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Font Romeu Altitude Camp – Week 2

Bonjour my fellow comrades!!

I hope we are well and enjoying the summer sun (aka its pishing it doon!) Of Glasgow!

Well it’s pishing it doon here in France too, it seems like on our session days it’s raining and thunderstorming from the bloody heavens and then on our recovery/ easy run days its scorching. Maybe God is testing us mentally, making the sessions that little bit tougher to hit the times. But hey ho, it’s all good. Mental toughness is what you need in this game.

Week 1 went according to plan and now moving onto week 2 we start to up the ante a little as we are now getting a little more acclimated to the elevation. 

Week 2 consisted of two workouts and a long run. The session days are Tuesday and Friday with the long run Sunday with a little bit of uptempo in there. On the other days is recovery running and prepping the body to be ready for the big session days.

Our session Tuesday was a bit of a mental toughness one for the books. As the athletics track isn’t laid down in the Pyrenees just yet Me and Adam set off to a track that an athlete told us was about 75 minutes away… turned out it was actually 2 and 1/2 hours away and was pissing of rain… Note to self – when travelling that far don’t leave the apartment without a change of clothes. 

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So after the 2 and a half hour travel we decided to get a quick cup of coffee (I had 3) and then start warming up for the session. We were soaked to the bone by the time we finished our warm up run and all the demons were running about in my head “fuck this shit, I’m soaking wet, my socks, my trainers… just fuck this. I’m not up for this shit!” The demons were at an almighty high and looked like they were winning the internal boxing match in my head.

“Sean, why are you here?! Why have you taken time off work to come on this altitude camp!? Were you not complaining a month ago on the bike you would give anything to be back doing what you love? Get your fucking shoes on, get on the track and let’s see what you’ve got!! Toughen the fuck up!! This is what wins medals!!”

Fuck it let’s go! Off we went. The session was 4x1k/600/400 and it was the first time I’ve been on the track training since the national 5k championships in August 2018. So I knew this was going to sting the legs and lungs.

What made it just that little bit harder was seeing Adam move away from me so easily as I fought to hit the designated times. But I also used it as a positive, if I can just keep the gap here then that will be a good session for me. “Adam is in great shape so he will be ahead of you. You have to accept that at the minute.” I told myself.

The fact that Adam wasn’t backing down from the session meant I was backing down either. We were soaked, cold to the bone but we hit the times we were asked. So at the end of the day as we were driving back home in our wet clothes with the heat blasting and the windows flogging up and me veering onto the wrong side of the road… Again!! We felt we had won the battle of the elements. Today was a good day we both thought. Lot’s of things weren’t in our favour but we didn’t let our mind waver from the objective. Pat on the back for us me thinks.

I feel we are in a generation now where we feel everything should just go our way and if it doesn’t we throw our toys out the pram. Well if you think this way you’re going to be pretty disappointed 90% of your life. Life does it’s thing, it is impartial to what you or me want. It does what it does and we interpret the world as fair or unfair through our eyes. But, if you have those thoughts where you want the world to act in line with your thoughts and your values then you, my friend, are one entitled SOB. 

It’s okay to be down about things that don’t go your way but it’s not alright to let the situation consume you. Things that happen to you may not necessarily be your fault but you have the power and responsibility to control your reaction to the positive or negative experience.

So it was 1 for me and Adam and 0 to the world, that’s right fuck you elements!

Our next session was in a thunderstorm and that was 4x2miles at tempo. Another test of mental fortitude, we passed again 2-0 bitches!!

And we topped it off with a solid Sunday long run with a little uptempo in the middle of it, a 5 mile progression. 

So my week looked like this –

Monday – AM 8miles easy PM 4 miles easy

Tuesday – AM 4x1k/600/400 PM – 4 miles easy

Wednesday – AM 7.5 miles easy PM – 4.5 miles easy

Thursday – 12.5 miles steady 

Friday – AM – 4x2miles PM – 4 miles easy

Saturday – AM – 7 miles easy PM – 5 miles easy 

Sunday – 17 miles with 5 mile uptempo 

102 miles for the week.

I hope you enjoyed my second post, I will post week 3 soon. Stay posted by signing up to the subscription list and you’ll be notified when I release my next blog.

To follow my journey on social media follow me on Instagram – @sean.fontana to stay tuned on daily training posts and updates of how the altitude camp is going.

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Altitude Camp – Week 1 – Adjusting Phase

Hey Guys,

I want to update you on my progress, training and how I’m adjusting to the altitude in preparation for the British 10km Championships, London, July 6th.

Through the blog I’m going to tell you what I’ve been doing for training each week and why I’ve been doing what I’m doing and then some hints and tips when training at altitude, if you are ever looking to going away for a training camp, or if you just want to have an enjoyable read this is for everyone and anyone. 

Week 1 – Adjusting to the thin air.

My most used sentence when going to altitude is “You know you’re at altitude when you hit a hill.”

When running on the flat surfaces you can kind of feel like you still at sea level, in my opinion, of course everyone is different but as soon as I hit a hill my heart rate shoots up quicker than me drinking 10 shots of espresso. So this week is all about taking in the surroundings and allow the body and blood to adapt to the elevation. 

We’re currently living and training at 5000ft-6000ft and then will slowly over weeks two and three slowly move up to 6500ft-7000ft and run at the peak of Font Romeu, Pyrenees 2000. 

How did we even get to Font Romeu in the first place?

You fly into Barcelona and then drive up to Font Romeu, it takes roughly 2 hours and it’s an amazing view. Quick point… Europe drive on the right hand side of the road… there has been a good few occasions I’ve defaulted to the left side being from the UK… I can’t tell you the number if times I’ve asked Adam “Why is that driving in the same lane as us!?!?”

His reply “Sean you’re supposed to be on the right side!”

“Oh shoot, I need to remember that next time.”

20 times later we still have the same conversation, I may be in line for alzheimer’s when I’m older!

So as we close out week one this is the training I’ve been doing – 

Monday – 12 miles easy (glasgow)
Tuesday – AM 5 miles PM – 9 miles
Wednesday – AM – 7.5 miles PM – 5.5 miles
Thursday – 12.5 miles
Friday – AM Hill session (extremely controlled) PM – 4 miles easy shake out
Saturday – AM 7.5 miles PM 5 miles
Sunday – 16 miles easy then steady

As you can see there has been no track sessions. The training as been predominantly aerobic running with a pinch of anaerobic work just to nudge the body to produce a few more red blood cells to allow our physiology to adapt a little quicker. That’s one of the main reasons why athletes go to altitude, to increase their red blood cell count, hematocrit and haemoglobin. How the body does this is to secrete a hormone called EPO from the kidneys to signal the bone marrow to promote more red blood cells. The lack of atmospheric oxygen pressure, altitude, stimulates this response. People think there is less oxygen at altitude, that’s a myth. There is the same amount of oxygen in the air, however, the atmospheric pressure is less so the molecules are further apart which creates that “lack of oxygen” feel.

Why we do this is to allow our bodies to transfer more oxygen to our working muscles when we are back at sea level. As you may know already there are ways to do this legally and illegally. Going to altitude or having an altitude tent are the legal ways. 

I hope you enjoyed my first post, I will post week 2 soon. Stay posted by signing up to the subscription list and you’ll be notified when I release my next blog.

To follow my journey on social media follow me on Instagram – @sean.fontana to stay tuned on daily training posts and updates of how the altitude camp is going.