What Next? Plan suggestions

Aloha all -

This is my 1st post and 1st day with an account on this forum, but long-time lurker and TR user. I’m 48 male, train for triathlon primarily, and am looking for suggestions for where to go next.

I’m just finishing up week 7 (going into recovery week) of Sustained Power Build high volume now (with some modifications) and have been really pleased with the results (FTP 243>285, thanks TR!). I have another 4 months or so to maintain this bike focus before needing to get back into proper triathlon training. I have a endurance/ultra-endurance background, enjoy lots of volume, and am eventually preparing for an IM and Ultra event in Fall 2021…so my questions:

  • is it worth it to just do the whole program over again and keep building the FTP? And, at what point do we reach diminished returns on reaching that highest possible FTP?
  • Would the Century specialty phase help me build FTP, or will it help me maintain build more strength over time? Or both?
  • Is there a plan, or maybe a combo of plans (??) that will help me continue to build the FTP while being able to extend my long ride (and sustained power) to 4-6hrs?

Thanks in advance!

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How much time you have or can you do weekly?

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Welcome to the group

Make sure to drop in on the The Ironman Training 2020 Thread - #2886 by Alen as well

You ask some of the same questions we all ask, and I don’t think there is an easy answer

Is it worth doing the same plan over and over? Yes - as long as you see the gains, but borrrrrinnnngggg. Sometime changing up stuff prompts new adaptation. Also variety = spice of life :slight_smile:

I don’t lean towards the Century plan unless long rides are a limiter - take a look at the 40K TT plan for sustained power over time.

I don’t think there is a magic plan - I freaking wish - you will have to do the work, but the the main focus should be to raise fitness (FTP) - as the saying goes - a high tide raises all boats.


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I’ve been doing 9-13hrs on the bike the last 7 weeks, but can dedicate up to/tolerate 15-18hrs a week for training

  • Would the Century specialty phase help me build FTP, or will it help me maintain build more strength over time? Or both?

I don’t recommend Specialty. It will build specific skills, but sometimes at the expense of FTP. You mention four months until needing to start tri-specific training.

  • Is there a plan, or maybe a combo of plans (??) that will help me continue to build the FTP while being able to extend my long ride (and sustained power) to 4-6hrs?

I suggest you make up an event four months from now that mimics what you want to get good at (i.e. Century, 40k TT, Rolling Road Race, etc) and plug that into Plan Builder. It will tailor a Base / Build / Specialty combo based on the event type, how much structured training experience you have (less = more base, more = more specialty), and the time (4 months). You’ll get to Specialty then, but not now.

As you know, there is more to endurance racing than just FTP. In your case, time to exhaustion (TTE) is equally important. Therefore, I’d experiment with your “goal event” and go with the plan that looks like it will grow FTP and TTE.


If you want a challenge and gain some endurance try your hand at Trad Base HV 2 & 3. I worked through all of them from MV1 and up. They are only 4 week blocks which is great as not a big commitment if you don’t like it.

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Welcome :+1:

Sounds like you’re keen but a couple of things;

  1. ‘Minimum effective dose’
  2. Its a long way until fall 2021

Basically you dont want the maximum training you can do, you want the minimum amount that delivers a significant performance improvement.

My next full distance race looks like Oct 2021 so Im doing what I can to test myself in a virtual race now to find out how effective my training has been this year so I can make change to training next year. Then I will take time off the bike and off structured training.

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Strongly suggest to use Plan Builder. It nicely mixes the things

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Plan builder - It’s almost like they made it for people who ask themselves what to do next and how to build their plan!

Jokes aside. First: Congratulations on the progress. That’s amazing. Second: I would also recommend playing around with plan builder and see what it suggests!

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Thanks everyone! Sounds like plan builder is the way to go…interestingly it gave me the same exact idea I had coming into this thread in the first place: 8 weeks re-do Sustain power build high volume then 8 weeks Century high volume.
So from the guy who is full of questions :joy:, if I wanted to add more volume to the plans would it be smart to extend the intervals (eg make Eclipse+3 5x20 instead of 4x20) or just add endurance work? Guess it depends???
Lastly, @JoeX why minimum effective dose? Why not maximum effective dose?

If i can buy the same nice cup of coffee for £3 or £4, Ill go with the £3.

If I get the same benefit from 300TSS as I do from 400TSS then Im gaining nothing, but paying more (in terms of recovery and time invested) for the same thing.

Minimum effective dose is doing the minimum you need to do for the performance gain you want, which makes sense, right?

Lots of people assume that the more training and the harder they go, the more benefit they will get - which isnt how the human body works.


I’d look at adding additional z2 work first and see how you go with that. You’re seeing some pretty big gains from the plans as is, so by all means add some extra easy work if you just want to ride more- but it looks like your training is already super effective as is so you’re probably in a great spot volume-wise already.

Yep, and you’ve also got a lower chance of illness/injury/digging yourself a giant hole/whatever, so you’re likely to get higher quality and consistent training long term. It’s also easier to fit around other commitments, which works along the same lines- a lower volume executed well is more effective than a higher volume that gets interrupted frequently or does so at the expense of a logical progression.


Thanks folks!! This has been really helpful :call_me_hand:

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