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benefits of heart rate training

The evolution of sporting technology has been extremely beneficial for athletes over the last one to two decades with advances in wearable technology to enhanced nutrition. Giving us a sporting and athletic edge over the previous generations of athletes that came before us. No doubt in the next decade we will see more advancements in training technologies with the ever growing research into sport and exercise science. It’s an extremely fascinating topic of discussion. One of the technological fitness devices I’m going to talk about today is the why I use heart rate training and the science behind it.


Firstly I will say that this type of training will benefit every individual differently some big benefits and some not so big benefits but you will never know until you try new things and learn what works for you or doesn’t as an athlete in pursuit of greatness. The first time I started getting interested in heart rate was when I was training with Team GB athlete Andy Vernon. He wore his heart rate monitor religiously on tempo runs and would stay in his tempo zone during the workout, never above. I spoke about tempo/threshold running in my previous blog The Art of Tempo Running and how you should run to heart rate and not pace for optimal training effect. You can see other great athletes like the Ingrbritsen brothers train with a heart rate monitor on too during threshold workouts and then lactic meters during training sessions too. Using technological advancements to get a greater understanding of how the body responds to certain training stimuli.


Anyway back to heart rate. I found it interesting when training with Andy or his training group, Melbourne Track Club at the time, they’re all wearing a chest strap. I was the only one who didn’t and it wasn’t until I spoke to Andy about why he trained with the heart rate monitor it all started to make senses to me. Firstly, I would take my pulse in the morning and record it in my training diary and would start to see a trend in my heart rate being anywhere between 38-42bpm when healthy and rested. However, if I was starting to train too hard or wasn’t giving my body enough rest or recovery I would see the numbers creep up to 45-50bpm and this would be the first warning sign of overtraining or that an illness/virus may be on the horizon. There could also be other factors like stress from work, poor sleep, caffeine and/or being dehydrated. Again, these are all stressors on the body that sometimes we don’t know deep down have a physiological impact on us and we still go out and train really hard that day and sometimes wonder why we felt we couldn’t hit the paces or times we were looking for. The answer may be hidden in that morning heart rate. I use a oxiometer device to quickly check resting heart in the morning.


When easy running I will stay in the blue zone and sometimes in the low end of green zone if I’m on a slight incline or hill when out easy running. On your Garmin these are the blue and green zones but I will do my best to have around 80-90% of my easy run in the blue zone, stated easy, roughly 130-138bpm after that I’ll see the heart rate go into the green zone, the aerobic zone. I will also look at my max heart rate and my average heart rate and if these are low then I know I have recovered properly from my hard training session the previous day. The pace will vary from day to day on easy runs depending on how tired you are from your previous training sessions but remember if you’re going out to recover for the next training session you shouldn’t be worried about your easy run pace. You should be worrying about running at the right intensity to allow your muscles to recover and physiology to absorb your hard work and the heart rate monitor will give you that live feedback. The heart rate monitor I use is the Garmin-Run, which works really well and I feel is very accurate with it’s heart rate feedback.


Tempo/threshold running should be done at heart rate, like I said in my previous blog, you will need to have a physiological test to see those numbers to have those accurate readings. You will be able to get those V02max and sub V02max tests done at most universities that have a sport science department. They usually cost around £100 and are very useful if you’re taking your training seriously. There is a specific heart rate zone at which your body buffers and accumulates lactic acid at the same time and that my friends is where your tempo/threshold is. It’s not based on pace, it’s based on science. Again, that pace will vary from week to week depending on the training load, however, if you stick at the correct heart rate you are placing the same stress on the body to get the desired physiological response from the training.


This type of training has lead me to running 29minutes 16seconds for 10km, 14minutes 06seconds for 5k and 66minutes 11seconds for the half marathon, which can be seen here. I hope when you try this type of training it brings you consistency, longevity and personal bests.

Thank you for taking the time out of your day and spend time with me and my thoughts as you read this blog post.

You can also follow me on Instagram- @sean.fontana, Facebook – FontanaFit Personal Training or listen to my podcast, The Sean Fontana Podcast, on YouTube, Spotify, iTunes and Castbox.

You can also view my at home fitness videos to help you stay in shape during lockdown here on my YouTube Channel.

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Why do i run?

Sometimes during the week I like to self reflect when I have some time between working, growing a business, doing online university and training for a marathon… I’ve not even mentioned down time, spending time with the family, eating and sleeping. 


