My 2 Favorite Bricks


Running off the bike is difficult. All triathletes must learn to deal with its awkwardness and discomfort, which make triathlon running so different from pure road racing.

The good news is that faster triathlon running is a learned skill.

One of the best ways to shorten your learning curve is to commit to regularly scheduled brick workouts.

My Personal Breakthrough

Like most triathletes, running off the bike was one of my major weaknesses when I got started in the sport.

After early frustration, my “Aha! Moment” occurred 2 years into my pro career. I’d been suffering from terrible inconsistency in my racing and wondered if I had what it took to succeed as a professional triathlete.

While cycling behind two other local pros on a group training ride, I overheard them describing the benefits of a recent workout they kept referring to as a “brick”.

Looking back, it almost seems ridiculous that – until that moment -- I never really understood the power of brick workouts (Remember, I came from a soccer background!)  Suddenly, it all became clear and I began experimenting with different types of brick sessions.

Running off the bike is difficult, but can be improved with practice. I’m living proof! Within 2 months of consistently integrating brick training into my routine, my results improved dramatically and – more importantly – I had more confidence in my performances.


My Two Brick Workouts

I realize that some coaches like to structure very complex and unusual brick sessions but I prefer to

keep things simple.  For the majority of my career, I relied on two go-to brick formats:


  1. Endurance Brick. In the build phase during my preseason, I focused on endurance bricks. These are comprised of a longer ride (90 min to 6 hrs), immediately followed by an easy run of 20 to 30 min.The purpose of the endurance brick is to familiarize your muscles – and mind – with the sensations and brief discomfort caused by the transition from cycling to running. You’ll be surprised by how quickly your body adapts to this stress if practiced regularly.Frequency: Perform endurance bricks once or twice weekly, at low intensity.


  2. Race Pace Brick. As the season – or my priority races – approached, I began to introduce the race pace brick.This brick begins with 90 min to 3 hours on the bike. After a patient warmup period, I rode the bulk of this session at race pace. Then I transitioned immediately into a 3 to 5km run, again performed at target race pace.Remember to refrain from riding and running too hard!

    Since the distances are shorter than your actual race, don’t be tempted to overcook your pace. The objective here is to get comfortable with the actual effort and speed you plan to maintain during the event.

    Although this brick is challenging, you should find it doable. Properly executed, it will really build your confidence!

    Frequency: This is a demanding workout, and I only performed it once per week during the final 2 weeks prior to my “A” races.


Take the Next Step

Bricks are fundamental to faster triathlon running.

I’m sure that if you make bricks a cornerstone of your training routine, you’ll soon be running faster and stronger off the bike.