Sunday, May 25, 2014

Ops NightHawk 2014 Finale

After 11 weeks of progressive training, the NightHawks were gathered together for the final preparatory training at the Playground @ Big Splash, ECP.  Decked out in their race day apparel, the NightHawks looked smart and happy as they took group photos with their respective Pace Groups.

The line up was according to FM and HM starts, simulating race night.  The runners quickly settled into their respective paces along with the Pacers, putting their Optimal Pace plan into final practice.  The sun was up bright and early, and by 8am, the heat was beating down on the runners.

The NightHawks completed their respective training run in good form, albeit a little drained by the heat.  The short distances of 13km (HM) and 18km (FM) would ensure that the trainees do just sufficient mileage at optimal pace to enter into an easy final week, all primed for race day.

All the NightHawks looked strong at the end, with just a minimal number having a few niggles here and there - nothing which rest over the next few days would not resolve.  All were advised to have a good sleep with sufficient hydration for the final week, and just put in 2 more short tempos to keep the engines and sanity in check.

Confidence levels were high as we covered a few more points on race preparation, especially hydration and fuel plans, including some contingency plans to tackle a few challenging points of the route.

After the trainees were disbanded, the Sundown Pacers stayed on for another 45min of Pacer briefing on race night plans and contingencies.  The entire session ended by 11am with a couple of nice group photos of the Official Sundown Pacers.

It was a fulfilling 12 weeks of the NightHawk journey with more than 130 trainees and 60 Pacers and training crew.  Lots of friendships were forged and the camaraderie within the team and pace groups would surely see us through race night and beyond.  

We would like to thank all the NightHawk Pacers and crew for their dedication and professionalism during these 12 weeks with the NightHawks and the Sundown Lead Up Runners.  We look forward to the Sundown Pacers bringing many more NightHawks and runners across the finish of their dreams.

The NightHawks Are Ready For Sundown! Bring On The Night!

Facebook photos by NightHawks CK Chin, Meng Kiat

Monday, May 12, 2014

Week #10: The Taper Commences

The NightHawks and Sundown Pacers gathered at C4 ECP for Week #10 of training, which also signaled the start of Tapering phase.  After last weekend's longest run of 32-35km in the morning, the NightHawks were just glad to be doing shorter distances of 18km (HM) and 28km (FM) in the night LSD.

The NightHawks went down early to collect their training tees, which allowed us to start the run by 7:20pm, after briefings and group photos.  The routes and optimal paces were well studied in advance by the participants which minimized the briefing of details.

The start off towards Fort Road and back felt easy yet contained, in spite of the need to weave around the busy crowd along the walkway.  Although the run was a night one, the rather humid weather posed some challenges, especially in the second half of the run.

Led by the reliable Sundown Pacers who set very good Optimal paces, the NightHawks were focused in sustaining their targeted paces for as long as possible.  With the guidance of experienced Team FatBird Trainers and Pacers, the NightHawks learnt more about balancing their efforts with sustainable paces, as well as implementing some elements of good in-run fuel and hydration.

The stretch of ECP was real busy on this Saturday night, adding on to the challenge of the run -  we had to weave around the crowd at times, and also be exposed to the smoke from the BBQ pits and families with children hogging the running paths.  However, all the activities and merry-making added to the fun factor of the run as well as heightened the senses of our runners as we had to be extra alert to avoid any potential accidents.

The respective HM groups, running independently, did well to sustain the paces to complete 18km without stoppages and 'technical' halts.  That way, a race-day scenario could be put into practice with the runners having a good feel of race conditions.

The FM NightHawks completed their 28km distance with good effort, although some had to slow down the pace after 21km as the humidity and fatigue took their toll.  Still, the trainees were able to continue with the remaining distances at slightly slower pace, fulfilling the overall training objectives no less.

The motivation levels were high among all the NightHawk groups, with the majority able to keep within the group structure throughout the whole distances.  The feeling was good as runners completed the run in good targeted paces, yet with some reserves in the tank.

With some rest and re-conditioning, a number of NightHawks who were earlier nursing injuries and muscle tightness were coming back stronger with improved healing. With 3 weeks before race day, there would still be some window of opportunity for a full recovery and the possiblity of a good race for these few rehabilitated runners.

Because of the earlier start, we were able to complete the whole session by 11:15pm.  That would leave the runners with a full Sunday to rest and even throw in a short recovery run.  The majority of the NightHawks were satisfied with the night's training and most were smiling and looking happy, due in part to the effects of the pronounced endorphine levels.

With Week #10 in the bag, the NightHawks are looking forward to continue tapering with shorter distances but intensities maintained.  Next weekend will also see the distribution of the well-deserved NightHawk race singlet for those who have met qualifying criteria.

The NightHawks Are Looking Good For Race Night!

Facebook photos from FatBird CK Chin