As I sit back and think why do I run even when it’s not going the way I wanted it to go for a while and I still stay disciplined during the midst of the storm. 🌩🌪⛈
There’s just something so pure and raw about putting my trainers on and checking in with the streets. Running and training for the marathon I feel is a great vehicle for self-explorarion. I use running as a tool for many facets in my life… the discipline to get out and run when it’s snowing, raining, blowing of gale force winds, freezing cold or hot as bloody balls. When sometimes you have all the excuses in the world to talk yourself out of putting your shoes on and getting the miles in, seeing how tough and resilient you really are. 


I use running as a tool to strip me down to who I really am and during the worst moments of pain and suffering out on the roads I am confronted by who I really am… you can’t bullshit your way through a 26 mile long run… you’re faced with the reality of who you really are and you’re forced to wrestle with that.


I know that might sound off putting to a lot of you but this is why I feel I can cope with all that life and business throws at me highs and lows, happiness and sadness, smooth and rough… shit is going to hit us all in the face that’s fact! But you have to find tools in your toolbox to cope through the hard times. A sport so simple as running has given me the tools that allows me to own my own headspace. No one owns my own headspace but me.


Do you own your headspace?

If you’re looking to enhance your running then why not hop over to my website and download a training plan that you can follow to give you motivation, structure and focus to your running and help you achieve your best self – Training Plans

✘ I N S T A G R A M: @sean.fontana

✘ W E B S I T E: https://fontanafit.co.uk

✘ F A C E B O O K: facebook.com/FontanaFitPersonalTraining

✘ YOUTUBE CHANNEL: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCevQvK0fa8Jf1He3GB9vSCg

📩 C O N T A C T (business inquiries): sean@fontanafit.co.uk

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Injury free running – Consistency is key

Hey Guys,


It’s been a while since I’ve got round to another blog post, apologies, I’ve deep dived into the world of YouTube, Sean Fontana YouTube Channel, and creating at home workout videos and podcast content on Spotify, Apple Podcast and Castbox, The Sean Fontana Podcast. Trying to recreate a different dimension to the FontanaFit brand as lockdown has been extremely tough for me being able to earn income due to the gyms getting closed during Covid. I fully understand why but it just means I need to think a bit more outside the box and develop the brand in different ways. One of my favourite quotes is “adapt or die.” When things pop up unexpectedly, I pause, go insular and plot my next move with logical rationale thinking. I work out my problems with logic and positivity as I feel this helps me personally lead to a better outcome.


There’s no doubt about it that 2020 has been rough on everyone in every business sector in some way shape or form… besides toilet roll!! Jokes. But all joking aside lockdown has taken its toll on us mentally, physically and emotionally. This built-up stress then leads us to become more emotional and somewhat on a negative downward spiral.
There’s a lot of research out there showing that if you stay in a high level of psychological stress for too long it can create negative long term physiological symptoms in the body. It creates a lot of undue inflammation in the body as your stress hormone, cortisol, not cortisone… that’s an anti-inflammatory steroid that a certain Mr. Lance Armstrong used for his, “Saddle sores” many moons ago. However, when we are in a high stress state for too long, we can become burnt-out, fatigued, exhausted, don’t want to get out of bed because ewe feel like we still need more hours of sleep, ill and/or injured.


As these inflammatory markers build when we’re stressed psychologically and we then also train and create more inflammation by breaking down muscle tissue from the physical aspect. We now have a lot going on. I feel this is where I’ve been going wrong in my training and life at the moment. Worrying about my finances, paying my mortgage, car and food etc. Plus, then going out and training hard to qualify for the Commonwealth Games marathon in 2022. All this stress both physiological and psychological have create a high influx of inflammation on the body, which has made 2020 one of my worst years of being prone to injuries. I feel I might not be coping with the external stressors as good as I thought. Maybe just maybe the whole psychosocial aspect has been getting a bit too much for my body.


However, I’ve done a lot of research on things that you can add to your daily routine that can help lower your body’s inflammatory response and decrease that added stress to keep you injury free and have your immune system healthy, they are –
1 – Turmeric – full of great properties that decrease bodies inflammation but also aid in enhanced immune system function.
2 – Omega 3s – Similar great effects like turmeric, however, for someone like me who has asthma. It can lower the risk of cardiovascular diseases and improve cardiovascular health.
3 – Drinking plenty of water – flushing out toxins and keeping body well hydrated will help decrease additional stress on muscles, heart and brain. When you become more dehydrated your blood becomes a little thicker making it harder for your heart to pump around the body, your brain will seem a little foggy and maybe have a sore head also. Before picking up some ibuprofen or paracetamol maybe reach for a bottle of water first and then maybe coffee… because who doesn’t love coffee! 


