Friday, June 26, 2015

NightHawk training ends on high note

After 11 weeks of base building and pace training both night and day, the NightHawks were all happy and relaxed at this evening's finale session before their big marathon race next weekend.

The night was cool and breezy which made the shorter tapering run that much more enjoyable and invigorating for both body and soul.  

All the trainees ended the run in good Optimal Paces, and importantly were not feeling too stretched, which meant they could go on for a while more on race day when tackling their Sundown mission.

Trying out their NightHawk finisher tops with accompanying apparel and race day shoes, the trainees started off strongly towards Fort Road in their respective pace groups.  Most of the NightHawks were by now independent in terms of executing their own race and pace plan and are more than capable of being their own pacers for their target finishing times.

We ran into the headwind along the stretch towards F2 and Sailing Centre, which provided some resistance for a re-calibration of effort to maintain Optimal Pace.  Nobody really minded as the cool winds more than made up for the slight increase in forward lean, and helping to cool off the higher body heat generated with increased pace.

Some additional buffer was added to the tanks as the HM and FM groups U-turn at F2 and Sailing Centre respectively, serving as a confidence boost for the remaining distance back to the start point at Parkland Green.

All the NightHawks returned early and had some extra time to take some photos and share about race night plans and strategies.

With the whole Operation NightHawk locked and loaded, all that remains for the trainees are to have a good rest and proper nutrition in the coming week, and to have short runs at Optimal Paces to keep their race engines in prime condition.

Operation NightHawk 2015 - Mission Accomplished!

Photos by FatBird Chin

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Week #11: The NightHawks Are Ready!

After a good 21km and 30-35km in weeks Week 9 and 10, the NightHawks went into Week 11 with a tryout at Optimal Pace for 18km and 28km.

The weather was warm and dry this morning, with some cloud cover in the first 10km of the run.  All the trainees were happy that training is coming to a close soon, and that they have prepared well for their target races (Sundown & Gold Coast Marathons) on July 5-6.

By now, all the trainees are very familiar with training proceedings and most have built up a good base to sustain well for their targeted race distances - its now more of fine tuning their equipment, pacing and running form to get better race timings where possible.

Proudly donning their training and 'finisher' tops, the NightHawks went into Optimal Pace on the get go, heading towards Fort Road.  The Gatorade support stations were already set up for us to have cold isotonic replenishment when we past, with the trainees practicing picking drinks on the go.

When the respective pace groups headed towards Gardens By The Bay, the skies were still providing good cloud cover and that allowed us to run a tad faster than target pace.  When we returned back into ECP and passing the Gatorade Support point again, we settled into a more manageable Optimal Pace.

A number of NightHawks who had a good 30km Optimal Pace LSD last week were finding the pace challenging this week, likely due to the lack of recovery from that hard effort last week taking a toll on the body.

Still, most of the runners were able to keep up with pace, albeit at more laborious effort.  With the sun emerging from the 10km mark, the bar was raised as if to give the NightHawks a final challenge to be even better prepared for race day.

The Half Marathon runners were glad they could turn at the Cable Ski area, while the Full Marathoners continued their steady paces towards F2 CarPark for that much needed Gatorade drink.  

Groups 1-4 FM did well enough to maintain target pace all the way till the U-Turn point at NSRCC + 500m, with a couple of 'speedsters' picking up the pace to eventually overtake some of the pace groups in front.

Trainees found a new surge of energy after their tanks were refueled, pushing on all the way back to Parkland Green for 27km+.  It was definitely a tougher workout this weekend, what with the increase in pace for some, as well as the warmer temperatures all round.

Still, mission was accomplished when all returned back by cutoff timing.  The NightHawks will put in one final session of Night LSD next week to condition sufficiently for the Sundown Marathon.

The mood was positive and all trainers and trainees were pleased with the good weather we have had for all our training sessions, as well as the low incidents of any injury that may sabotage our race plans.

The NightHawks Are Ready!

Photos by FatBirds Onin, Jayson

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Week #10: Cool Morning Pace LSD

After a few weeks of night LSDs, the NightHawks had a wonderful 21km and 30km Optimal Paced Run this Sunday morning as we moved a notch up in terms of pace.  

The cool weather with a light drizzle provided all the motivation and confidence for all the various pace groups to hold the first half of the run at Marathon Pace before upping to Optimal Pace in the second half of the run.

A quick briefing followed by handing out of Gatorade wrist bands for our hydration support stations (thanks to Gatorade Singapore for the nice gesture of setting up two isotonic drinks stations for our NightHawk participants), and we headed off towards Fort Road/gardens By The Bay.

With the wind in our faces and the cooling weather upon us, the NightHawks were in high spirits as we maintained our Marathon Paces in groups.  We picked our drinks from the Gatorade aid stations as we pass with no break in momentum, a good practice for race day conditions.

The various pace groups cheered one another as we past, often providing a good source of motivation for all runners to sustain targeted training paces.  The light drizzle helped to cool off the runners and improved the running condition markedly to set the stage for a good run.

It was 9km when we passed Parkland Green (start point) and there was no stopping the NightHawks from maintaining their good paces with confidence as they headed towards the next aid station at F2 CarPark Shelter.  

The Half Marathoners turned back at PA Campsite to complete their 21km distance required back at Parkland Green, while the Full Marathoners proceeded on to NSRCC and up to Changi Coastal Rd traffic junction before turning back.

At the cue of the respective group trainers and pacers, the targeted paces were changed to Optimal Pace from the mid-point of the run.  The cool weather and group support allowed the NightHawks to maintain Optimal Pace for a negative split on the return leg, giving the trainees confidence of a good race in 3 weeks.

Hydration and Nutrition Plans were also put into practice by the trainees to good effect, and lessons learnt would be made to tweak the plans in the remaining training sessions in time for race day optimization.

The whole training ended ahead of schedule, with many NightHawks achieving their bests in the terms of distance and pace.  Many felt they still have reserves in their 'tanks' after covering 21km and 30km, a very good sign of pace management and fuel optimization.

With Week #10 successfully completed, Ops NightHawk will enter into the Tapering Phase (reduced distance but application of Optimal Pace) with two more weekend conditioning LSDs to be well ready for race night.

The NightHawks Are Poised For a Great Sundown