Coach has put me on strict training diet of ride-run ‘bricks’. Last Saturday morning, I rode for 4.5 hours and ran 40 minutes after that. Needless to say, my legs were thrashed the next morning after a 2-hour run (with 12X5-minute sets). Tomorrow, I will be doing 5 hours of paced (15-minutes X 6 speed sets) riding with a 40-minute run, immediately after I complete the ride. I am assured of my personal safety, as a few of my triathlon buddies (Chris Smith, Hui Koon, and Vijay) will join me for this extended session. The roads will be busy, as delivery trucks will be making numerous trips to the cargo complex.
Why do bricks? A brick comprises two disciplines, done back-to-back, as individual sessions. The purpose of a ride-run brick is to simulate fatigue of your recently ridden legs, for the marathon that is to follow. Running a stand-alone marathon is easier than running one after an 180K ride. The time differential for a pure marathon and one done during an Ironman is about 20-30 minutes. As my best differential (60 minutes) has a much larger margin, I will need to train specifically for this race to reduce the deficit. A strong runner may not necessarily do well during an Ironman triathlon unless he/she trains as closely to race-day conditions. Therefore, the pre-race training focuses on ‘running on tired legs’. There is a lot of psychological and mental stress on such prolonged sessions, and this is necessary to fully prepare for the actual conditions of competition. Mental preparation is the ‘difference that makes the difference’ between completing and doing a PB.
However, bricks are hard as these sessions increase in duration and intensity. What you consume on the ride determines your energy level for the long run. I will be reviewing my use of nutritional needs, so as to ensure higher energy levels and lowered risk of gastrointestinal (GI) distress during the run leg. Coach has requested I review another brand of sports nutrition by Hammer. I am currently using High-5 supplementation that has served me well for marathons and half-Ironman races.