So, I’ve added Xendurance Joint-4 with the turmeric and the Xendurance Omega+D3 to help increase body’s immune system and decrease inflammatory response due to physical or psychological external stressors.


The body has definitely responded well to the products as I’m now slowly climbing back up to running 100+ miles per week as well as doing a few hours cross training on the bike to take the load off of my joints. 


I would totally recommend giving these two products a try to help boost immunity, especially during this current period, and also reducing inflammation to decrease likelihood of injuries or illnesses happening.

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The Importance of Easy Running

On the previous blog I spoke about the art of tempo running. In this blog I want to discuss the importance of easy/ recovery running.

Easy running is of high importance in a programme, why? Because for distance runners a large amount of your weekly mileage is going to be easy running to recover from intense workouts and prepare your body for the next intense session so you better believe it’s important to make sure you recover in between your intense days.

Easy running is said to be run anywhere in and around 60-75% (top end aerobic activity) of your V02max. However, if you don’t know your V02max values then the intensity should be done at a pace where you could hold a conversation with the person running beside you easily for the duration of the run.

What’s the purpose of an easy run?

• It helps your body recover from intense workouts by allowing fresh blood to be pumped around the body and clear metabolites built up from high-intensity exercise. 
• Easy running is a form of active recovery by actually initiating and aiding the physiological recovery process of the damaged muscles. 
• Promotes capillarization, promoting your bodies physiology to start to create new tiny blood vessels that branch into the respiring muscle to increase blood flow and oxygen to remove the build-up of H+ ions (lactic acid).
• Makes the heart muscle stronger by increasing the size of the heart chambers and increasing stroke volume (the amount of blood that is pumped around your body with one beat of the heart, the higher the stroke volume, the more blood pumped around your body in one beat).
• Decreases the risk of injury 
• Base building, especially after an injury or a long break from training to allow time on feet.
• Allow your body to work with fat stores – the lower the intensity of running your body will use it’s fat stores as the intensity rises from threshold running pace to interval pace your body starts to predominantly use glucose broken down from muscle glycogen.
• Easy running is less intense meaning that it’s a great way to clear the head if you’ve had a stressful day at work. Sometimes if you’re feeling stressed and you’ve got an intense interval workout planned, sometimes it’s actually better for your body and mind to go out for an easy run instead of placing more stressing demands on the physiological systems that could lead to injury or mental burnout.
• Enhanced slow-twitch muscle fibres – these fibres are great at economically using oxygen, have a great blood supply and have increased time to fatigue in comparison to fast-twitch muscle fibres. 


There are a whole host of benefits to easy/ recovery running. That’s why you see and hear a lot of Kenyan athletes go out for an easy run after hard training sessions to help them recover properly to be fresh for their next hard workout.

The amount of easy running will be based off of your current discipline, if you’re a 5k runner you won’t be doing as many easy running miles as a marathon runner. So the volume of easy running you do will be specific to you, what your coach sets you in your training programme, the time of year/season – if you’re looking to build a solid strong aerobic based you will be going through a high mileage phase with possibly a good amount of eay running and then when you get into race season and are looking to peak for your chosen race you will slowly taper off the volume and reduce those easy miles and lastly easy running volume will be determined bt how many miles you can handle in a week without your body breaking down.

A lot of athletes don’t appreciate the importance of easy running because they are slaves to their Garmin watch or want to be the Strava king but at the end of the day you want to train to compete well. So if you feel you’re maybe running your easy runs a bit too hard and feeling a little more tired than normal for your intense workout days why not slow down a little and enjoy the running a little more instead of looking at your mile or km pace every two minutes.

You may also want to ask yourself, “if my easy runs are quicker than a guy who has a quicker personal best than me are my easy runs actually easy?” Who knows slowing down might speed you up when it matters.

If you are looking for more tips and advice on your training then feel free to contact me at sean@fontanafit.co.uk and we can help get you into peak shape come race day.

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The Art of Tempo Running

We’ve heard and spoken of this phrase in running conversations time and time again “Tempo Running” but what really is tempo running?
A lot of people talk about it being your 10 miles personal best pace and doing it over a straight 6-mile segment or breaking the 6 miles down into smaller segments, for example, 2x3miles with 2mins rest or 3x2miles with 2mins rest between each rep. However, this is based on your 10-mile peak condition for a race that you may have tapered for and it is on an extremely flat fast course with good weather and no wind. Basing your tempo running pace off of that on a regular Tuesday night club tempo training workout is maybe not the most beneficial thing to do in a high volume non-tapered week don’t you think?

