August 30th 2017

By Martin
Categories: Triathlon Training


Triathlon, being a multi-sport event, requires a special kind of training approach…

Training for a triathlon requires time and commitment and we religiously devote time to training each of the three disciplines; swimming sets in pools, swimming distances open water, spend time in the saddle and pounding roads or tracks to build running fitness.

But how do these individual sessions actually aid in triathlon performance? Where each discipline flows into the next – expecting the legs to work after a swim, and then for them to function as we want in the run?

To perform at your optimum you need to get your neuromuscular system used to the change in movement patterns.

This is achieved by performing BRICK sessions…

Brick sessions are a combination of two disciplines, performed back-to-back, with the priority focus on get your body’s neuromuscular system accustomed to firing / communicating with muscles as and when you need them – note that brick sessions are not necessarily to practice transitions!

Bricks could be as straight forward as a swim into bike or bike into run, but mixing it up will train the body to function differently, for example; swim into run, as is needed in transition 1 (T1).

Bricks sessions don’t necessarily require the disciplines being performed just once each (as in a race); repeating the two disciplines multiple times in mini circuits will get the body more efficient at changing movement patterns for repetitions (reps) – as you would perform reps in the pool, on hills or intervals in bike and run sessions. It will also provide you the chance to perfect your transitions, but most of all, it keeps sessions FUN!

Brick sessions are also great for time efficiency, fitting two disciplines into smaller amounts of time; you only have 75minutes available? Perfect, combine a bike/turbo with a run

Sample brick session:

15min bike as 5min EASY, 10min build to HR Level 2 holding 70rpm

                   15min bike as 10min HR Level 2, 5min HR Level 3 holding 60rpm
2 x              TRANSITION
                   5min run as 2min HARD effort (race pace), 3min EASY effort (not HR based)

5min bike EASY

This provides 60minutes of race specific training using two disciplines = the neuromuscular system trained, energy systems trained and transitions practiced.

(Transitions accounting for, but hopefully not taking up, the additional 15minutes!)

Take away point

Introduce a brick session into your overall weekly plan. For example, make every Wednesday evening a brick session – train your body to swap movement patterns as you require it to in a race. But be sure to plan an easier swim and/or bike the following day; brick sessions can be tough!