A lead up run for the Gold Coast Airport Marathon (GCAM) 2014 was conducted for marathoners who have signed up for the Run Gold Coast Package as well as those who were keen to find out more about arrangements and preparations for GCAM.
Although we started from ECP, the eventual 15km route took the flock of Kookaburras through the serene Park Connectors, along the quiet Bedok neighborhood, into Bedok Town Park before reaching Bedok Reservoir Park for some great views of the Reservoir expanse.
We had good conversations getting to know GCAM-bound participants and answering questions about GCAM and Kookaburra’s 12-week marathon training program.
A number of runners and trainers from Team FatBird who had been to GCAM were on hand to share their experiences and offer advise on what to expect and prepare for this cool-climate marathon, so conducive for achieving Personal Bests and Boston Qualifiers.
The cool weather offered a glimpse of what to expect in terms of having better performance in cool-weather marathoning – most of the Lead Up participants were able to maintain a good pace and form throughout the whole run to enjoy the scenic route on a Saturday morning.
We completed the whole run by 9:30am with a mini Q&A session over post-run drinks and bananas. Many of the runners continued to stay on to discuss plans and readiness for Ops Kookuburra training, starting in mid April.
Overall, a great Saturday morning well spent with an enjoyable run and sharing information about marathon training and achieving personal bests at the GCAM.
After a week of break (although personal training continues), The Falcons returned highly charged to begin the next phase of training – Long Pace Runs for sustained speed endurance.
Considering the Lunar New Year week ahead, turnout was pretty good with strong representation in all pace groups for both HM and FM runners. Armed with 6 weeks of base-building, most of the trainees are entering this phase better prepared for the discipline and mental strength to keep to sustainable target Marathon Pace (MP).
The briefing was kept short for an early start, with all groups headed towards Cable Ski with one key training objective – to maintain MP for as long as possible in their prescribed distances of 17-18km (HM) and 28-30km (FM). Along the route, the FM trainees would have to tackle the mentally-draining Changi Coastal stretch as well.
The first half of the run was made easier with that immaculate cool, crisp weather of light winds. To better keep pace and to avoid speeding too much, the respective group runners were chatting with one another to alleviate boredom as well as keep one another in check.
After the U-turn, the sun came up, although the heat was not felt that badly as our backs were facing the sun by then. Hydration and fuel plans continued to be executed accordingly, with the Falcon trainers giving regular feedback and the constant reminders to stay the pace and maintain good running form.
When we returned back to C4 start point, it was just another 7km for full completion of the workout. Such routes passing along the start/end points but not yet completing the full prescribed distances always make it challenging, as there is a tendency to want to just end the run abruptly and join those who have already completed and are resting.
However, the mental resolve and commitment from the Falcons shone through as they grit their teeth to complete the final 7km, some even with a negative split coming in at the final 2-3km.
Training ended well on time, which allowed some time for trainers to share on the importance of recovery and to ease those tightening muscles and aches with regular foam-rolling, trigger-balling, stretching, and having regular sports massages to get deeper into the tissues.
As The Falcons departed fully satisfied with their completed workout, and looking forward to the New Year festivities, they were reminded of the upcoming hills training and the 2nd longest endurance run next weekend – yes, training continues in the midst of the New Year celebrations as we inch closer to the race date in early March. There’s nothing like good conditioning and preparedness to enable all Falcons to shine through in their final objective race.
The Falcons Have Paced Well, The Falcons Will Race Well!
Facebook photos HERE!
Week 5 of Ops Falcon saw more trainees return to training with high anticipation for a good strength endurance workout at one of the popular Hills Training areas, Mt. Faber Loops.
Many of the trainees have heard lots from their friends who have joined FatBird training at the hills before, and were all in for this visit to MF Hills (We just did the Labrador Hills 3 weeks ago). The briefing was kept brief, with a short recap of the hill running tips we have sent out, before setting off in groups towards the Morse Road ascent to MF.
The Falcon trainees, with their base of 4 weeks of training, did reasonably well to climb the initial slope at steady paces before settling into the ‘ACTION’ Zone. Groups 1-3 were given a final brief of the 1.6km hill repeat routine before being released into the moonlit night up slope.