That’s why tempo running isn’t a set pace. Yup, you heard it… tempo running is not a set pace and the reason for that is let me create a scenario for you. If your 10 miles personal best is 60 mins, 6min mile pace/3.40km pace, on a flat fast course with no wind. On your regular training week, it’s blowing of Gail and you’re on a trail/grit surface that’s slightly undulating with rolling hills. To hit that 6min mile/3.40km pace you will have to work so much harder in certain sections to achieve the set pace, so ultimately you’re now working harder than tempo pace and that isn’t the purpose of the session.

Tempo running is a sweet science where at a certain heart rate intensity where you get tested in a lab on a treadmill. You’ll run at set paces on the treadmill for just 3mins at a time with 30s-60s recovery, whilst the lab guy takes a small sample of blood from your ear or finger, you’ll jump back on at a pace 1kmph faster than the previous 3min stage until the lab guy sees a spike in your blood lactate. Usually, there is a small 1st spike called aerobic threshold then the 2nd spike is where your lactic threshold is. Even though you may have been running at 16kmph on the treadmill when that happened it doesn’t mean 16kmph is your tempo pace. You look at your heart rate value, it may say 168bpm, that’s your sweet spot where you body buffers and accumulates lactic acid at the exact same time.

So even when you’re running up a slight incline or into a headwind if you’re sitting at the right heart rate intensity then you’re in the right physiological zone called tempo running, where you’re sitting at the correct intensity to help your body cope and work with lactic acid.

I would usually put a tempo workout into my athlete’s running plan once per week during a phase where there are no races on the calendar to build a strong aerobic foundation for a big peak come competition time. Tempo running allows the body to buffer and use lactic acid at the exact same time, which during distance races is extremely beneficial.

When tempo running as done at the correct intensity you will feel the great fitness benefits from it. Your race times and interval training workouts.

Examples of tempo running sessions –

• 4 miles straight tempo
• 3x10mins tempo with 90s recovery
• 5 miles straight tempo
• 6x1mile with 45s recovery at tempo HR

Hopefully, this helps you understand the science of tempo as nowadays athletes throw it around as a sub-maximal interval workout, which it isn’t it is an extremely important part of your training and one of the only training sessions that aren’t done off of pace but off heart rate for maximum benefits.

If you would like more guidance on your running and training then, by all means, you can contact me – sean@fontanafit.co.uk or you can view the online running coaching – https://fontanafit.co.uk/online-running-coaching/

Also, there are training programmes for runner’s and athletes who feel they don’t need a coach that I have developed here – https://fontanafit.co.uk/training-plans/

I have also started a podcast on how to stay focused during this tough time “The Sean Fontana Podcast” on Spotify podcast, iTunes podcast and Castbox.

Spotify – https://open.spotify.com/show/6sOWbG7fR64xOWwsqZezze?si=Akc4Nb3xQE-DZYBMBm6XTw

iTunes Podcast – https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/sean-fontana-podcast/id1509660461

Castbox – https://castbox.fm/va/2527085

Where I speak to Britain’s top athlete’s and talk about the highs and lows of professional athletics and the obstacles they’ve had to overcome to be at the top of their game to compete against the world’s best athletes.

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My Top 5 Tips for Runners Staying Motivated During Lockdown

Hey Guys,
This has become quite a popular topic over the last month with my clients, friends and family… how to stay motivated with your health and fitness during lockdown. However, during this uncertain tough time in our lives, we will all process what is happening in our own unique way. The worst thing to do is beat yourself up about it because think about it, you’re not the only one going through this. Everyone is… Well besides New Zealand and Australia because well their government bossed it and took the bull by the horns and didn’t want to sacrifice lives for their economy but enough of that chat.

Here are some of my top tips for runners who are struggling with motivation during this lockdown:-

My top 5 tips on how to refocus if you’re feeling deflated or de-motivated at the moment

1 – You have to ask yourself why you’re doing what you’re doing. Are you doing this because of races and competition (external motivation) or you doing this because you love putting your shoes on and getting out and getting after it (internal motivation❤). If you’re internally motivated then you will find a way to keep motivated and training and get a jump on your rivals and competitors who are flopped on the couch de-motivated as shit ?? who are going to get out of shape real quick ?‍♂️? Get that fire back in the belly to get back to the motherfucking grind??‍♂️❤

2 – Change up your training – Mix it up a bit. There are no races so why are you specializing at the moment. If you’re a marathon runner maybe do a bit of 10k work. If your a 1500m runner maybe go back to basics and do some hill sprints and get off the track. Freshen your mind and body up.

