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Do you want to break through at the 70.3 distance? Is running your weak link? Running well off the bike requires strong bike and run fitness. It also requires specific practice.
I am often asked how much running off the bike should be done, and for how long. This depends on what you are trying to accomplish with your bike-run (brick) workout. Very generally speaking a time ratio of 2:1 for your cycling:running training works well. This is just a starting point. You must also consider your personal strengths and weaknesses, as well as the course specifics of your target event.
There are three basic types of brick workouts useful for the half-iron distance: a cycle-emphasis brick, a run-emphasis brick and a race simulation brick.
A cycle-emphasis brick consists of a 3 to 4.5 hour ride immediately followed by a 15 to 40 minute run. Perform your workouts on a course that simulates that of your goal race. If you live in a flat area and your goal race is hilly, then include some hill simulations on your trainer or low cadence (50-75 RPM) tempo efforts on the flats. Run off the bike at your goal race pace for 50% of the time, and the balance should be cool down.
The run-emphasis Brick consists of a 1 to 2 hour ride followed by a 60 to 90 minute run. Overall, the bike should be at an easy to moderate endurance pace. The goal is to get in a quality endurance run off the bike, so keep the bike effort comfortable. You can build up the last 10 to 15 minutes of your ride to goal race pace to simulate the initial feeling of running off the bike. Once on the run, focus on “getting your legs” for the first 5 to 15 minutes, then settle into your endurance pace.
Race Simulation Brick
The race simulation brick is a 2 to 3 hour bike ride followed by a 30 to 60 minute run. On the bike, include 30 to 90 total minutes of race-specific tempo efforts (on the flats or on the hills as appropriate for your event). Let your legs adjust to running for the first 5 minutes, then work into your goal race pace effort. Save 5 to 10 minutes for cool down.
As with all transition workouts, make sure to practice your race day nutrition strategy and spend significant time in the aerobars.
LifeSport head coach Lance Watson has coached a number of Ironman, Olympic and age-group Champions over the past 25 years. He enjoys coaching athletes of all levels. Contact Lance to tackle your first triathlon or to perform at a higher level. Find more tips on Twitter @LifeSportCoach.