Brick By Brick

I Say Brick It.  Brick It Good. 

Talking To A Brick Wall
Via Flickr


Now that May is here and I’m down to a mere 26 days (!) until CapTexTri, it is time to start “bricking” my workouts.  “What is a brick?” you ask.  I’m not talking about a doorstop, or that terribly depressing song by Ben Folds Five, or my terribly depressing attempts to make bake-sale-worthy brownies.  This is a different kind of brick.  Check out what Enrico Contolini over at has to say about brick workouts, and I promise to only chime in occasionally with must-have supplemental info (stifled giggle).

Bricks refer to training on two disciplines during the same workout.
by Enrico Contolini

Bricks are a very important part of triathlon (and duathlon) training and they are sometimes overlooked.  Bricks refer to [whooping on your sorry butt until you want to cry by stifle it to maintain your cool demeanor at the gym by] training on two disciplines during the same workout, one after the other with minimal or no interruption in between, just as you would do in a race (I am sure you knew this) [WHAT?!?! No break for a quick little beer and the first 20min of Real Housewives of Orange County?  But that was my strong suit!]. Usually when people talk about bricks they refer to [doorstops, depressing songs, wannabe brownies, and] a bike/run workout, but bricks could also refer to a swim/bike workout or to a run/bike workout (if you are training for a duathlon). These last two are often overlooked but still important to fit here and there in your training plan.

About a swim/bike brick: while you are swimming you will want to [try your hardest to breathe air instead of water, and] use your legs as little as possible [OK!] or else you may have a hard time when you get on your bike before you start feeling comfortable [in the world’s tightest, longest, most padded pair of shorts.  It may be a while before you start feeling “comfortable.”]. A swim/bike workout that simulates race conditions will help you minimize this problem. A couple of suggestions are to try and use your legs more (that is to kick more) during he last 50-100 yards of your swim to get more blood flowing to them. Also, start your bike portion using an easier gear than the one you plan on using during the main part of the race. This will give your legs a chance to get used to the new sport and accumulate less lactic acid than they would if you started from the beginning with a tough gear.

Thanks Enrico, super helpful!  I’m actually not being snarky here, (mostly since I snarked Enrico within an inch of his triathlife just a second ago); I really think this article is rather helpful.  I’ve been bricking workouts since Lake Travis Tri.  I have been swimming about 1000m to 1500m, then biking 12mi to 20mi; or biking 12mi to 20mi then running about a 5k.  So far the only major gains I’ve made have been on the SCALE.  That’s right, I’m gaining while training.

As if I needed reminding that this world is cruel, grinding, unjust, and bleak (Play it again, Ben Folds!).  Working hard, racing, getting faster, gaining confidence.  These are all good things.  I’ve been working to the point where anything in sight, edible or otherwise, looks mouth-wateringly delicious in the nanosecond of my observance before it’s tossed down the hatch.  Sure, I’m burning calories.  But my already inherent need to consume disgusting foods at disgusting rates has been exponentially increased (like, to the Nth degree). 

Gray vacuum cleaner
Image via Wikipedia

I know I should be “stocking my house with delicious healthy foods” just like Oprah and Tyra and Rachael Ray and everyone else have been telling me to do for years.  But I don’t.  I just eat what I find which may occasionally be an apple, a banana, or some granola, but 9 times out of 10 is actually a handful of cheeseballs from a 5-gallon tub (Sideshow Blob knows what a girl wants!)

Enrico says rather than bricking your workouts like an idiot like I have been doing, (eg: 1x1500m swim + 1x 15mi bike) it’s better to brick reps (eg: 3x (1x500m swim + 1x5mi bike).  I’m sure this will not change my need to eat everything I see (you going to finish that?), but it may increase my strength and speed.  So once I get a few more race t-shirts, bibs, and finisher medals, I’ll just have one thing to say to everyone judging me as I scarf my second Big Mac:

Thut upth and bah du doz mehdaws, rookie!*

*”Shut up and bow to those medals, rookie!”

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