Saturday, April 12, 2014

Week #6: Into Marathon Pace

Week 6 of NightHawk training saw the commencement of Phase 2 operatons - moving into Marathon Pace (MP) territory and upping distances to a few 30Ks LSDs, both night and day.

The unique, but relatively far training location at Changi Beach saw a smaller turnout.  The whole place was full of activity, with difficulty in finding parking for a number of runners.  For many of the NightHawk participants, this was their first at the location, and everyone was just looking forward to the long Marathon Paced run in nice, cool weather.

By now, the majority of trainees have settled comfortably into their respective pace groupings and are familiar with their own group Pacers and members.  Briefings and photo taking take a lot less time, and we were heading towards Changi Beach and Coastal Road by 8:10pm.  

The NightHawks looked and ran very strongly for the first half of the long run, maintaining very steady paces along the 'mentally challenging' 7km Changi Coastal stretch.  With group running, the passage through this often difficult portion was made to feel shorter.

Before we even felt any fatigue creeping in, we were already on ECP and running along the stretch from NSRCC.  The Half Marathoners turned back at NSRCC for their 21km and managed well back along the dreaded Changi Coastal stretch, albeit with slightly more difficulty than the first half.  Still, the Marathon Pace(s) were maintained and the HMers finished in good form.

The FM groups went on to the 15km U-Turn, with Groups 1 & 2 running in slightly deeper before coming back for the 2nd half.  Hydration and fuel plans were seen to be put to good practice and most have not much difficulty maintaining their respective paces.

After 22km, fatigue started to creep in for some NightHawks, and when they entered back onto Changi Coastal stretch, they were stretched even more as some had to pull back on their paces, but still kept moving onwards.  On that front, the NightHawks did very well to sustain a slightly slower pace but still made their mileage in reasonably good form in 3-4hrs.  

There were valuable takeaways and lessons for the trainees on the effects of night running on their bodies, the extra efforts required to sustain the same pace in the night compared with daytime running, in-run recovery to complete the workload upon onset of fatigue/cramping, effects of nutrition and hydration on their performances, and maintaining running form after fatigue sets in.

It was a very fruitful and motivating session for most of the NightHawks, with many feeling the 'highs' of the run, hours after they have completed and rested.  This was the kind of buildup and progression we hope for our NightHawk participants.

As we move forward with a few more 20Ks (HM) and 30Ks (HM), we are confident of the NightHawks building a good foundation to hit their desired marathon goals at Sundown and even other races.

Here They Run, Oh NightHawks!  They Will Train, For Sundown!

Photos by NightHawk CK Chin