First time Ironman + weightlifting / increase power

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    Hey! So I am finishing my last race of the season in 2 weeks (oly) and going to do light tri maintenance while lifting to get stronger legs and lats in order to (hopefully) do some help with increasing my FTP and overall strength. I have been doing well; this year is my first year in triathlons and am placing top 15, and have two 1st place AG finishes and one 2nd place AG. I am stoked on the sport.

    Question: I intend to start the ironman plan in December which lines up with my IM which will be St. George. Are there intentional FTP building type workouts in the beginning of the plan to get stronger or will it all be long? It’s been a while since I remember the beginning of my Oly plan so I wanted to ask.

    2. If I wanted to continue lifting to help my strength and really try to advance in this sport (would love to be placing closer to the overall podium when I get back to Olys/Sprints, mid to late summer/fall next year), could I continue to lift during my full plan or is that too much? If I can, how long into the plan could/should I continue and when should I stop in order to focus on the endurance portion?

    Overall, I just think I could have some potential in the local region (obviously not good enough for other stuff). I am 29 and really enjoy the sport and want to get stronger/build higher FTP and wondering if 80/20 will help or a competitor program that focuses on cycling for a phase or two. Just want to hear your thoughts!

    David Warden

    Plant, I’m rally happy to hear about your success. It’s going to be a great 2022 for you, I can tell.

    Any CF workout in any 80/20 plan is designed to increase or maintain FTP. The higher you can maintain the intervals in upper Zone 3, the more likely you are to increase FTP. Performing the intervals at mid-zone 3 is more of an FTP maintenance workout. But, it only works if you can maintain all intervals at the same level of zone penetration. Performing the Z3 intervals at 99%, 80%, 90%, and 85% penetration of Zone 3 will not give you FTP improvements the way 95% for all intervals will.

    Yes, strength training during an IM plan is just as important as during an Oly plan. It’s better to pick a Level 2 plan with strength training than a Level 3 without.

    But, our plans will not improve FTP the way a dedicated cycling FTP will. If your goal is to improve FTP, I’d go with a competitor’s FTP plan for now (we’re about 3 months out from 80/20 Cycling plans, including FTP…).

    But remember, a dedicated FTP plan will of course mean you’ll be losing ground in your bike and run. That’s normal and expected. You can gain more FTP with a dedicated FTP plan, but you can still gain some FTP with a competent tri plan.


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