After a few weeks of increasing distances, Week #7 of Flight OSB13 saw a slight dip in mileage for the FM to 28km yet retaining the same intensity – but it was by no means an easier run compared with the 30km last weekend, no thanks to the heat of the blazing sun coupled with high humidity.
We managed to push the run off by 7am by keeping the briefings and photo sessions short so that the runners have a good shot at completing the longer distances earlier.
The first 10km was pretty comfortable with paces slightly ahead of target race pace, mainly due to the ‘fresh legs’ effect. It was nice to see the Sunbirds sticking close to the Trainers & Pacers as they take a more conservative stance in the beginning, sticking to pace plan.
By the time the groups hit F2 Car Park, the sun was already high and mighty, beating relentlessly on the faces and backs of the runners.
Proper hydration was to be the order of the day in order to survive the heat. The Sunbirds definitely came prepared with hydration belts and systems, all ready to top up at the various water stops along ECP.
Once we went into Changi Coastal Rd, there would be a 6km stretch without water – and with the heat of the morning, it would be a challenge to sail through that stretch without ample hydration.
With the dependable trainers showing the way, it was a lot more bearable for the group to sustain the paces, although there were tendencies to stop whenever one did not have any company along the way.
Trainees were advised to cool themselves at the various toilet stops to prevent overheating, while others were told to hydrate and fuel up according to plans. Because of the good base of the Sunbirds and their commitment to complete the distances, all the groups managed to return ahead of training max time in spite of the challenging morning.
There were satisfied looks on those who eventually completed, with more than a few claiming that it was a lot tougher than the 30km they did in slightly better weather and with some shade.
It was a good experience for all, especially for the newer ones who were able to overcome their mental weaknesses to complete their respective runs in such challenging weather.
The reward was even sweeter when they received their bright Ops Sunbird training tee, which they could wear for future training sessions as a mark of their passing the mid-point of training. A number of ladies were seen posing with their new tops, all happy they came down and completed yet another fulfilling activity on a hot Sunday morning.
We were back to MacRitchie Reservoir (MR) Park after two consecutive weeks of hill runs at Mt. Faber. Because of races, the crowd at MR was a lot lighter, which made much room for the Sunbirds through the narrow trails.
A number of the Sunbirds were also at the races contributing to the smaller turnout at training. However, a few trainees have returned back to the fold after their races and rest in the earlier weeks. The briefing was kept short, focusing mainly on the respective routes, leaving more time for our final Basebuild run.
The stretch through the trails was cool all the way till we hit Lower Peirce Reservoir (LPR) Road. The 10K trainees turned back at the end of Northern Trails for a good 7km trail run, while the HM did a challenging 15km trails cum road. Most of the FM trainees (who did 22-25km eventually) were well equipped with some form of hydration and fuel, allowing them to push further into the Upper Peirce Reservoir (UPR) slopes.
The respective pace groups were running strongly together, braving the heat of the sun as they worked the rolling slopes of the UPR area. Groups Tango and Foxtrot were in cruise mode as they find the slopes a lot more manageable with a few weeks of base building under their belts.
The larger Group Bravo split into 2 sections as they made their way into the aircon route, tackling their requirements with tunnel vision, while Group Hotel was easing along the slopes in good shape as well.
The road back have as usual provided the mid-point challenge at the Venus slopes, but there was hardly any walking up this morning – the mental toughness of the Sunbirds have indeed improved alongside their physical strength endurance over the past few weeks.
The final 3.5km back into the Northern Trails was meant to draw on the reserves of the trainees to provide the push through the seemingly countless trail slopes – this segment provided a nice finale to the training as it challenged the runners to give that much more to overcome any mental or physical deficiencies that might have limited them in the past.
The Sunbirds passed with flying colours, although many felt the strain of the energy-sapping workout. They were sprawled around the wooden platform at MR Amenities recovering as they tuned in to the session debrief.
The trainers and pacers observed that most Sunbirds have made good progress, with quite a number getting into good shape with weight-loss of excesses, stronger strength and speed endurance, and more importantly, confidence and commitment to stretch themselves for the longer distances ahead. This will put us in good stead as we prepare for Pace training from next Week where all will put their strengthened endurance base for a quicker target marathon pace through to 30km.
It’s hard to beat a highly-motivated TEAM that never gives up
– The Sunbirds have overcome the challenging trails of MR
Dear Marathoner, The Japan Marathon Series is happy to bring to you the scenic marathon race of the Kumamoto Castle Marathon in Feb 2014. Be one of the few international participants from outside of this ancient city to be part of this special race. Only in its 3rd anniversary, it is expecting more than 13,000 marathoners, with ¼ of the city expecting to turn out in full force to cheer and support you in ‘warm & welcoming’ Japanese hospitality fashion.
The Kumamoto Marathon Experience
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The “Japan Marathon Series” is an exciting initiative by Team FatBird (a running group passionate about marathons) and Crest Travel (an experienced travel management company with good knowledge and passion for Japan) to encourage, facilitate and prepare Singaporeans to participate in marathons in Japan.
The “Japan Marathon Series” vision is to have regular Singaporean representation at marathons in all 47 prefectures in marathon-crazed Japan, and for these runners to share their experiences with the Singapore running community that there is a lot more in Japanese running than the well-known Tokyo, Kyoto, Kobe or Hokkaido Marathons.