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52 Weeks to Mont Tremblant - Weeks 1-4

My wife wants a second kid, so I signed up for an Ironman.

She was 7 months pregnant when I finished my first Ironman last year in Lake Placid. Is this becoming a thing?? Instead of deciding to do something we could enjoy together, I chose to do something alone for hours… and hours… and hours. Then I make her wander an unfamiliar place for 12+ hours alone.

I didn’t start triathlon to get away from her, I swear. I started triathlon because I’m an introvert and find peace in the steady hum of my Shimano groupset on my Wahoo Kickr Snap. She gets me and I love her even more because of the support she gives me.

So, I’m documenting my training and nutrition program leading up to Ironman Mont Tremblant in August 2019. A little about me: My name is Jim Gazzale. I’m a USAT certified coach as well as a nutrition coach through Precision Nutrition. I’m an above average age-group triathlete. We’re a few weeks into "the training year” let’s call it, and frankly 52 weeks sounded much more appealing in the title than 48 weeks.

Here goes… 52 weeks to Mont Tremblant. Thanks for reading.

Week 1 - Taper and race 70.3 Maine. Finish time of 5:06, finished in the top third of M30-34.
Week 2 - Vacation
Week 3 - light training
Week 4 - strength block begins

We’re 48 weeks out from Ironman Mont Tremblant. It’s easy to fall into the trap of telling yourself there’s so much time. There is plenty of time, that’s true. But it’s important, for me at least, to not lose the fitness I built up over the last year. Now’s the time to maintain it and grow it in certain disciplines. I’m shooting for a PR next August, hoping to best my time of 11:55 at Ironman Lake Placid 2017.

Enter heavy lifting! It’s becoming increasingly more popular and widely used in training plans lately. The off-season (where I am now) is the perfect spot to place it on the calendar. For the next 12 weeks my main focus, along with the athletes I coach, will be on building strength and power for the bike and run. This comes via deadlifts, box jumps, stability work, and glute activation exercises.

We’re all pressed for time. Work, school, kids, husband, wife, friends, parties, the list goes on. We’re already training for three sports, now you say I need to add a fourth?!?! What gives?

Yes, I am saying that as it’s critical for us to not only have success in triathlon but get stronger, faster and more resistant to injury. Your legs must be up to the challenge and muscular endurance plays a key role.

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That’s why the off-season is the ideal time to focus on strength training. Most everything else (swim, bike, run) is, or should be, unstructured right now. We all need that mental break. Strength training two days per week, 30-40 mins is all it takes to get stronger.

Here’s a workout sample:

3 sets of deadlifts at 65% of 1RM, 6-8 rep, lift only, followed immediately by 5x box jumps, 2-3min rest

Accessory Work (3x 6 reps)
Single leg split squat
Front squats
Hamstring curls

It felt great lifting again. I hadn’t done a serious strength workout in more than 6 months. While my performance in races exceeded expectations this past season, I’m confident that a quality lifting program would have made me faster.

If my IMLP Run result is any indication, I need to improve in this area. A 4:35 marathon wasn’t where I hoped it would be, so that’s the focus. Improve the run!

Next week I’m running the Ragnar Relay from Saratoga Springs, NY to Lake Placid. Beyond that I’m also running my own personal ultra marathon on October 14. 31 miles on my 31st birthday to raise money for breast cancer research. So my running volume will need to remain fairly high over the next month or so.


As a nutrition coach I’d like to think I have a solid grasp on what my body needs to be fit and successful. My macronutrient breakdown looks like this right now. 150g protein, 200g carbohydrates, 70g fats for roughly 2,000 calories per day.

This will change over time as the training volume and intensity changes. I don’t need to be consuming 3,500+ calories per day given the lower volume training. Those days will come at the start of 2019.

My diet this week consisted of plenty of quinoa, pork chops, chicken, peanut butter, protein shakes, rice, cauliflower, broccoli, bananas, and apples.

Weight: 161 lbs, BF% 10.6 Garmin smart scale
Let’s see how much this changes over the next year.


Thank you for following along on this journey. I’m excited to give you some insights into my training and nutrition plan. Endurance training is as rewarding as it hard, which is maybe why it’s so rewarding. Sharing this weekly post will certainly help keep me motivated and accountable.

Any comments or questions? Drop them below!