Sunday, January 17, 2016

What Is a "Brick" Workout And Why Do Triathletes Do Them?

Everyone talks about brick-work for training and I found this great article that explains it.
This article is by: Jennifer Bayliss

A great way to beat a training rut and burn more calories is to change things up. Triathlon training is an effective way to beat workout boredom and train different muscles because you are including three different disciplines into your routine.  Swimming, cycling, and running offer your body a total body workout that is sure to help you burn calories and shed the weight. And because you have three options for training, you are less likely to skip a workout, thus increasing your overall calorie burn.


Triathlon is a sport that combines three separate disciplines, which means the training sessions need to be able to incorporate more than one event. Two of the main focuses of triathlon training are the long runs and rides and the brick workout. I would like to talk about the brick workout, as it is one of the most overlooked parts of training for a triathlon, yet puts the most stress on your body.

A brick workout refers to the stacking of two disciplines during the same workout, one after the other with minimal to no interruption in between. As you switch modes of exercise, your body needs to effectively and efficiently prepare for the next demand while recovering from the previous exercise demand. Your heart rate increases significantly as your body tries to shift the blood flow from the muscles of the first exercise to the demands of the muscles of the next. Brick workouts help your body handle the aerobic, anaerobic, and muscular demands of a triathlon event.

For the triathlete, the most obvious reason to brick train is that this routine follows the specificity principle of training. You do not compete in each phase of the race in isolation. The transition is almost a fourth discipline. You need to train accordingly and practice these transitions from one exercise to another within your training regimen. For the non-triathlete, this style of training is a great way to increase your calorie burn.  You can burn close to fifteen calories per minute based on a vigorous effort on both the cycling and the running ends of the workout.1

Generally, a brick workout consists of a bike/run workout, but a brick could also be a swim/bike or a run/bike workout (usually seen with duathletes). I am going to focus on the bike/run. Here are my guidelines:
  • Before you begin a brick style workout, you should already be able to do the bike and ride distances planned for your brick.
  • When you design your brick workout, the distances you choose should be equivalent to where you are at in your training program.
  • If you are building a base or are only focused on losing weight, you should keep your distances shorter and to multiple repeats. 
  • If you have never tried a brick workout, you should start off with just a 1 mile walk/ jog after biking. 
Here is an example of a shorter distance bike/run bricks:
5 mile bike; 1 mile run- repeat four times.

When you are in your building or peak phase, you should be increasing the distance in the respective disciplines and begin to approach race intensity. Your bikes will become much longer and your runs will steadily climb. You will no longer focus on repeats, but look at how long you have to get a workout in. If I have two hours to myself on a Saturday, I will bike for 1.5 hours and run for 30 minutes. As the length of your workout starts to increase, I would recommend breaking it down not by distance, but by time.

You should not plan on scheduling a brick workout too close to a planned race or sporting event, as they can be pretty tough on the body. How often can you do this type of training? You should consider your experience level, your schedule, your body’s response, and how susceptible you are to injury. They are usually performed once a week, sometimes every other week.

Ironman Wisconsin 2016 Nutrition

This week's focus, adjusting my diet.

I'm focusing on Great-Grandma's Diet, which includes: Proteins, Dairy, Fish and Shellfish, Carboyhydrates, Grains, Beans and Legumes, Vegetables, and Fats.
  • Eat Real Foods
  • Avoid Chemicals and Additives
  • Eat Consistently
  • Be Balanced (see below)
  • Avoid Soy
  • Eat Locally 
  • Eat Grass-fed Pasture Raised Proteins
  • Limit foods that are hard to digest
  • Eat anti-inflammatory proteins (gelatin, broth, egg yolks, milk and cheese)
Most importantly, listen to your body.

To help balance things out, I am using Hydrolyzed gelatin, which is a protein substitute.

Balancing what I eat into four areas:
  • Protein (3-4 oz of meat) or (3-4 oz fish) or (2 eggs)
  • Carbohydrate (Rice, Oatmeal, Sourdough, Ezekiel, Garbanzo, Black or Lentils, etc)
  • Non-Starchy Veggies (like Greens, Broccoli, Peppers, Zucchini and Celery, etc)
  • Fat (Fish Oil)
I'm working on:
  • Planning Ahead
  • Cooking in Bulk
  • Going Against the flow 
  • Being Consistent

Friday, January 15, 2016

Ironman Wisconsin 2016: Advice for Today!

Enjoy it all -- every single moment! 

Swim, bike, run...and have fun! 

That's right, live in the moment, do what you can in that moment, and relish the experience. 

(From a 50 year old who is training for her first Ironman Wisconsin 2016)

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Ironman Wisconsin 2016: Training Advice!!

Ironman Training Advice

Train consistently, under promise to yourself... and over deliver, swim, bike and run 2 times a week... every week for slow steady gains (best way), and pick up your weakest discipline to 3 times a week when you have time.

Remember it is not how hard you train but how specific to your goals you train.

Always train your strengths more so than your weaknesses and keep your training fun, varied, challenging (sometimes) and motivate yourself by any means possible!

Ironman is a journey to be remembered as a fun long training day with 100's of like minded athletes, with a full buffet and waiter / waitress service! So enjoy it!!!