, I knew exactly what everyone means when they call it a brick. I felt like I had elephant feet. My legs felt heavy, like I was wearing the bottom half of the iron man suit with no power and all the weight. I have no idea why, but it made me smile. I guess I really felt like I was officially training for a triathlon now. The feeling took some time to wear off and about ten minutes in I would say I felt normal. A little tired, but not so heavy. I was surprised with my time. I covered two miles in the 20 minutes I had. Generally in my training runs, my pace is more like an 11-12 and change mile, especially with as hot as it has been. I expected far worse after coming off the bike.
I returned home super happy with how I felt. I check my stats and had ridden 8.5 miles and ran 2 miles. Not bad for my first brick, and way beyond my expectations!! What an exciting feeling! The upcoming race is 10 miles on the bike and a 5k, so I feel very confident I can finish those without issue. Now….if only I could figure out how to get the swim done……