Sunday, April 27, 2014

Weekend #8: The Longest Night Training

With just 8 weeks remaining to race night, The NightHawks were gathered at MacRitchie Reservoir park for the second time in the training program for a 21km and 32km Marathon Pace (MP) long run.

In view of the longer time to be spent on our feet, we started registration at 7:00pm and by 7:30pm, we were flagged off in our respective groups along Thomson Road.  Because of the Run350 race in which many of the NightHawks were participating, the crowd was a lot smaller and more manageable.

The Sundown Pacers and NightHawk Trainers were in force to lead their respective groups of trainees along the winding Old Upper Thomson Road, and then onto the long stretch of Sembawang and Mandai Roads.

The first half of the run went great for all the pace groups who were keeping close with one another till the U-turn point of the Half Marathoners at Mandai Rd/Yishun Ave junction.  The return for the HMers went just as well, at least till the 18km mark for the majority...a good showing indeed.

The Full Marathoners proceeded strongly and on target MP all the way to the junction leading into the Zoo.  After a brief 'technical' pause for the respective group members  to reconvene and have a refuel, the NightHawks made their way back along the route they came from, trying to maintain the target MP for as long as possible.

The humid weather, especially along the heavily vegetated OUTR and parts of UTR made it a lot more challenging to sustain the pace.  It was only along the straight Mandai Road stretch where there were mild winds, giving the NightHawks some reprieve.  By the 25km mark, the NightHawk FMers were feeling the effects of the weather and to some extent, the lack of hydration points along the way.

Group 1 dug deep to keep the whole group going at MP all the way back to MR Amenities Centre for 32km @ 5:40 average pace.  Groups 2 & 3 did well to sustain MP till 70-80% of the prescribed mileage requirements, with a portion of the members falling back to a slower but manageable pace, forcing in some recoveries in-run.  Groups 4A & 4B did well to complete as much mileage at MP given the 4hr training cut-off time.

Group 3 @ Mid Point - Credit FatBird Lorraine

All the runners completed their quests by 11:30pm.  Overall it was a challenging training run, complete with most of the tough conditions of night running - this will go a good way towards strengthening and conditioning of the NightHawks as we progress positively towards Sundown race night in 4 weeks' time.

Next weekend will see the NightHawks doing their longest run of 35km in the whole program, before we enter the Tapering phase.  At the same time, the ante will be up as we move into 'Optimal' Pace training, with the targeted average pace faster by 7sec/km in all pace groupings.  

This will provide our runners sufficient buffer to meet their Sundown Marathon targets even in the face of slowdown from the 32km mark due to fatigue or unforseen circumstances such as blockages and slower starts because of the crowd.

The NightHawks Are On Track For A Crack (at Marathon PBs)!

Photos from FatBird Chin