What? You’ve Never Heard of Brick Training? Join the Club.


Yes, it all began with that one step. 

Now I’m wondering what I’ve gotten myself into.  I showed my husband the Sprint Triathlon website, which by the way includes a NON-traditional biking distance of 24 miles, a Sprinternational special condition, I guess.  This translates into longer than normal.  The rest of the normal sprint (as far as I can tell) is .3 miles of swimming and 3.1 miles of running.

So, my husband looked at the distances on GoogleEarth and all I kept hearing from upstairs were groans and “Oh, my God.”

I swim the green lines.

First I started running, and then added biking to cross-train so I wouldn’t hurt myself running, learned about the Triathlon and decided to go for it, and added swimming (yesterday) to my routine.  I realized I need a schedule to keep track of when I’m doing what and also thought I should add in some strength training, too. 

Then I started reading about brick workouts and people beginning their training a minimum of 12 weeks in advance.  Dear me.  I’m down to almost 4.5 weeks.

Things I never knew existed:

            *Brick Training

This is when you combine workouts, for example, 2 of the three activities, part run/part bike, etc.  (Just for the record, I have done that on my own; in mini-portions, of course…)  It has nothing to do with carrying bricks all around the garden, an activity in which I’m very well-trained…

Real brick training.

            *Transition Areas

This is actually similar to brick training (in my mind), but… you must do it in  order.  I was wondering why you swam first (mess up your hair to the max in the  required swimcap), then bike (again bad hat hair from the helmet on already wet hair), then run.  A guy in my writing group last night said it’s because you go from lowest impact to highest impact so there are less injuries.  Ok.  I think I  could make an argument for the opposite; get the highest impact out of the way first and (not quite) coast the rest of the way.

But, swimming does take a lot out of you and I don’t think the order is up for  debate! 

There are expected transitions, like going from swimming to biking; going from totally horizontal to upright/vertical throws your body for a loop.  As does going from pedaling to running; you need to practice the transitions.

            *Doing a whole triathlon in your swimsuit. 

Dear God, no.  To this I say, no, I won’t.  It is a deal breaker.

So, late last night my husband considered doing the event with me.  That’s why he was motivated to actually look at the website.  He came downstairs and said he didn’t know if he could do it or not; it would be “tough” for him to get ready.

What?  My husband chews up exercises and spits them out.  He swims like Mark Spitz.  Believe me; I stay out of his way when he’s into the butterfly stroke; it’s frightening.  He used to be a lifeguard.  I still dog-paddle. 

That's him!

He just did a 45-mile bike ride with our neighbor last weekend and they go mountain biking for 2 hours at a shot about four times a week.

Running?  Does the man have any deficits?  He takes the dog out several times a week for a “short” pass of around 3.5 miles, more than my highest record to date.

Not to mention going windsurfing whenever the wind is blowing for half to whole days (in windsurfing lingo, that makes me a windsurfing widow).  Windsurfing takes a LOT of strength and stamina. 

So what’s up with him?  If he’s intimidated, what am I to think?  (If you want to see my pitiful track record, see the A Running Journal page where it’s all laid out.)

A gal in my writing group mentioned she would never swim in a lake because of all the snakes in the water.  I asked my husband about this because the triathlon lake is the same lake where he windsurfs.  He smiled and said there were also a lot of big fish.  I said, “Well, I’m not too worried because there will be so many people, the aquatic life will stay far away.” 

He just smiled again.  What does that mean?  (As I’m writing this, he’s still contemplating. joining me.)

So back to the computer for me to do more research and come up with a plan.  Once you have a plan, everything else falls into place.  I found a great website from Coach Suzanne Atkinson, MD:  The First Time Finisher’s Triathlon Guide with a free downloadable training program and explanation of a lot of things I didn’t know about (see above).  Left to do:   Tweak her 12-week plan into what I’ve already done and tailor my last 4.5 weeks.

Coach Atkinson’s motto?  “A day without sweat is a day without sunshine.”  I leave you with that.  🙂  ~ JD here.

Except:  Never. Ever. Give. Up.

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7 Responses to What? You’ve Never Heard of Brick Training? Join the Club.

  1. Jen says:

    Whew! You’re a lot braver than I am. I’ve completed several sprint tri’s, all swimming in a pool, and still don’t feel ready for a lake swim. I admire your determination and wish you all the best. While I’m not competing in this particular tri, I’ll be there to watch and cheer everyone one. Be prepared: once you do one tri, you’re hooked and will want to do more. 🙂

    • JD says:

      Hi Jen, J

      Just checked into your blog, and boy do I feel like a lightweight!

      I know what you mean about battling the wind. Made it all the way to the lake, turned around and was suddenly facing pre-storm winds (checked with Mr. Windman, my husband, when I got home and it was gusting up to 18 mph all the way). Plus at least it seemed like it was all uphill… 🙂 I had to sing every song I could think of as I pedaled each rotation!

      Thanks so much for your words of encouragement. Look forward to seeing you at the event! ~ JD

  2. Jen says:

    I love that you were singing as you rode! I so know the feeling. Good job on riding out to the lake in the winds–that’s so tough. I’m very excited for you participating in the tri. You’re going to absolutely love it.

  3. JD,

    thanks so much for the shout out from your blog! Best of luck, be sure to take pictures and let me know how it all goes!!!

    • JD says:

      Oh, wow! Thank YOU for all your great tips and being a source of inspiration! I’m grinning ear-to-ear to see your comment! 🙂

  4. Pingback: I never said I was Popeye. | Sit. Desk. Write.

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