Ask the Coach – Sore Calves and Bricks

Ask the Coach – Sore Calves and Bricks

Welcome back to the weekly ‘Ask the Coach’ column! This week we’re talking about sore muscles and brick workouts. I’ve also included a free workout for you!

Q1)  I have a race coming up and my calves are super sore. How should I train for the week to let my calves recover but get the training in that I need? – Michele 


To address the soreness in the calves, first think about how they got sore. There are many reasons why your calves might be sore from training. Make sure the soreness is not an injury, but the typical overuse and tightness athletes will get (which we can and should reduce using the methods to follow!)  If it isn’t an injury and you are able to continue to train, make sure you warm-up well prior to the workout. Then stretch your calves gently before the main part of the workout. If pain sets in during your workout, slow down or stop – no sense in making it worse. Make sure your workout includes a good cool down and then once again stretch both the soleus and gastroc. You might also consider an epsom salt bath after your workouts, as this may help reduce soreness. Foam rolling sessions or using “the stick” before and after workouts will help get blood flow to the calves to aid in recovery. During the week also make sure you are consuming electrolytes and staying hydrated before, during, and after your training.

Q2:I hear triathletes talk about “brick” workouts. I have no idea what they’re talking about. Can you fill me in? -Tim

Brick workouts are really “combination” workouts, when at least two of the three disciplines of a triathlon are done back to back. The most common brick workout is the bike-run brick, where a run immediately follows a bike ride. No one really knows how the term really came about, but here are the most common origin possibilities:
  1. It’s how your legs feel at the start of a run after a bike ride
  2. Bike-Run-ICK!
  3. The kind of workout was popularized by Dr. Matt Brick
  4. Named by Mark Sisson and Scott Zagarino one day in 1988 after they completed a Bike-Run workout “Just another brick in the wall”.
  5. You can do a swim-bike brick or a swim-bike-run brick, or even a swim-run brick, but most commonly triathletes will train in the same order that they will race.

Here’s a free bike-run brick workout
for a sprint or olympic distance triathlon or duathlon.


Set up a transition area as you would on race day.

  • Bike 6 miles, run one mile (do this one easy to warm-up) rest 5 minutes then
  • Bike 6 miles, run one mile (this is a moderate to moderate-hard pace), rest 5 minutes
  • Bike 6 miles, run one mile (do this hard – finish strong)
  • Easy spin or jog/walk 10 minutes to cool down.

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Nicole Odell


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