Hey, fellow DC Tri Clubbers--
My article about swim-run brick workouts has been published on Active.com and is up for their June contest. The more likes it gets on Active.com, the better my chances of winning. If club members could please check out my article and vote for it, I'd greatly appreciate it. Hopefully, you'll find it informative and it will help you spice up your training. Here's the link to the article:
As a fellow DC Tri member, I respect the fact that you've written a nice piece about swim - bike bricks, however, I'm not sure I see the real benefit of such a workout. Is this simply a new trend or is there empirical and or physical evidence to back it up?
Thanks for the feedback and I'll try to answer your question. Is there hard scientific data (numbers) to back up that swim-run bricks are beneficial? No. No more so than there is hard empirical evidence that bike-run bricks are beneficial. What triathletes who do either (or both) types of brick workouts can and often do see is an improvement in their transition from bike to run or swim to run. The "evidence"--such as it is--for this is improved transition times and run splits off the bike or, in the case of my article about swim-run bricks, an improvement in their swim to bike transition times. The evidence I have for this is based on the positive feedback I've received from the athletes I coach, as well as comparing their T1 times in similar races with similar distances to transition, my own experience incorporating these workouts into my training and the fact that I got the idea of incorporating these bricks from one of USAT's resident coaches at the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs when I was going through USAT coaching certification back in 2004 (his version was to have athletes swim 100 meters, get out of the water and do 20 V-Ups, swim another 100 meters, get out and do 50 body-weight squats, etc. 10 times. He would also have them do open-water swims with 400 meter hard efforts of running out of the water).
Now, that said, could someone just as well learn to run faster and better out of the water just by gaining experience through racing? Certainly. But incorporating swim-run bricks into your training can help shorten the adaptation curve. I guess the only way for you to really find out if swim-run bricks work is for you to try it a few times yourself. I invite you to at least give it a try and I'd love to hear your feedback on it.