The respective groups managed their paces rather well, and even new runners to this hill area had the foundation to tackle the 800m up stretch comfortably. Pointers were dispensed to the trainees on how to have good form managing the up slopes, as well as tackling the down slopes with care and safety by staying closer to the ground with increased turnover.
The 50min was well maxed by most of the Falcons, with many covering at least 2-3 repeats, and the stronger ones covering 4-5 repeats; then there were the few 2-3 who did 6 repeats at the tops of their game.
The atmosphere was one of contagious enthusiasm and good sense of satisfaction after the workout, with lots of chit-chat and sharing of experiences and tips among the various trainers and trainees alike. A group photo by the foot was captured of the achievements of all Falcons for good measure.
A 1.5km recovery run back to base was just so good for the mind as well as settling back to the comfortable zone. Overall a short, intense and highly beneficial workout for all at the MF hills. Our next PowerFLIGHT strength @ the hills will see us at another famous hill workout area in the region; something we are sure most would not want to miss.
The Falcons Went All The Way To The Top!
100 FatBird Runners & friends (out of 145 who signed up but didn’t show probably due to the late night party celebrations…haha) turned up to Run Hello to a brand New Year 2014. The cool and cloudy morning set the tone for a scenic 10-18km flight around the scenic Serangoon-Ponggol Marina.
After well wishes of “Happy New Year” by both ‘New’ & ‘Old’ birds, but not before customary Group Photos, the respective groups took off in the direction of Serangoon Park Connector. For many of the runners, both of whom lived nearby and faraway alike, this route was as New as the Year – they soaked in the atmosphere and surroundings with an air of festive mood, shouting out New Year greetings to one another as well as folks & families out exercising and running.
We were informed of a New Near race by Mileage happening at Ponggol Park, so the group was on the lookout in order not to choke off any access paths. The FatBirds, many geared up in red with the occasional New Year ‘mini’ hats and ornaments, were prancing and dancing to the rhythm of the flock along the calm and serene Serangoon River.
After 2.5km of riverside running, the flock gathered at the junction of Ponggol Park/Ponggol Promenade to watch the lead Mileage racers completing their races, sang some New Year tunes and took a couple more group photos. The stretch along Ponggol Promenade was decked with Mileage racers and we shouted out pleasantries and words of encouragement for many of the runners returning.
The next stop was at Sunrise Bridge overlooking the Ponggol Waterway – and of course, we could not pass up another nice photo opportunity. From the bridge, we could see Coney Island and the Ponggol Waterway in the horizon, making for quite a breathtaking sight.
From there, we crossed the large Red Bridge to the Lorong Halus side – and after someone suggested a visit to the Ponggol Dam, we made a beeline through muddy terrain to reach the bird sanctuary where all the photography enthusiasts and bird watchers were in position. We were amply rewarded with a few beautiful group photo backdrops before ‘flying’ by the road back to the Reservoir to rejoin the other party that was doing a shorter distance and resting at the Shelter.
After yet another series of Group Photos, we crossed over the Red Bridge with some jump shots (good fun especially done as a group after 11km of hard running) before proceeding back along the boardwalk passing by the restaurant row (ah, we had intended for a group photo there), but we guess the runners were just happy to head straight back to Heartland Mall to settle their growling tummies.
It is amazing how much fuel we burn via such fun and easy-going runs – we actually felt a lot hungrier when compared to doing harder runs (minus the start/stops/climbing/chit-chatting) which was just opportune to help us rid the festive food excesses.
The run concluded on a Happy note by 11am, with many of the runners happy they woke up early on a New Year holiday morning to join the FatBirds for yet another successful and happening Holiday Weekender Run.
It was a great start to the New Year 2014.
We wish all FatBird Runners and friends a Successful and Rewarding New Year ahead!
3 Cheers – Hip Hip Hooray!
Report Photos from FatBird Ronnie
Additional Facebook Photos from Francis Kayano, Tan Kim Lai, Melvin, Xing Su