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Old 07-29-05, 12:46 PM   #1
RugbyToTri
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Brick-only workouts?

During the off season, I worked extensively on my running. I have been able to increase my mileage and speed without increasing my injuries. The problem is that in my races and brick workouts so far this year, I have found that I have only marginally improved when running after biking. Now with half the season over and a couple half IMs left on the calendar, I have decided to replace all bike-only and run-only workouts with bricks. Instead of the long bike routine, it will be a long bike followed by a short run; instead of the LSD run, it will be a short (30-45 min?) bike followed by an LSD run. I plan to make similar adjustments to the other workouts (tempo rides/runs; track workouts, etc). Do you have any thoughts on this strategy? Have you experienced/read about the pros/cons of this approach?
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Old 08-03-05, 10:35 AM   #2
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I'd say don't eliminate the long easy run totally. Also, bricks are typically more strenuous unless your incorporating easy bricks so you might increase your chance of injury or overtraining.

Ohh yeah..."a couple of IM's left". How many IM's do you do per year and what is your expectation in terms of running improvement? In many cases with running the overall running fitness level is the issue not the lack of speed. Not sure what your case is.
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Old 08-04-05, 09:43 AM   #3
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The "couple of HALF IMs left" comment may have been misleading--I have done a couple sprints and olys this season and the two half IMs are the races I have been training for all year.

I appreciate the caution about over training and injuries (always a concern going into the second half of the season). Most of the workout plans I have read use the brick only sparingly and they are typically on the intense side. This sounds like a recipe for injury. It makes more sense to me to increase the frequency of the brick and vary the volume and intensity. I have little trouble running a sub 7:30 mile for 10+ miles but I struggle to maintain a sub 8:00 mile for even a 10K off the bike. It can be quite frustrating.
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Old 08-04-05, 11:20 AM   #4
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How many miles/week running? Marathon - 1/2 Marathon PR?
I don't see anything wrong with a brick type workout as I do them pretty much every day.
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Old 08-04-05, 01:22 PM   #5
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i say you can add a short low intensity run after almost all your bike rides (15-20min) and that way train your legs to transisioning from one activity to the other. you can have one dedicated day for running and biking.
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Old 08-04-05, 01:35 PM   #6
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If your doing 7:30 for 10 milers pretty easy then your right....you should certainly be able to go lower than 50 min for 10K. I can see why your frustrated (been there myself). Do you use a HR monitor in your training and races? If not, that can reveal some interesting things relative to your overall output. You might be going too hard on the bike. After knowing a bit more, I don't see how incorporating more bricks (intelligently) can hurt much. Keep in mind you can bank some hearbeats on the bike and not sacrifice too much time... Something that might reveal some benefits in your bricks would be experimenting with different cadences or the intensity in your pedaling. cadence is obvious but pulling hard with hams and not pushing as much with the quads can lead to a very different feel off the bike. It's never easy to transition into free-flowing fast running. Some of the folks I train with promise themselves they will pedal a very high candence for the last mile and no matter what...take it easy for the first 800 yards in the run.
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Old 08-04-05, 03:02 PM   #7
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I generally use a HRM (I have the Nike Triax Elite system but it has been in the shop off and on for 2 1/2 months this season, but that's another story). If I take it relatively easy (drop the HR 10% from my usual "race pace" HR) for 30 minutes prior to the run, then my run doesn't suffer as much. If I just drop it for the last mile or 2, I still have trouble. My cadence rarely goes below 85 RPM (climbing being the obvious exception) and typically is 90-100.

My goal (like many others who frequent this site) is to be able to bike hard then run hard. The question is how to get there. For men in my age group (30-34), my bike speed is not very impressive (20-22 mph for an oly depending on the terrain; 1-3 mph slower for rides longer than 50 miles) but I have made some encouraging advances over the past year. The run mileage varies from 10 to 20 miles/wk. I used to do 20-30 miles but wasn't able to parlay the extra volume into useable gains off the bike. My season goal is to complete a sub 5 hour half 1/2 IM. That would cut 40 min off my PR (the only other half IM I have done) but is achievable if I can put my "A" games together.

Thanks to all for the feedback.
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Old 08-04-05, 11:47 PM   #8
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1. Your weekly miles are too low (way too low), 10-20 is not enough to see performance gains that you are looking for. I'm in the 45-49 age group and run several marathons/year (as well as several triathlons mostly 1/2 Iron and Iron distance) and on average I run 55-65/week year round - and peak at something near 80 4 weeks prior to a marathon. My daily runs are never shorter than 9.0, with weekend long runs of 18, 20 or 22. My 10K PR is 38:xx (when I was much younger), and have run several under 42:00 in the last year, but as an endurance athlete I have lost some speed.
2. You are missing some very "key components" in your training. To understand what those key components are pick up the book as noted below. One of those would be speed work.

