As a triathlete, runner or any other type of cardio-focused athlete, strength training has an important role in your cardio-focused training regime.
While you likely know that you should strength train, it's common for athletes to think that any time spent away from swim/bike/run (or your sport of choice) in order to strength train will slow fitness gains. But actually it's the opposite. By making strength training part of your cardio focused training routine in the early phase of your season (remember, strength training needs to be periodized, just like your sport), you are setting yourself up for big fitness gains later on, when your training advances in intensity and volume.
As you integrate functional strength exercises into your early phase of training, you can improve your imbalances and weaknesses, which may otherwise come back to haunt you when you place added intensity and volume stress on your body in the spring and throughout the summer. Sadly, it's very hard to return to a foundation phase of training when you are in peak training.
Lifting weights just to be strong will be of little value compared to performing sport-specific movements that help improve mobility, stability and eventually power and explosive strength.
For many years, Trimarni has believed in the purpose of strength training for the main fact that I spent much of my higher education focusing on strength and conditioning (throughout college and during my Master degree program). Creating strength training plans is a passion of mine as I have been strength training since I was very young (around 12 years old) and have experienced great benefits of regularly strength training.
As you transition from your off-season to more specific power/endurance/speed phase of training, I encourage you to appreciate the role of strength training as a triathlete, swimmer, cyclist or runner.
Karel and myself, including our athletes, all perform a "foundation" phase of training immediately after the off season.
For many years, we have called this our "Transition" plan but this word is interchanged with foundation, as you are simply building a strong foundation to work from as the season progresses.
Because we find this phase of training so critical, we have continued to update our 8-week Transition plan every year to ensure that we are keeping up with current trends and methods of training.
If you are confused as to how to properly transition yourself from the off-season to your more specific triathlon training OR if you are susceptible to injuries and health issues and want to ensure consistency in your first 8 weeks of training (and onward), we have a new 2017 8-week Transition plan and we are offering it to you to help you build a strong body for your 2017 season of training and racing.
You can learn more here, 2017 Trimarni Training Plans.
Chasing watts and speed is not relevant right now.
It's impossible (and not necessary) to maintain peak race fitness all year long.