Which Build to choose before a full triathlon plan?

Despite telling my wife that I was done with long distance triathlon, it seems it wasn’t done with me… I won an entry to Swedeman for next year and decided to take up the place. Swedeman is an ‘extreme’ triathlon (part of NorseMan XTri series) and the distances are all a bit longer than Iron distance.

I had done SSB LV1, almost finished SSB LV2 and have enjoyed full compliance and some solid workouts. I had intended to do a couple of road races next year, and was going to do Sustained Power Build LV, then Rolling Road Race LV. However, having plugged the details into Plan Builder I still have a nice eight week window for a LV Build phase before 24 week run-in to Swedeman.

Having never a TR build phase that isn’t triathlon based, please help me pick whether I chose Short, General or Sustained Power Build. While this might seem initially obvious (Sustained Power) here’s some observations:

  • Current FTP 290, and I am lockdown fat so at 3.3w/kg, but I intend to carefully manage weight loss through to August 2021. I have been at 3.75w/kg in the last year
  • I found Mary Austin -2 a lot more straightforward than Palisade.
  • Previously some VO2 work has lifted my general fitness and FTP quite a bit, but too much ground me down (Rolling Road Race LV was good, CX LV was not)
  • I have a dumb trainer and it’ll stay that way unless I win the lottery as I used up all my goodwill credit with the money I just spent on flights, car rental and accommodation for Swedeman
  • Swedeman bike course is 205km with 2300m climbing, but is very rolling with no standout climbs or gradients

At the moment, my gut feeling is to go with General as a ‘best of both worlds’ as I think Short may be too much for me and not discipline appropriate, whereas I am going to get plenty of sustained work through the triathlon plan itself. Would be grateful for any thoughts, particularly from any triathletes who have followed a similar progression. Cheers!

With the proviso that the bike only build plans are a different beast because they don’t account for the added stress of running and swimming…

Pick whichever you are enthusiastic about! You are going into a looooong stretch of training and I imagine you’d see benefits from either general or short so just go with what seems fun and gives you variety in your workouts.