Training & Fitness

Bricks and a Blind Chick

A few months ago Xterra Pro, Lesley Paterson and her husband Simon asked if I had room in my race calendar to help guide a blind triathlete,  Amy Dixon who is racing and training towards the Rio Paralympics this September.  After some discussion with my family, and feeling pretty satisfied with an incredible 2015 season culminating at Kona again, I gave Amy a call and knew after chatting that I could help her.

This was a way for me to use my years of experience as a former Pro/Olympic hopeful myself back in 2000, a Coach and now the 40-44 Ironman All World Athlete Champion, I could put all that knowledge to use in an entirely different way. Just like the athlete who lives in the snow, cold, sunshine or rain a blind athlete like Amy can benefit from a brick workout which is training in two disciplines back to back such as Swim/Bike or Bike/Run. As a busy mom or working professional a brick can be done out of your garage or run in the neighborhood using a GPS like the Timex ONE watch and Heart Rate Monitor. If I’m doing a brick from home, I love the Wahoo Trainer.  A huge benefit is how the trainer becomes your back wheel so you don’t wear down your tire and it’s very quiet. I can attach my Road or Triathlon Bike with perfection, because the bike attaches to a chain ring on the trainer. The Wahoo also connects to an IPAD or cell phone and displays power and cadence. It’s so fun and easy to use with bluetooth technology! The limitation of this trainer is it needs to have a power source of electricity and it’s heavy to move. If you want a portable bike trainer then I would go with a Kinetic 2.0 Road Machine or Cycleops.

Susanne Davis

Luckily, I live in sunny California so the track is a very fun and precise measured area to do a brick workout. The brick workout can help any triathlete training for any distance whether it’s a sprint, Olympic, Half Ironman or an Ironman. The workout teaches your body to transition smoother, run faster off the bike and builds confidence. It’s easy to record your splits, try to descend your splits, test your personal limit or find your sweet spot for pace and heart rate. Bricks teach you to understand and feel race like efforts. If you don’t have a lot of race experience, bricks teach you to run more comfortably at uncomfortable efforts! Athletes looking to maximize their time, want a safe place to keep your bike while you brick run, or in Amy’s case being blind and me at her side to help her hit paces; the track is perfect with even footing! Train like you race. Leave the excuses at home. If a blind Paralympic triathlete can do this, so can you!

Brick Workout: 60 to 75 minutes

Set Bike up on Trainer next to the track. Place bike and run shoes with speed laces on the side to practice quick transitions. Practice putting your bike shoes on while pedalling.

Warm up 15 minutes at 70% at Zone 2 either Biking or Running. Stretch. Then do 3 x 30 second hard efforts to spike heart rate and get cadence going on the bike or run. Then Start Set!

Main Set: 3 sets of : Bike 2 minutes easy 70% active recovery; then 4 minutes hard at 85 to 90% or Zone 4 to 5. Transition quickly and Run hard at 85 to 90% for 800 yards to a mile. (pick a run distance that falls into the 3 to 8 minute catagory. Each Set will take you 10 to 14 minutes. Use your mile, 5k, 10k or Half Marathon paces depending on your race goals.

Cool Down 10 minutes in the activity you didn’t do in the warm up.

By Susanne Davis (Coach/Mom/Athlete)