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brick  (brk)n.

1. pl.bricks or brick A molded rectangular block of clay baked by the sun or in a kiln until hard and used as a building and paving material. (www.thefreedictionary.com)
2. brick an unintelligent person. Derived from “dumb as a brick.” (onlineslangdictionary.com)
3. brick a term used to define training in back to back events. This could describe a variety of events, but for the purposes of Triathlon Prep I would define it as a swim, bike, or run workout immediately following a base workout. For example, a 20k bike after a 1600m swim would be a brick workout. Same thing for a 10k run after a 20k bike.(www.triathlontrainingguide.com)

The alarm went off this morning at 6:00am – the same time it does most mornings.  But this time, instead of getting ready for work, I headed out for my first brick training of the season.

The important aspect of a brick training session is to simulate the jelly legs that you get when hopping off the bike and going straight into the run.  In an actual race, the T2 transition (from bike to run) is usually sub 2:00.  That’s all the time you get to rest your legs and catch your breath before you head out.  The focus of the training session is not on how good your bike is, or how good your run is, but on burning out your legs on the bike so you can practice starting the run with jelly legs.

So today I did 12k hard on the bike followed by a 3k run.  I’ve done brick sessions in the past, but this was the first one this year.  I know it’s going to be hard.  I know the first 500m of the run are going to be murder.  But you can’t truly understand starting a run on jelly legs until you experience it.  Your mind knows the first 500m of your run route – you know that you’re usually strong here, sometimes starting out too fast, not too sweaty or hard of breath yet.  This morning it was hard to just get to the end of my street.  After 4 minutes and only 500m I had to stop and walk.  My legs had nothing.

But this is why we train – so we can get better.  We hurt, so we can hurt a little less next time.  And over time and repetition it will get better.  After the first 500m and my first (short) walk break, the run got better.  My pace leveled out to my standard running pace, and while my legs still felt like string cheese I was able to run with the endurance I’m used to.  I felt like shit, but a little less like shit with each meter that went by.  And by the time I got home I felt great – exhausted and gross, but great.

Chalk this one up as a victory.  A great first brick of the year.  A fantastic start to a Friday!

… although here’s hoping I can sneak a nap in today on my lunch break

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