3 – Stay in routine – stay in routine as best as possible. Don’t wake up late and go to bed late ⏰ STAY IN ROUTINE ✅ Because this will create inconsistency in your training and mindset by maybe putting off training for another hour… then another hour and before you know it you’ve talked yourself out of training for the day?‍♂️?‍♂️

4 – Structure – You have to have a plan of what you’re going to do that day because we’ve all been there “I could do this… Oh I could do that instead… Oh wait I could do 8 miles… hmm maybe 6.” We’ve all been there when we are thinking about training and don’t have a plan and guess what it usually ends up by you getting overwhelmed by all your decisions that you end up doing nothing and beat yourself up about it. Then that mindset can become a vicious cycle. Why not have a plan or some structure to your week? Maybe you could try one of the online running plans that are suited to you here – https://fontanafit.co.uk/training-plans/ I’ve made these plans specifically for runners who are looking for a plan and structure to help them keep on track with their fitness and also stay injury-free at a cost-effective price.

5 – Watch, listen or read about athletes or people who inspire you – When I wake up some morning’s and don’t feel too motivated to run. I get a mug of strong coffee and sit down and watch athletes like Anthony Joshua, Eliud Kipchoge, Kevin Hart, Dwain “The Rock” Johnson or David Goggins. And listen to their story, their work ethic and how you have to push yourself to be great every single day, even when you don’t feel like it. People who I aspire to be like one day inject me with a bit more motivation to get out the door and get after it, plus the strong coffee helps too! Lol. I have also started a podcast on how to stay focused during this tough time “The Sean Fontana Podcast” on Spotify podcast, iTunes podcast and Castbox.

Spotify – https://open.spotify.com/show/6sOWbG7fR64xOWwsqZezze?si=Akc4Nb3xQE-DZYBMBm6XTw

iTunes Podcast – https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/sean-fontana-podcast/id1509660461

Castbox – https://castbox.fm/va/2527085

Where I speak to Britain’s top athlete’s and talk about the highs and lows of professional athletics and the obstacles they’ve had to overcome to be at the top of their game to compete against the world’s best athletes.

I want you to focus on the positives as best as you can during this hard time. We’re in this together guys, let’s not let it defeat us or our spirits.

I hope this helps you understand that it’s okay to lose focus, we all do at certain times. It’s about how we can quickly identify that and then use tactics or techniques to help our minds get back on track.

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My First Few Weeks of Marathon Training

Week one of the marathon block. This was where the sessions I was introduced to were quite a bit longer than my usual sessions. Usually my 10k sessions would last anywhere from 5-7miles of intensity not including warm up and cool down. Now my marathon work will last from 13 miles to 2hours of intensity not including the warn up and cool down. So consequently this was quite a big jump in volume, however, because the intensity wasn’t as high I actually coped with the programme quite well… for the first two weeks… then the volume started to slowly chip away at me, slowly I started to feel the aching legs, back, feet and muscles try and talk me out of doing sessions because they were so tired, I would try and justify it to myself too.

“There’s no point in doing a session if you can hardly run that well in the warm up! Don’t run the session, it won’t be fast enough. Do it tomorrow.”

There’s days when your body tells you the truth for your own good but there is days where your body will lie to you just to try and not put itself through another gruelling workout. I think the top athletes really know where that line is but for others looking to try and break into that top level sometimes we don’t know and allow our emotional state to cloud our logic.

The reason I’m writing this blog is to help people who are looking to do a marathon, wanting new ideas for training, or wanting to see the good, the bad, the ugly of a human being putting themselves through their first marathon block and the emotional rollercoaster that goes with it.

You see, from the outside eye people are their biggest PR’s and portraying their “best life” but that sort of shit doesn’t register in my head because I’m a very honest, too honest at times, person. My mouth gets me into trouble sometimes because I have this “I call bullshit!” Mentality. People only give you the good side or their best side, the same with athlete’s… they want to show you the best sessions, fastest runs… never the sessions where they had to dig deep just to run average times. Well I’m here to suffocate that bullshit and really let you in on what it was like day by day facing the marathon training. Here goes!

Phase one –

So my first marathon session was 2hrs total running with a warm up and cool down – 60mins steady/30mins quicker/15mins quicker/15mins quicker

Avg pace for each was 6min mile/5.50min mile/5.40min mile/5.30min mile.

It was tough being out there on my feet for that long having to elevate the pace each phase. It felt good to be able to hit the targets even though before the workout started I was a little nervous. But I got myself into a good rhythm and kept it rolling.

