Brick sessions and transition training

Putting the different triathlon disciplines together is a skill in itself. Master it with these simple tips from endurance coach Steve Whittle.

A brick session involves performing two or three of the different triathlon disciplines back to back during one training session. Going straight from the pool to the bike or the bike to the run is a very different sensation than doing each discipline individually, so it’s important to practice putting these elements together in training so it doesn’t come as a shock to your system during the event. 

It’ll help you gauge your pacing too. It’s better to find out how much energy you need to keep in reserve for the bike and run before race day – that way you can adjust your swim speed accordingly, which is harder to judge if you’ve not tried going from one to the other already in training. 

There’s also the issue of preparing your body for the physical element of the transitions. Cycling actually promotes poor running form – by the time you come of the bike, your hip flexors and chest will be tight and your diaphragm will be squashed – so the more you can practice re-adjusting your posture, the quicker you’ll be able to do it during the race.

Finally, it’s worth practising the little things. You can lose an awful lot of time in transition, which is why it’s often referred to as the fourth discipline of triathlon, especially if you’re feeling disorientated and a little wobbly after the swim leg and you’re adrenaline’s up. Practising putting on your shoes, helmet and sunnies (in order) might sound basic, but if you can do it on autopilot, you could end up shaving crucial minutes off your time on the day.

Steve Whittle is an endurance and nutrition coach with over a decade’s experience. For more information, contact him at   or via Twitter @coach_whittle  

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