Monday, June 11, 2012

Brick Training

The first time I did a duathlon, which is two years ago now, I was told that going from running to the bike was pretty simple. Change shoes, pop on your helmet and start pedalling.

They were right.

I was also told that going from bike to running was another beast altogether.

They were right about that too.

There is something that happens when you leap off a bike and try to run. Your legs feel like they're in drugged-induced state and they alternate between feeling like lead and feeling like jello. Oh, and I'm not sure if this happens to everyone but I completely lose all ability to judge my pace. The first time I did the bike to running transition I felt so weird that I thought I was having a very very bad low blood sugar. Like scary bad.

Nope, my sugar was fine.

I kept running and, after a few kilometres, I felt better but the entire run felt 'off'. Off like, if I looked down, I might discover that my legs had been replaced with couch cushions. And that someone had stolen my feet.

That's when I learned about brick training.

Not knowing much about it, I did a bit of research to find out where the term brick comes from. The most consistent answer is that it's how your legs feel when you get off the bike and try to run.

The best answer I found online was: bike-run-ick!

Brick training is when you train for that transition from cycling to running. Apparently, brick training is very helpful when preparing for a duathlon or a triathlon. So I've been told. I completed two other duathlons after that first one and did not do one minute of brick training in preparation for either of them. I just knew what to expect and knowing is half the battle (G.I.Joe!) right?

This past Saturday, I was going to run an easy 30 minute run. It was my first run after my half marathon so I figured I should take it easy and see how the legs felt. Then, on Friday night, I had the brilliant idea of going for a 40 minute bike ride and then going for a 30 minute run. That way I'd get more of a workout without pushing my legs too hard too soon. AND I could do some brick training.

Just typing "I could do some brick training" makes me feel so hardcore! 

Anyway, I went to bed with that plan in my head and woke up to pouring rain at 6am. Doug got up to meet the girls (Maria and Janice) for their early morning run and I rolled over and went back to sleep. Seven am arrived and the rain had stopped. Wicked!

I changed into my race day outfit and prepared to give it its first trial run.

I waterproofed my pump in case the rain came back.

And I headed out the door.

I carefully laid out my running shoes (laces undone) and my running hat and then I hopped on the bike. I cycled for a lovely 40 minutes and decided that my tri top and tri shorts work well on the bike. Not as much padding in the shorts as I'm used to but enough to make it bearable.

I got home, jumped off the bike, hauled it on the deck, changed shoes in a flash, changed headgear in a flash and ran back down the driveway.


Even when I know what to expect it still feels completely bizarre.

I felt like I was running about 8 min/k so I guessed I was running 7min/k. I glanced at my watch and I was running 5:30min/k. Good lord! I'm supposed to be doing an easy run.


I forced myself to slow down and, when I felt like I was now running 6:30min/k, I looked at my watch again. I was now running 5:15min/k! And yet my legs felt like lead and I felt like I was moving at a fast walk. It's just such a bizarre feeling.

I spent the remaining 20 minutes trying to slow down. Seriously, I think the slowest I ever got was 6:30s and that didn't last very long before I was back under 6 minutes again. I ran 4k in under 23 minutes which, if I had continued, would have put me at 5k in about 28:30. That's crazy.

Oddly fun. But Crazy.

The outfit held up during the run fairly well. I didn't notice the padded shorts which was a bonus and the tank top had enough support (if you know what I mean) for running. Although without my running belt on, it tended to slip up and needed a good tug every few minutes.

Next Saturday, Janice and I are heading to the Welland River for my first open water swim. I'm going to practice sighting, practice swimming in water with a current and try out my tri outfit to see how swimming in it feels. Janice said she might even swim over top of me so I can see what that feels like and learn not to panic on race day when faster swimmers literally swim over top of slower swimmers to get by them. That is SO rude!

Can't they just go AROUND like civilized runners and cyclists do?

1 comment:

  1. Oh, I see that we were brick twins this weekend!

    The same thing happened to me yesterday on my run. "Man, I feel so slow. Oh hey, look! I'm running way too fast." This is always the way that it's been for me. I guess that's why we practice: So that we know what we're going to do in a race.

    I once asked one of my tri teammates what it's like to run a half marathon at the end of a 70.3 versus on its own, and his answer was, "Well, you're already warmed up." Maybe that's why we run too fast.

    Oh, and for the record, I've never had anyone try to swim over the top of me. Lots of bumping and thwacking, for sure, but never that.