Joe Skipper’s two favourite brick sets for Ironman

These brick sessions will build muscular endurance and stamina and get your Ironman pace dialled in, he says...

Credit: The Secret Studio

Long ride with ftp efforts

This long ride will make you strong as an ox, says Skipper, by building your endurance capabilities…


Aim To build muscular endurance and stamina. This session is a good one to do for your long ride. It’s not a high intensity but will make your long ride more specific. A way to progress the session and build it up over time would be to make the big gear reps longer and, over time, add more threshold reps.

 Distance 80-120km depending on fitness and terrain

 Equipment Bike, training kit

 Location Open country roads

 Benefits Will make you as strong as an ox!

Duration 3-4hrs as: start with 60mins steady pace, 3 x 10mins in a big gear (cadence around 60rpm, power around 85% FTP) with 10mins steady riding in between. Then ride steady for 30mins and do 3 x 5mins at FTP with 5mins steady riding in between. After the last effort, ride steady to finish.

Threshold bike and run

This brick will give you clues on threshold and pacing, as well as getting you used to running off the bike…

 Aim: A great bike and run session for developing your threshold bike and run paces. I’d do around 80-90mins on a turbo followed by around 17km of running intervals afterwards.

 Distance: 90mins bike, 16km run

 Equipment: Turbo, bike kit, run kit

 Location: Turbo for the bike, a lapped 2-3km run course

 Benefits: It’ll improve your threshold on the bike and running, and will also enable you to get used to running fast off the bike.

 Duration: 2:30hrs for the bike and run. A typical session might be: 40mins @ 90-95% FTP, 4mins rest, 20mins @ FTP, 3mins rest, then a set of 2:30mins @ FTP, 90secs rest. Have 10mins rest before getting changed into running kit and doing 7km at half marathon pace, 2mins rest, 7km at half marathon pace, 2mins rest, 3km at or above threshold to finish.

Iron brick

A key set in the Skipper locker is this Ironman-paced bike and above-Ironman paced run a month before race day…

 Aim: To get your Ironman pace dialled in. On the bike, the target is to ride for 160km at your target Ironman power, or target speed if you don’t have a power meter. I’d suggest using a flat course for this, as it’s generally more specific to what terrain you’ll get at many Ironman races (Tenby and Lanza aside!). After the bike, do a transition practice and run for 15km at just above Ironman race pace.

Distance: 150km bike/15km run

Equipment: Race bike, race kit or training kit

Location: Flat, non-technical course

Benefits: This session will give you a lot of confidence, as you’re doing the bike at target race pace and then trying to run at above race pace. I’d do this session four weeks before your Ironman race. The session also gives you an idea of whether or not you can push the bike harder than you thought, or if your target power on the bike is too ambitious. 


Like this? Check out Joe’s top 10 tips for Ironman success