Next workout was 12x1km only a few days after the 2hr progression run. This was tough, my legs were aching from start to finish. I couldn’t hit the times and I was only to run 3m10s for the 1ks i was well off the pace running 3m15s-3m18s. I felt like chucking the session after only 4 reps in. I was feeling sorry for myself and was having a little pity party in my head…

“Fuck this… this is shit… I could run these times backwards before stepping up to this marathon shit. Now I’m getting heavy and slow. I’m moving back to the…”

And as this wee strop was going on in my head a funeral car passed by on the road with a long row of cars trailing and I felt like shit. I’m here having a little self entitled pitty party about my legs being tired and someone in that casket would give anything right now to feel the pain I was in and here’s me entitled and taking what I have for granted. I feel things happen for a reason and that was a sign sent to me to regain perspective and get the job done.

After a few days easy running, I was out on the canal doing 5x3miles at marathon goal pace, 5.20min mile, that was a big session. I stayed extremely patient with this one as this was the greatest amount of tempo work I’ve ever done and wanted to make sure I was good for the last two reps. I’m guessing patience is the key for the marathon so I made sure I stuck to the goal pace and no faster and with the warm up and cool down that was a total of 21 miles for the day.

After the adrenaline wore off by god I was tired and hobbling around the flat like an old man it was like I was 28 going on 80. It’s unbelievable that someone chasing all that fitness actually looks in real bad health at certain points in training. If you had seen me after marathon session days you would have been like, “Oh god that doesn’t seem good for you if you’re hobbling around like that!”

However, it’s amazing how you quickly forget about the pain and suffering after a good nights sleep and resume to do it all over again.

Phase one of the marathon block complete, now I’ve gotta rest recover and repeat… Onto phase two!

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Marathon Madness – The New Journey

“That’s 23 miles Geoff! You kidding me on!? The longest session I’ve done is only like 10 miles!”
This was mines and Geoff’s conversation as he sent through my first marathon training block. Looking back and thinking how am I going to get this done fills me with a bit of blind innocence and nostalgia as I didn’t know what the human physiology was truly capable of. I feel Eluid Kipchoge was right when he said the limits are only in the mind. My mind was limited towards thinking training for the 10k to the marathon wouldn’t be that much different, how wrong was I.

I was already hitting 100+ miles per week so people were telling me my mileage wouldn’t change that much and they were right! However, I interpreted that as I’ll be doing just the same intensity and volume based sessions as I’ve been doing. I was sadly slapped back to reality when my mileage didn’t differ too much but what happened was the volume of the sessions went up and the volume of my easy mileage to recovery between these mammoth sessions came down by 3 miles.

So this meant I was running more miles at marathon pace in comparison to when I was doing 10km work. How can I make this make sense, here goes….

So a typical week of 10k training I would train hard Tuesday, Friday and Sunday (uptempo in the long run)… so say we add up the intensity mileage I was running at over these 3 days added upto 20 miles of intensity and I was doing 100 miles per week 20% of my training was done in and around race pace. Now with the marathon training 35-40% of my mileage was at race pace out of the 100 mile week. Yes yes yes I know what you’re all thinking, yes the marathon pace is of lower intensity and yes that’s why I could do more of it but it was still bloody hard running 5min mile pace for 35-40% of your total mileage. On the flip side because my legs were so tired from the training I would run around 7.30min mole pace on recovery days, some days slower some days a little faster but on average 7.30 mile pace.

The reason I stepped up to the marathon is for a couple of reasons first one in all honesty was because I’ve not ran a personal best over the 1500m/5000m/10,000m in over 4 years now and I feel I may need a little change in stimulus and stop banging my head against the wall chasing times because it was making me extremely miserable and affected my emotional state and when I even think about it now it sometimes makes me feel quite worthless. However, the second reason was because Scottish Athletics my national governing body set up a system for athletes looking to one day venture into the marathon a platform to perform and be looked after in their vision to help a select group of Scottish athletes achieve the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games standard for the marathon.

I feel very grateful to be selected in that group and felt this would be a great opportunity to be apart of.

Third reason, I love running lots and training like a man possessed so I thought why not. People around me and my coach thought that I would one day become a great marathon runner and love the training for it because I like running lots of miles. Well I’m here to tell you training for the marathon is grim! There have days, weeks and months where I’ve been so tired I don’t want to get out of bed and run but know I have to; feet, muscles and lower back aching before during and after a massive session; doing training sessions on tired legs and feeling like you are in really shit shape followed by a run later that night that you just can’t wait to be done with or question why should I even go out at all.

