Sunday, April 6, 2014

Week #5: Thrilled By The Hills In The Heat

The NightHawks went to the Western Hills region for a rigorous workout to build strength and speed endurance - and they were not disappointed.  In fact, we had the strong heat from one of the warmest days to  bear additional conditioning for the runners.

After the bout of showers the previous day, the ground was still a little damp when we gathered at SAFRA Mt. Faber Clubhouse.  As it was going to be a long day ahead, the briefing and group photos were kept brisk - before the respective pace groups started off towards Labrador Park for the main menu of hills repetitions.

The 3km run-in was an apt warm-up, serving as an appetizer to sweeten the ground for better things to come.  By the time we reached Labrador Park, the sun was warming up the area as the respective Pace Groups were briefed by their Pace Leaders on the training requirements and paces to maintain.

The first of the 2.2km figure-8 loop brought on some excitement to the NightHawks as they find the mix of flat and slopes a nice change to their usual straight road routines.  The groups kept close and there were lots of chatter and posing for the cameras going on.

As more of the laps were tackled, the mood turned serious and the NightHawks were focused on sustaining their paces and form in spite of tiring legs and heavier breathing.  The Half Marathoners had it slightly better then the Full Marathoners as they were only required to do shorter workouts in terms of time and distance.  

When the hour was up, the HM gathered at the spot marked 'X', cheered for the FM runners a little, before finishing back at the Clubhouse for a total of 18km.

Although the hills challenge was by no means easy, the NightHawks were full of zest and some even in jest as they found mental and physical strength to complete the main menu to training requirements, with group 1 exceeding expectations with an additional repetition.  

As we ran out from Labrador Park and along the undulating segment of Telok Blangah Road, the sun's rays were beating on our faces and heads - some of us were so drained by then that we had to slow down to catch a second wind.

The experience and recovery tactics of some of the NightHawks helped them pull through the uphill stretch of Telok Blangah Way to finally complete at Start Point again with 22km-26.5km.  

By the time we reached back, many of the NightHawks were already taking shelter in the airconditioned comfort of the Clubhouse while others were so hungry they were snacking on bananas (provided by us as recovery) and Subway sandwiches.

Some of the Groups dug deep to complete their 28km requirement with another mini loop down Henderson Road in spite of their tiredness - but all these training will not be in vain as it build resilience and strength in the face of difficult conditions.

With 5 weeks of BaseBuild completed, the NightHawks will embark on their next phase of training with longer 20K+ & 30K+ runs at Marathon Pace (MP) from Week #6.  

Armed with the new found strength and better running form, the NightHawks will be well placed to translate their foundation into sustainable paces over the longer distances.  The routes for the following few weeks will be tamer and flatter compared with the last few weeks', and that will also translate into speed endurance for the NightHawks.

The NightHawks Were Thrilled By The Hills

Photos by CK Chin, Meng Kiat