What is a brick?
No, I’m not talking about the kind you build things with. In training, a brick simply refers to a workout in which a ride is followed by a run. During a brick, there is usually a transition period of a mile or two when the legs feel heavy and lethargic – like bricks. The more often you do bricks, the shorter that transition period becomes. This makes bricks an excellent workout for triathletes because they force the body to adapt to the bike-run transition of triathlons, but they can also be a fantastic workout for just about anyone.
The great part about bricks is that they are totally flexible. You can easily customize the length and intensity according to training goals. They can also be an excellent way to ward off monotony, especially when high intensity intervals are incorporated. If a spin bike and treadmill is available, they can easily be performed indoors.
I teach two classes each week, “spin to run,” which are brick workouts. We spend the first 60 minutes indoors, as I lead the class through a spin workout. Immediately afterward, everyone changes into their running shoes and we hit the pavement for a 3-5 mile run. I purposely make every class different to avoid adaptation. Some classes, the spin portion is more endurance oriented while the run is intense speedwork. Other times, we’ll do focused HIIT on the bike, and an easy, steady-state run afterward.
Brick workouts can be as long or short as you want and it isn’t necessary to evenly split up the running and cycling portions; it’s perfectly fine to spend more time focusing on one sport during a session. The key is to really use the flexibility of bricks to wake your muscles up. As always, it’s critical to have a purpose for each workout. Think about your goals as well as your areas of strength and weakness to determine how bricks can help you.