... my journey from ballerina to triathlete

Monday, February 11, 2013

Strong as a Brick

Today I did my first "brick" workout, in which you do a bike workout -- 5.61 miles in this case -- followed immediately by a run. I ran 3.25 miles, and although I was terrified that I was going to end up on my hands and knees crawling home, the whole things went really smoothly! 5.61 miles is fairly short compared to recent bike distances, but I hit 3 solid hills so I was concerned that my legs would be jelly by the time I made it to the run portion.

I had read about the stiff or numb feeling that can happen to your legs when transitioning directly from biking to running, so I was prepared for some strange sensations, which was good because I knew to keep trying to pace myself when my legs hardly had any feeling. After the first half a mile or so, they felt almost normal. In fact, the biking almost felt like a really thorough warm up because after struggling a little the first mile, my run felt really good and my mile time was 10:40.

A couple of notes about technique:
In the biking I discovered that when going up a hill you can actually "pull" the pedals upward by pointing your toes a little (thanks, ballet training!) and using your hamstrings. Previously I had thought that "pulling" was only possible if you had pedal straps, but doing it this way today provided a great little rest for my legs during the hills.
In the running, I realized that I was pitched forward somewhat in my posture. So, during my run today, I focused on pulling my torso back a little and extending my legs more each time I stride. This made a huge difference in my fatigue level, so it's definitely something that I will keep experimenting with.

My body felt awesome after the brick workout -- tired but super relaxed! If you're training for a triathlon it's definitely worth trying, just to get a feel for how it makes your body react. It made me really excited for the race itself, because if a short bike ride and run makes me feel this great, I can only imagine how I'll be after the triathlon!

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