Why do BRIC workouts?
Let’s get one thing straight, BRIC workouts are not named after the fact that your legs feel like bricks. Why? Because going into something thinking it will hurt or how you should feel is a horrible idea!
Yes, your legs will hurt and feel a bit tight when you start running, but what do you expect when you have come off the bike and are totally changing your body position?
BRIC, or bike-run interval combination, workouts are meant to help you mentally and physically. Mentally you are rehearsing what it is like to come off the bike and start running and what that feels like. Physically you are teaching your body how to adapt to running off the bike.
There are three main types of BRIC workouts, Strength, Speed and Feel.
Feel BRIC workouts are the simplest of all the BRIC workouts. These BRIC workouts are just easy runs off a bike ride. I know some coaches who say that athletes should always run off a bike ride to practice the feel. Personally, I do not believe in taking it that far, but I do believe that after certain longer rides even a short 5-10 minute run off the bike will mentally help you remember what it feels like to run off the bike.
Strength BRIC workouts are more typical Ironman prep. These workouts are double or triple BRIC workouts with long bikes and long runs. Using these effectively can help simulate racing a longer run without running a full marathon. Using blocks of 20-40km bikes and 6-10km runs will achieve the desired workload. The next step is mixing up the tempo of the runs to simulate running at 70.3 or Ironman racing pace. The strength gained in these workouts will come back in the last half of a half or full Ironman.
Speed BRIC workouts are typical of short course and ITU athletes. Doing shorter BRIC workouts work best using a trainer for the bike so you can more easily achieve higher intensities. Creating speed BRIC workouts can be quite fun as the goal is to go fast and go hard. Short bikes of 3-6 minutes and runs of 400-1km. Playing with speeds and paces in these workouts can create even better training responses. Speed BRIC workouts will be much more physically taxing than feel or strength workouts and are best done in the two or three weeks leading into races.
Overall properly using BRIC workouts will not only help you physically learn how to run off the bike, but will also help mentally with the feel. There is no perfect formula for these workouts, but experimenting with distance and intensity each time will only make you a better athlete.