Today I had a great brick session in the gym. Just to explain for those landlubbers reading, this is not something the SAS do whilst running around the Brecon Beacons with a bergen full of breezeblocks and a six pack of Mars Bars, nor one that harks back to my old ninja days involving using my forehead to smash various items of masonry, but a term used by triathletes when doing back to back training sessions in different disciplines. The aim is to get your body used to transitioning between the sports, basically so you do not end up falling apart in the middle of a race… those of you who have already experienced the feeling of coming off a long bike ride and into the run will know what I mean!
One of the best things about triathlon is this variety, and each element requires a focus on different muscle groups: the swim relies heavily on your upper body for propulsion, in particular your arms and shoulders, but also your legs whilst kicking, whilst the bike is clearly one for the lower body involving your glutes, quads, hammies and calves. The run also mainly needs a strong lower body, but uses the muscles are used in a different way, so rather than going round and round on the pedals, they are going back and forward to move you ahead. Although a swim to bike brick is possible, most bike bricks tend to be bike to run for obvious reasons. For a good article on this for those who are interested see http://www.220triathlon.com/training/run/run-faster-off-the-bike/5005.html
In today’s case, I did a 30 km bike ride followed straight away by an 8 km (5 mile) run, which took just over 1 hour 45 mins. As the first specific one of the year it went pretty well (although very hot), with fairly low level of pain in the legs at the start of the run giving a good indication that the training so far this year is paying off. Over the next few months I will be extending these, and I guess the longer you spend on the bike, the more it is likely to hurt on foot, although it usually wears off after a few minutes so it is always worthwhile.
The real sign it was a good session was when I got back to the locker room, looking like I had just been washed up on a beach after the 50 year storm, the guy next to me gave me a look I can only describe as part respect and part horror, and asked how long had I been training for to look like I did… so here’s to the next session being even more intense!