The second half of Ops Kookaburra and Ops NightHawk marathon programs started with the participants breaching the psychological 18km (HM) and 30km for the Full Marathoners (FM).
It was yet a humid night and ECP was buzzing with weekend activities with lots of merry making as well as cyclists, runners and walkers doing their fair share of healthy exercising.
The FatBird marathon trainees were all pumped up to do their longest run to date, and having the flattish route was meant to provide a more conducive environment for pace training and gauging of our pace sustainability.
Since we had done a similar route just 2 weekends ago, the briefing was kept short to allow for more time to cover the longer distances. With the faster marathon pace targets, the expected end of training would be just over 11pm, allowing ample time for the participants to catch public transport home.
The first half of the run went well with smooth pacing all the way to Gardens By The Bay, Marina Barrage, Marina Bay Sands, rounding off from the Promontory before making our way back to ECP again. The trusty trainers and pacers kept the trainees humming along steadily at target paces with planned water stops along the way to ensure that proper hydration protocols were observed.
The HM groups completed their 19km of night run at marathon pace back at Parkland Green in about 2 hours or so, giving their confidence and morale a strong boost. The FM groups did well too, with just a small water/banana break at Parkland Green before moving ahead in flocks to complete another 9-11km.
The air was humid and many of us were sweating buckets, with swishing sounds of wet socks in our running shoes echoing in the rather quiet and serene night. A few of the FMers experienced fatigue and symptoms of ‘low sugar’ after the 23-24km mark, evident that there were no top up of the fuel tanks with gels or sugar mixes.
It was another good experience with takeaways for practicing hydration and fuel plans for possibly the next few long runs of 28km-35km. Without proper replenishment of the depleting glycogen stores at timed intervals, the likelihood of eroding performance and inability to sustain pace will occur especially past the midway mark of the FM.
All Kookaburras and NightHawks completed the night’s targeted distances in good form and many happy faces could be seen sharing their stories and how strong they felt during the run.
As we dispersed for our wash-up and making our way home, the night had only begun for the patrons at the restaurants and cafes around the Parkland Green area. Yet another session of training was successfully completed, and most trainees achieving the set training targets of the night with a number surpassing their own expectations…Well Done Kookaburras & NightHawks!
The NightHawks and Kookaburras progressed into week #5 with a new route and challenge – transition from the BaseBuild pace into Marathon pace (which will set the tone from weeks 6-8).
This being another night conditioning long run made it even more challenging, although the route along ECP along Gardens By The Bay and MBS is overall pancake flat. The weather looked threatening 1 hour prior to the training, but a check with our weather app showed we had a good chance of avoiding the rain, which we did eventually.
In view of the long 17km-28km distance, we had a quick briefing before starting off by 7:50pm as planned. The respective group Trainers, Pacers and Trainees were all excited to test their paces along the new route, and also to put the night’s training objectives into practice.
The whole route from ECP into Gardens and then MBS was well lit to our pleasant surprise, allowing us smooth access along the route. The only hazard was the myriad of night cyclists dashing about which we had to be vigilant about.
The NightHawk trainers set very steady paces which prevented trainees from starting too fast in the first half, leaving room for a highly negative split in the second half of the run. Although the night was windy, there were stretches that were humid. It was good that most of the trainees had hydration with them as advised.
The Half Marathon trainees had a good run of 17km and met their targets of returning with a faster Marathon Pace after 8.5km of BaseBuild run. The Full Marathoners were good through to 18-22km before some found the Marathon Pace harder to sustain in the final 5-6km.
Still it was a good training run for all, with many trainees having gone their longest distances for the first time. From the funny way some were walking, it can be seen that the trainees were indeed stretched. From the smiling faces when asked, it could be seen that all of them were proud and happy that they completed the mission and have advanced to the next level of conditioning.
The NightHawks and Kookaburras will advance into Phase 2 (Marathon Pace) from weeks 6-8 with more night conditioning runs of 30km+. This will set the stage for bringing all into the final phase (Optimal Pace) in weeks 9-12 with a couple of 20km+ (HM) and 30km+ (FM) to ensure sufficient distance and pace conditioning for a fruitful race.