Building a triathlon plan


I really hate creating a thread all for myself, but I couldn’t find anything specific concerning this, so here goes.

With all the main races over, I wish to start training for a sprint triathlon happening around mid-april 2021. A bit of background, I did three seasons (2017, 2018 and 2019) of Olympic distance racing and 2 last seasons had almost identical finishing times with 2:32 being my PB. I decided to take a break during 2020, try my luck in running, but a hip flexor injury made me stop running altogether and I primarily raced road cycling races (talk about an existential crisis). Now, I feel as if my injuries have healed, my swimming and running times are terrible, but I also feel like I can get them up to the level I had pretty quickly. Also my plateau in Olympic distance made me want to try my luck in sprint distance.

Moving on, I built a plan using plan builder that looks like this:

I treat this as off-season with 2 strength workouts per week:

  • Sprint Triathlon Base - Low Volume;
  • Sprint Triathlon Build - Low Volume;
  • Sprint Distance Triathlon - Low Volume;

And this is where the season starts, with 1-2 strength workouts per week (ditching one as build phase begins):

  • Sprint Triathlon Base - Mid Volume (starting January 12th and moving up to mid volume);
  • Sprint Triathlon Build - Mid Volume;
  • Sprint Distance Triathlon - Low Volume (ending April 24th)

Now I really loved the plan looking through it, BUT then I found this article, suggesting that I should go for Sustained Power Build, General Build or Short-Power Build during the off-season. And since I loved road racing this year and would love to do it some more next year, I feel like general build would be perfect for me.

So the question would be, how do I integrate the General Build plan into the sprint triathlon plan made by plan builder? I’d love to keep the swimming and running workouts because it just makes my life that much easier. One way I’m considering doing this is just manually removing the cycling workouts and adding a cycling plan on top of already determined swim and run workouts, but this seems like a half-assed way of doing it. Also, do I keep doing sprint triathlon base, but then move to general build? Or do I go for sweet spot base, general build and then sprint distance triathlon specialty?

Bonus question: how possible/sane is it to train (while racing sprint triathlons about twice a month) to FINISH a mid-September Ironman distance race starting to train May 1st (21 weeks)?

Thank you for your answers!

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Have you try use the TR plan builder?
It has work great for me.

You could start with a fictional goal race (sprint) to build race, or just input the actual race and the plan will guide you the whole way…from swimming to running.

Yes, I love the plan built by plan builder, but the article I linked suggests doing it the whole other way.


Sorry… it was TL/DR… but i actually read your post now.

the issue i have with doing something else is that I do not know enough about the balance between running and cycling.

For example. You mentioned your running is suffering from the long layoff. So you want to stay as healthy as possible. So if you start adding more volume before you are ready for you might risk another running injury.

You could find different strategies that will work for different athletes. Now if you have done TR plans before and you know what are you doing with running, then your other plan might work. You just need to make sure you balance the running with cycling correctly.

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You can put a fictional time trial race scheduled for ~1 week before you want to kick off the sprint triathlon training. Just playing around with that, plan builder gave me SSB1/2 -> Sustained Power Build -> SSB -> Sprint Build -> 2x Sprint Specialty -> Race day

But this gives me only cycling workouts throughout the period before the fictional TT. Is it possible to keep the swim/run workouts?

There’s another issue with maybe having too much volume, but I guess then it’s easier to just delete a swim/run workout or go easier/shorter than prescribed.

I don’t think there is a very good way to do this, but I think you can manually delete all the bike workout in the build and then overlay the general build on top of the tri build.
Something to keep in mind: in my experience, a low-volume bike-only plan (i.e. General build) is similar to a mid-volume bike portion of a tri plan so you do need figure out how to balance that.

Sounds like you have the opposite problem as me. You want to add just the run/swim of a tri plan to your calendar because you’re doing something else (TR bike specifc plan). I want to add just the bike part of a tri plan to my calendar because I’m doing something else (my own concoction) for the run and swim.

Because there are so many people that come into triathlon with a good background in 1 of the 3 disciplines, it might make a lot of sense to be able to pick which of the 3 sports you want to put in from TR. It would save a lot of manual deleting from the calendar.

My understanding is they have the tri plans to balance the additional TSS, but the alternate plan recommendations in that article is for “off season” training which I think they are assuming would be bike focused, so very little to no run/swim volume.

Yes, its possible :slight_smile:

Youre switching up to a significantly different volume of training. Im sure plan builder will give you an answer, but Id look at FD LV Base (12) and Build (8) then the last, 8th week of Speciality (1) to taper.

Id match the threshold workouts to your sprint races, presumably at the weekend so youll need to find a way to do your long bikes and long runs midweek.