Running off the bike your legs can feel like anything from jelly to concrete as they try to switch from pushing and pulling on the pedals to a running action. To improve things, ‘brick’ training sessions – where you go immediately from bike to run – are the best bet.
As the first couple of kilometres are where your legs do most of their adapting, there’s no need for brick sessions to be too long. In fact, it’s better if you can do multiple short stints of bike–run in one workout, rather than simply doing one long bike followed immediately by one long run.
So, when planning a brick session:
Try to mimic race conditions, using your race bike and by keeping the overall pace similar to race pace.
Make transitions quick – the longer you take to change, the less realistic it is for your legs.
Aim for two to four bike/run transitions within an individual session (two when starting out, building to four as you get fitter).
A good beginner brick workout would be: short warm-up; 2 x 10–15mins at race pace on the bike; then 5–6mins at race pace running. Take a short break between sets and then do a cool-down to finish. As you get stronger, you can add a third and fourth set to the session.
To make transitions easier, if you can set your race machine up on a turbo for brick sets this can work well, as it means you don’t have to worry about ditching your bike somewhere before running. If you have access to a gym, using a spin bike and a treadmill is also an easy solution, as long as you can guarantee you can jump from bike to run without someone stealing your treadmill in between!
For lots more performance advice head to our Training section