The Problem with Bricks

in Triathlons

I thought it would be wise to end the week with a brick workout.  What is a brick, you may ask?  Well, a brick refers to one workout that encompasses two sports of the triathlon, usually a bike and then a run, but it can be any combo of the three sports. 


Bricks are very important because they help prepare you, both mentally and physically, for the triathlon.  Bricks help your body adjust to going from one sport to another (the goal is to transition between the sports as quickly as possible, as you would during the race).  They also help prepare you for the logistics of the transition.  And lastly, you end up working out for longer during a brick than you may exercise if you only participate in one sport, which is great for increasing endurance.


I am really bad at doing my bricks.  My biggest issue with bricks is that I don’t love to do the sports in the order of the race.  This sounds exceedingly picky, but I hate to swim before biking or running because I end up all wet and reeking of chlorine.  Chlorine sweat is the worst!  I could rinse off but I’d lose time and still have wet hair – again, I’m just picky.  So I tend to do my swim bricks in reverse – a run or bike and then a swim. 


Today’s brick involved a 2.0-mile treadmill walk/run (in 21 minutes, whoop whoop!) and a 500 yard swim.


After the run, I dashed into the locker room to transition to swim gear as quickly as possible. 


My goal is to do at least one a brick every week until the race – if I were doing a longer tri, I would do more – and try to extend my workout so I’m closer to replicating the race’s distances.  My tri will involve a 750 meter swim and a 5K run, so I’ve got a ways to go… but I’m pretty close!


Post-workout protein smoothie:


And afterwards, the squishy and I joined the Husband and a few friends for a practice round at the local golf course.  It was a fun way to conclude the weekend!


(All the cool babies go nekkid at the golf course.)


Anyone else struggle with chlorine sweat?  Or another quirk that prevents them from doing bricks in the correct order?  My aversion to chlorine sweat is a little weird but man… I really, really hate it. 



  • laine August 5, 2012, 7:37 pm

    The problem with my brick today was the 85% and 75% humidity. I did a 12 mile ride, outside since my tri is in 2 weeks, and then had a 3 mile run planned. As I biked (at noon, hello dummy!) I revised my 3mile goal to “just finish them.” Got off the bike and had to go inside to change clothes and cool off slightly and then headed out for the run. I ran a little the first mile, a little less the second, and walked the third. My body temperature was so high and I didn’t want to make myself sick by running (on race day I’ll risk sickness, not before then.)

    But I finished! I’m hoping the weather in 2 weeks isn’t this bad, but if it is I’m prepared and if I need to power walk the 5K, I will!

    I always do them in order, and just usually do bike/run bricks since those are my worst. Swim to bike is normal for me, since I usually bike to the beach, swim and then bike home.

  • Angela @ Happy Fit Mama August 5, 2012, 7:46 pm

    I’ve never done a traditional brick. I did do my own version yesterday morning – 20 mile bike ride followed by hot yoga. I swear I thought I was in Bikram yoga because I was one sweaty beast for the whole hour.

  • Katie @ Peace Love & Oats August 5, 2012, 8:05 pm

    I’ve never done a triathlon or a brick workout, but I totally see what you mean. I always thought it sounded sooooo uncomfortable to be wet for the rest of the race! It makes sense because a lot of people struggle with swim, so it’s just safer to do that first, but still that would drive me crazy!

  • Kelly August 5, 2012, 8:22 pm

    I hate chlorine sweat! But I do my bricks in the right order when possible. Great job getting your brick in!

  • Carrie @ Fitness and Frozen Grapes August 5, 2012, 8:45 pm

    OMG, chlorine sweat is the worst! I did a swim-run brick today, and I felt like I was reeking of chlorine as I did my tempo run on the treadmill. I always rinse off quickly before and after swimming, and I usually spritz a little Bath and Bodyworks body spray in the hope of covering up the chlorine scent … but I swear the chlorine just sticks to you! If I do a swim in the lake–and then a bike or a run–I just accept the fact I smell like stink lake water. 😉

  • theresa @ aspoonfulofsunshine August 5, 2012, 8:48 pm

    I’m a little weird but I actually love chlorine sweat! I was a competitive swimmer up until college so I am used to smelling like chlorine 24/7 and find it calming. I have never done a brick, but during the summers I teach swim lessons all day so I end up sweating chlorine while working out anyways. Maybe try putting some good-smelling lotion on to cover up the chlorine smell?

  • mary @ what's cookin with mary August 5, 2012, 8:52 pm

    I only tried doing a swim followed by chlorine sweat once and it was so so icky! I never did it again…

  • Alexandra August 5, 2012, 9:14 pm

    Ughh, chlorine sweat. I used to swim in the evening and do hot yoga the next morning. In my hot yoga class my sweat would STILL reak of chlorine (even though I showered after swimming). I used to even get paranoid everyone around me could smell it. But hey, there’s no better way to chlorine detox than sweating it out in hot yoga!

  • Ranya August 5, 2012, 9:46 pm

    Omg I cracked up when you referred to Henry as “the squishy”! Hahahah I’m cracking up again just thinking about it! I am definitely going to borrow that amazing title the next time I see a baby <3

  • Taylor @ Nuts for Apples August 5, 2012, 11:07 pm

    Haven’t done a brick workout (I keep wanting to try to get into triathlons though!) but nice job! & I love the nekkid baby, he is awesome! 🙂

  • Annette@FitnessPerks August 5, 2012, 11:24 pm

    I don’t love swimming and then jumping on a bike either, but sometimes I just DO it b/c I know I need too. Usually though I do longer swims just by themselves (half IM in 3 weeks).

    Cute baby!!

  • Linda August 6, 2012, 5:22 am

    I’ve always thought triathlons would work so much better in the reverse order! Running after cycling gives you jelly legs, but cycling after running is generally okay. It’s easier to take clothes off than put them on – start with running/cycling clothes with bathers underneath, then just strip off for the swim. Then you can’t accidentally forget to leave socks/shoes/t-shirt at your transition station and you don’t have to wash your feet. Plus you’d get to cool off with a nice swim at the end!! Makes so much sense!

    • Chantal August 6, 2012, 1:34 pm

      I did a backwards triathlon in college for an intramural event. It was awful! I went out way too fast on the run (my strong sport), got my butt kicked on the hills of the bike course, then we all stripped in the parking lot and ran into the pool (I lost a sock in the process). The idea was to spread us out by the time we got to the pool, but I was so winded it made it really hard to swim!

  • Chelsea @ One Healthy Munchkin August 6, 2012, 7:20 am

    I’ve only done brick workouts where I run after I bike – and I really like that order. After biking, I feel like I fly through my runs!

  • Ellie August 6, 2012, 11:23 am

    I am exactly the same way! I never do bricks in the ‘right’ order. I’ll save that for race day!

  • Angie August 6, 2012, 1:08 pm

    My swim is my strongest leg (and by far the shortest) so I NEVER do bricks including swims. I may have a day when I do both a swim and something else but not right after each other. I try to do a bike/run brick every week of tri training because running off the bike is so hard for me.

  • Chantal August 6, 2012, 1:36 pm

    I did my first brick for my first real (see above comment) triathlon (in Sept) yesterday! I biked to a lake, took a quick swim, and biked back (25 miles total). It was fun! No chlorine, but I did kind of feel/smell like a lake monster.

  • kristen @ livinlifeinlouie August 12, 2012, 9:20 am

    I feel the SAME WAY about bricks! i would much rather run,bike, than swim. I mentioned this to my brother (who also does triathlons) and mentioned that more people would drowned if the swim was last….. Oh well, I guess we can do it our way when we train!

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