My advice to you - get the book "Advanced Marthoning" by Pete Pfitzinger - Scott Douglas. This book will teach you the fundamentals of running/training/racing.
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Old 08-05-05, 12:04 PM   #9
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MHR,

please confirm that your advice applies to someone training for 1/2 IMs (NOT IMs) as goal races. 55-65 mile/wk is about what I would expect for someone training for an IM (or an elite althlete peaking for a half IM). My weekly mileage of 10-20 is non-peak weeks and include tempo runs and track workouts (which are typically lower in mileage but higher in intensity). During peak weeks, I don't expect my mileage to go above 30. This allows for a couple 3-4 mile recovery runs, a 5 mile track workout (including warm-up/cool down), a 7-8 mile tempo run and a 10-12 mile LSD. I have based this strategy on books and articles that I have read (although I have not read Advanced Marathoning yet). My only proposal in this thread is solicit opinions on the value of biking before all/most of my runs.

Thanks again--I'm takin' notes.
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Old 08-05-05, 01:34 PM   #10
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I'd leave my lsd day alone but add a run after each bike that I do. anywhere from .25-1 hr depending on time constraints and effort level. The run doesn't have to be hard just help to get used to the switch over from one activity to the other. The LSD day should be stressfull enough without adding that to it. Just my op.
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Old 08-05-05, 10:50 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RugbyToTri
MHR,

please confirm that your advice applies to someone training for 1/2 IMs (NOT IMs) as goal races. 55-65 mile/wk is about what I would expect for someone training for an IM (or an elite althlete peaking for a half IM). My weekly mileage of 10-20 is non-peak weeks and include tempo runs and track workouts (which are typically lower in mileage but higher in intensity). During peak weeks, I don't expect my mileage to go above 30. This allows for a couple 3-4 mile recovery runs, a 5 mile track workout (including warm-up/cool down), a 7-8 mile tempo run and a 10-12 mile LSD. I have based this strategy on books and articles that I have read (although I have not read Advanced Marathoning yet). My only proposal in this thread is solicit opinions on the value of biking before all/most of my runs.

Thanks again--I'm takin' notes.
RugbyToTri
Yes - I'm talking 1/2 IM's, not IM's in reference to 55-65/miles running per week. Volume of training is all a matter of individual perception. You sem to have most of the basics, but I use my Polar HRM to keep me in my range for my recovery runs - rather than reducing miles I reduce intensity.
For an IM my weeks are pretty sick and would border on fiction for most who have never walked that path before. But - I have been known for running near 70 miles, cycling 300-400 miles, swimming 25,000 meters and strength training 3-days in a single week along with a 40 hour work week. So based on what I have done in the past - How I train now for 1/2 IM's and my current marathon schedule looks pretty tame and lay back. I do come from a running background (and have qualified for the Boston Marathon the last 4-years in a row at the age of almost 47), but I have also cycled for a local team for a few years in the 1980's, and continue to race in 10 -15 pure bike races as well - each year still. To date I have raced in 3-IM's, 10-1/2 IM's, and 13-marathons (Not counting IM efforts - at years end I will be at 15 marathons as I have 2 more yet this year, one of those will be Pikes Peak Assent and Marathon).

Yet I have friends who ran in college who run near 90 each week, and it's pretty normal for them. For me that would be a bit more than both my body and schedule could handle.

Let me just say I am a big believer of mini-bricks - and they are the foundation of how I train. This is reguardless what my "A" race is - marathon or 1/2 IM. I'm hooked on minibricks because they work, and it was how I was tought to train back in the 1980's. I still have my long brick on Saturday and pretty much take Sunday off. I credit my life long durability to "how I train". For me my minibricks are my daily 9.0 mile run loop around my home, followed by a bike. I run first mostly due to schedule issues and darkness. After arriving back home I switch into some bike shorts and a dry t-shirt and mount my lifecycle 9500 (commerical top of the line from lifecycle) and ride for an hour in front of the TV in my home gym. I love the lifecycle which is much more hightech than a spin cycle (and something my wife feels comfortable enough to use as well). It has like 20 pre-programmed workouts and the ability to run a HR based workouts, and custom programs. So my minibricks are Run 9.0, Bike 20.0 or so for a total of 2-hours of cardio. Then it's not uncomon for me to add an hour of strength training as well (3x week as I have a pretty sweet set-up at home.

Best of luck to you

Last edited by MHR; 08-13-05 at 11:40 PM.
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Old 08-13-05, 08:59 PM   #12
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One thing i accidentaly developed was a heavy brick day. On a last job i had limited days off and lots to do, and i bike cummuted whenever i could.
So i'd ride to the gym, do a little weight training with a mile or so of running between weight sets then cool off in the pool. Then ride home.
Way backwards and the swimming feels like i have weights tied to my ankles but...

The better alternative is to find a park that has a good bike route and running trails. Do laps of +/- 5 miles of spinning then one mile of running then repeat.

Park in Denver i ride in when i'm in town one of the tri clubs does sets like this all night. They leave one person to guard the pile of bikes and shoes and people get good transition practice. After 5 sets most are falling over.
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Old 08-14-05, 01:04 PM   #13
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Any guidance on the pace/focus of the sets? Were the bike legs meant to be LT sets followed by LSD-pace runs or vice versa or was it different for each person? It sounds like a very interesting way to train. If nothing else, it would take out some of the monotony of 3 hour rides and 1-2 hour runs.
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