The crazy thing is though, you get through it. It’s a bloody rollercoaster of a ride but you get through it. I’ve always taken myself back to why and basically the answer is because I love to run, I love to see myself get fitter and stronger each week, I love seeing what my body is capable of doing, I love the satisfaction of working so hard and going through so much suffering that one day my competition are going to feel the wrath, I love being different, I love challenging my demons in my head and beating their asses. People think this is easy but believe you me it’s not! Everyone has there own life’s battles and struggles. Too many are quick to judge and fire out comments here and there before knowing the full picture or story behind why someone is doing something. That’s the world we live in now but I say fuck it, let people talk.

The marathon training is now slowly starting to reduce in intensity and volume now as I head into the taper phase before the Valencia marathon on December 1st. It will be my first ever marathon. I’m totally focused, excited, scared, nervous, ready, anxious and every other emotion. But I know as soon as that gun goes it will all disappear and we let the chips fall where they may, let’s hope I’m quids in!

The next blog I do I will talk about my marathon training sessions to give you an insight to the training demands of training for the marathon. This may be good for anyone who is looking to run better in their next marathon or just some tips on how to mix up your training programme if you’re looking for some guidance.

Thank you for taking the time to read this, if you have any questions regarding my marathon training and want me to cover it in my next blog please comment below and I will do my best to answer the questions in the next blog.

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My Top 5 Tips to Preventing Getting a Cough or Cold This Winter

Just a little topic that I thought is really important to help with your health and fitness is keeping away from coughs, colds and viruses during these winter months coming in.

I want to give you some tips on what I do to stay healthy and try and avoid catching a cough or cold.

1. Make sure you get enough sleep

Sleep helps our body recover from training and a long day at the office however, it also helps the immune system stay strong as you are allowing your body at night to fully heal itself. The physiological benefits of sleep are amazing. This will help you be sharper and fresher to fight off those stubborn little gremlin cold and flu particles.

2. Hydration

Staying well hydrated will help flush toxins out of your body and also help promote blood flow and blood plasma volume (the yellow watery stuff that goes along with blood). Keeping hydrated helps your body to flush away any harmful chemicals and toxins that may hamper your immune system. Also good for the brain to be hydrated to maintain proper functioning.

3. Vitamins and minerals

I make sure I have a super healthy diet, lots of veggies and salad to get the right micronutrients in my body to boost immune system functions. However, sometimes even with a great diet, we may need a little top-up from multivitamins I use Berocca and Xendurance Immune Boost (https://www.xendurance.eu/products/extreme-immune-boost)these help me stay a little more topped up as I am working in the gym and training really hard also. I use Immune boost daily and when I start to feel myself get a little symptomatic I fire in Berocca as a vitamin C loader. Vitamin D is also very important to be supplementing with for maintaining a healthy immune system and as we live in the UK where at least 75% of people are vitamin D deficient (https://www.nutrition.org.uk/nutritioninthenews/new-reports/983-newvitamind.html) … If you want to buy anything from the Xendurance website then type FONTANA20 into the promo code section at your basket to get 20% off. A lot of my clients are loving the Xendurance range to stay healthy and perform at their best during their training sessions as these products have been backed by science and gold standard – double-blind studies to show the effectiveness of the product on boosting health and performance.

4. Wash your hands and have a little antibacterial gel

This is a biggie for me as I’m always touching weights at the gym and people cough, sweat and sneeze all over that stuff… yuck!! After seeing two clients I go to the toilet, wash my hands and apply the antibacterial gel on them just to try my best to not pick anything up. Also, I know this is a little harder for ladies but having your nails shorter helps with grime and germs not getting under your nails and then wiping your eyes, mouth or nose and the germs getting through that way. So I keep my nails short also as this is often overlooked.

5. TCP Gargle

Now, this is disgusting but it really does work. When I start to feel a tickle in the back of my throat I dilute some TCP with water and gargle it for 30 seconds two to three times per day also saltwater. After gargling with TCP brush your teeth and gargle some Listerine mouthwash to get rid of the nasty taste. TCP is an antiseptic solution that will help breakdown bacteria that may be accumulating at the back of your throat.

So these are my top five tips for staying healthy during the winter months on top of your daily nutrition and training.

