Hawaii From Home: Brick Workout #3

Continue to build your fitness, strength, and durability with this dynamic run-bike-run workout.

Heading out the door? Read this article on the new Outside+ app available now on iOS devices for members! Download the app.

Join us for Hawaii From Home—one week, 140.6 miles. Swag, prizes, training tips from coaches, bragging rights. Get all of the details at triathlete.com/hawaiifromhome. Each week we’ll be providing five key workouts (one swim, one bike, one run, one brick, and one strength) that you can work into your overall training plan.

Most people think of brick workouts as a bike session with a run off the bike, but there are huge benefits to doing “non-traditional” bricks—and you’ll see this pattern emerge throughout the six weeks of training for Hawaii From Home. Too many athletes get bogged down in doing long, slow, steady brick workouts that do little to boost their fitness. All of these workouts incorporate some element of HIIT work (high intensity interval training) and also see you switching from run to bike and back to run. There are a number of physiological and psychological reasons as to why I prescribe brick workouts in this way, which we’ll delve into in more detail below. This is also a tried and tested format I’ve used with pros and age-groupers alike with great success. It’s also a lot of fun!

There are two workouts below, one for the more advanced/seasoned athlete and another for a more novice athlete. Both workouts involve a run-bike-run with a variety of intensities. Like last week, this week’s session also combines several segments at Functional Threshold Power (FTP) or Lactate Threshold (LT) on the bike and LT on the run. If you know your FTP,  dial this in on the suggested segments. If you have no idea, you’ll see some notes below on how to use speed or heart rate instead. 

This week, there’s an increase in the total distance of the two runs, with the second run slightly longer and including the HIIT segments. Having the second run slightly longer (and including the HIIT segments) will begin to replicate the fatigue often felt in a race. Maintaining effort for a longer segment will tax your physiology and two of the adaptive changes that your body will experience are tolerating muscle acidity and converting lactic acid into lactate, which is a fuel. The common notion is that lactic acid is a poison. However, training at a higher intensity creates an adaptive response to help you tolerate and remove the muscle acidity. Resynthesizing the initial build-up of hydrogen ions and lactic acid allows your body to move economically during and after these HIIT segments. By experiencing this in training you will learn to rebound and cope well with this in racing—but only if you’ve done the proper training! 

In simple language, physiologically and psychologically, these bricks present a great challenge—enjoy them!

Advanced Athlete

Part 1: Run 4 miles

10 min. with a gradual build-up over the final 2 min. to aerobic pace. 

Main Set – repeat 3x:
3.5 min. @ LT + 2 x 75 sec. @ AE
Rest interval 2 min. between all repeats
Run easy to finish the distance. 

Part 2: Bike 80 min.

Main Set – repeat 3x
5.5 min. @ LT/ FTP + 3 x 45 sec. @ AE – get out of saddle to stand for the final 25 sec. in a bigger gear.
Rest interval: 90 sec. between all repeats.
Repeat the set three times and then hold aerobic pace at a higher cadence (95-105 RPM) for the remainder of the workout. 

Part 3: Run 4 miles

Same as the first block but repeat 2x.
Allow 4 min. easy running between the two blocks and do them back to back.
Cruise easy to finish out the distance. 

Beginner Athlete

Part 1: Run 2.5 miles

10 min. with a gradual build-up over the final 2 min. to aerobic pace. 

Main Set – repeat 3x 
2.5 min. @ LT + 1 x 50 sec. @ AE
Rest interval 2 min. between all repeats
Run easy to finish the distance. 

Part 2: Bike 60 min.

3.5 minutes @ LT/ FTP + 2 x 35 seconds stand on the final 15 seconds in a bigger gear. Repeat the set 3x. 

Part 3: Run 2.5 miles

Same as Part 1 but repeat 1x. 

5-10 min. easy jog as needed

Notes on how to use speed or heart rate in these workouts instead of power:
Experienced athlete – bike: Use your best estimate for a 40-minute time trial. This is typically faster than FTP or LT, so deduct 5% from your number. For example, a 40-minute TT = 200 watts minus 5% = 10 watts, so your FTP/LT = 190 watts.

If you don’t have a power meter, you can also use speed as a measure of intensity, using your average speed for a 40-minute TT—or heart rate, using average heart rate for the final 15 minutes of a 40-mile TT. 

Experienced athlete – run: Use your 10K time for LT. If your time is 45 minutes or faster, add 3% to your time for LT. If your run is over 50 minutes use this pace as your LT.

Developing athlete – bike and run: Use your best estimate for a 20-minute time trial and add 5%. Using watts or speed will be your determinate for the remaining workouts. If you’re using a heart rate monitor and the test is done in mild conditions (under 70 F degrees / 21C and under 70% humidity) use the final 10 minutes and take your average heart rate. If you just want to use RPE (Rate of Perceived Exertion) then aim for 7/10. 

About Your Coach: Dave Scott is a master coach and six-time Ironman world champion who became the first person to be inducted into the Ironman Hall of Fame. He has coached scores of pro and age-group athletes to PRs and podiums based on his decades of training and racing experience. He writes a free newsletter twice monthly which covers a range of topics including training, aging, and diet—you can sign up for the next issue here. You can find out more about his Dave Scott Tri Club here and his training camps and clinics here.

Trending on Triathlete

Jan Frodeno Reflects on His Final Ironman World Championship

Immediately after finishing 24th place at his final Ironman World Championships, the Olympic medalist (and three-time IMWC winner) explains what his race in Nice meant to him.