BRICK training (and Gu fuelling review)

On Sunday I really put my legs to the test with an intense BRICK training session with RG Active in Richmond Park!
I was invited along to the session as part of my training for the London Duathlon, although the sessions are for anyone taking part in multisport event. Click here for more info.
The idea of a BRICK session is to experience running off the bike, and what the commonly known ‘jelly legs’ feels like without having to find out the hard way on race day! It also gives the opportunity to practise “transitions” where you change the necessary equipment for the next section of the event. For some people these are a time to rest and make yourself comfortable, whereas for others it’s all about how quickly you can get in and out!

I had signed up to Sunday’s session with Charlie, although she ended up running a bit late and made me panic that I’d have to do it on my own! Even though we didn’t really cycle/run together after the first lap, it was nice to know there was a familiar face out there and someone to chat about it with afterwards when we were both knackered!
As I’m not currently using cycle shoes I didn’t have much to set up in transition – just put my bike on the rack, and my helmet in front of it. One of the guys leading the session recommended a brightly coloured towel for race day so you can spot your bike among the many others!
As you can see from the photos a lot of the other people taking part were more serious athletes in tri-suits, with their carbon fibre bikes, and I pretty much went into the session expecting to be last – so it didn’t really phase me when I was!


We did a warm up run of the 1.4k route, and I thought that was tough before we’d even started! (I had just cycled 3miles from Wimbledon to Richmond Park so I suppose added an extra lap onto the BRICK really!)


We then had around an hour to do as many laps as we could- I managed to get in 3 by which time my legs were pretty dead!

I loved the cycling! It was a bit windy and there was one nasty hill up to the Ballet School on the 5k loop, but it was such gorgeous scenery in Richmond Park. The weather was sunny and so early on a Sunday morning it was pretty peaceful apart from the hordes of other cyclists! I was overtaken A LOT, and need to get over my fear of not braking on the downhills as I’m sure that would help my times! It also became apparent that clipless pedals would be much appreciated on the uphills, so I could stand up in the saddle for extra power.

My fastest time of the 3 laps was 13:52, which includes the time taken for me to remove my bike from the rack and set off after the run, and the time for me to dismount and re-rack my bike. That’s an average speed of 13.5mph…

The running for me was very hard.
You’d think that a 1.4k loop doesn’t sound like very much, but after getting off the bike my legs felt like lead and it was a huge effort to keep going. But every time I could see Charlie a bit ahead of me and kept pushing, as I couldn’t wait to get back on my bike!
My fastest time was 9:40, which is an average pace of 10:35min/mile – not actually that bad for me! This was the first run however, and I did get considerably slower.
On the second run lap I grabbed a Gu Energy Gel to refuel with on the go, and took my time a bit more. I’ve already tried the Gu Chomps on a run before – they’re pretty tasty, like slightly softer wine gums with a great flavour!
I tried the Lemon Sublime flavour gel on Sunday which was nice. The gels are quite sticky, and are best consumed with a drink. They are a handy sachet size, and very convenient to carry. I just need to practise the “opening-on-the-go-without-getting-it-everywhere” technique…

Each sachet contains 100kcal, with a mixture of complex carbohydrates, amino acids, electrolytes and caffeine to keep you going. I got a bit of a stitch whilst running, but had no digestive problems from the gels so I can use them for future races safe in the knowledge they won’t cause any issues. I am also quite looking forward to trying out the other flavours!

Photo courtesy of Charlie- after the session, I obviously wore a helmet during. Looking far more alert and full of energy than I felt at this point!

The BRICK session itself was hard work, but it was reassuring to cycle part of the route that I will be doing during the London Duathlon and practice the transitions. Being a little more familiar with the process will hopefully make me less nervous on race day, but I doubt it! It’s also made me realise that I should try and tack a few more shorter runs onto the end of my cycle commute home, in the hope that my muscles will get used to the feeling and will remember what to do!

Anyone else fancy doing a multisport event? How do you refuel on the go? I need to practice drinking from my bottle whilst cycling along!

Beki x

PS. I was fortunate enough to be sent the Gu Gels and Chomps to try, and to be able to attend the BRICK session for free – but as always, all opinions are my own. 

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