I hope you enjoyed the read and if you have any questions just reply to the blog post and I’ll be happy to answer you.
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Font Romeu – Three Countries in One Day

Oh Andorra, you beautiful little gem. As one door closes another opens the saying goes. Meaning the track in Front Romeu is closed at the moment however, this opened the door to being able to explore other athletic tracks nearby. We went to Olot, in Spain last Tuesday but it was a little far. A five hour round trip isn’t exactly great for the back, so we opted for another track in Andorra, which was only 75 minutes away.

I started my day with my usual routine of two slices of toast one with peanut butter and other strawberry jam and two to three cups of strong coffee. Just to put a little oomph in my step. And my 3 Xendurance tablets. Finally, got myself ready and got in the car and embarked on our way to Andorra.

So we set off around 8am for our track session and it was a beautiful day already. The temperature was at its highest since we’ve been at altitude, 25 degrees and it was only 8am, so we knew we were in for a toasty one today.

“Can’t find the track on the sat nav.” Adam says

“Aw I see Andorra isn’t in France it’s in Spain, switch the country. ” I reply.

“Still can’t find it.” Adam and I are scratching our head.

“Oh, shit Andorra is a Country!” We both laughed. Every day is a school day.

A slight dumb and dumber moment.

Anyhow, about an hour later we cross the border and drive into something out of a Fast and Furious movie, Porsche’s everywhere, long winding roads cutting through beautiful Forrest mountains with houses that looked like favelas staggered up the mountains. But the town was busy but quaint, fresh but industrial. It had a weird Mexican/ Hispanic vibe to it where people were looking at two lost white boys looking for an athletics track. Kinda scary at first but I think the locals were just interested in helping us lost puppies find what we were looking for.

We got to the track and we were blown away by how quiet and how beautiful the setting was. The track nestled in the foot of the mountains and as we went to warm up we ran alongside a great little riverside and adjacent to that was a track surface, it was an 800m straight on the other side of the river. As a runner this is pretty kool, a small little town having a half-mile stretch of track surface for people to run, walk and cycle on. It was pretty amazing coming from two athletes. It’s sometimes these little things that really help you appreciate that certain towns or Countries appreciate an active lifestyle, Andorra definitely did enjoy their outdoor activities.

As we were about to start our session it must have been easily 35 degrees by now. There was no shade and lane 1 was super exposed, I made sure I had a lot of water with Xendurance Hydro-X and Maurten on stand by to keep me fueled and hydrated.

The session was 7×1200 with 400m jog recovery and as I neared rep 5 it must have now been 40 degrees, even the locals who were working at the side of the track were wiping sweat off of their heads and trying to offer us agua sin gas (still water) I politely declined as I was getting my head ready for the next rep.

I done my first 4 in racing flats and then popped the spikes on for the last 3 just to get the calves and feet used to the different forces and impact they put through the body gearing up for the British Championships 10,000m race. I’m still on the fence with the spikes and may opt to wear the Nike Vaporfly 5% as they provide more cushioning for my feet, Achilles and calves to be able to recover from the race properly and bounce back into training properly. The last time I wore spikes in a 10k it took me 7-8 days for the calf and Achilles pain and stiffness to subside.

As you can see from the photos Andorra is a beautiful little diamond in the middle of Spain, which is a country just like Andorra! Haha.

As we finished up we went to a proper little local restaurant and got some paella and more coffee because hey what’s life without coffee, when in Europe drink their coffee, it’s bloody good.

Oh and lastly as we were crossing back over the border we got pulled over by the Spanish/Andorra/French police. We did look like two con-men tweedle Dee and tweedle dum.

“Can you step out the car sir?” I out a question mark there because I think it correct grammar but I’m sure he was telling me and not asking because if I had said no, I’m sure I would be in a Spanish prison with my back against the wall right now.

“Yeah sure.” I replied.

“Have you any alcohol, drugs or narcotics sir?”

Well if I had said yes to that, maybe he was just looking for some goods for a party he was having that night.

“Nope, just athletics kit.”

“Do you mind if I search your bags?”

He didn’t wait for an answer the rude bastard just got tore in.

“Where are you going to? Do you have any money? Do you have cash?”

“Font Romeu, no and no”

“Okay, you can go.”

I thought why the hell was he asking for cash for? Was he trying to mug us and send us on his way? I don’t know, all I know is I thought it was pretty weird to ask if we had cash. But hey maybe you the reader will know why the Spanish border asks, I’m oblivious.

I hope you enjoyed my third 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 marathon 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.

For reading this blog I would like to offer you 20% off of my Xendurance supplements by going to – https://www.xendurance.eu and adding FONTANA20 to your coupon code. This is the brand I use to fuel my training because it is back by science and is fully WADA banned substance tested.