The warm and humid weather set the stage for the Kingfishers’ longest training run at Mt. Faber. Because of the weekend OCBC Cycle event which had service roads to Parkland Green closed, we had earlier shifted our training to the Western Hills region.
The turnout for this longest run was markedly smaller, but those who showed up were really going for it all with the very challenging route of undulating slopes along Mt. Faber vicinity and then loops of Labrador Park-Keppel Marina repeats.
The groups ran off by 7:10am due to the long distances we had planned. By the time we entered Labrador Park, all had sufficiently warmed up to tackle the 6km repeats. Since a number of Kingfishers were new to the Keppel Marina area, the first 2 loop repeats offered a sense of relaxation from the scenic beauty of the marina waters flanked by condominiums and sailboats.
Optimal Pace was maintained for about 15km before slightly slowing down due to the heat beating down because of the unshaded access routes. Still, the Kingfishers did their best to maintain good form and posture to stride through in good pace.
The Half Marathon Kingfishers took a short break after 2 loops before proceeding along Harbourfront back to SAFRA Clubhouse. The Full Marathoners gritted their teeth and continued on to complete another 1-2 loops worth of 6km repeats.
Optimal Pace gave way to Marathon Pace by the 20km mark as we were challenged by the blistering heat. Group 1 was able to continue on well with the front runners completing the full 4 loop course while a few others did 3-3.5 loop repeats.
Groups 2 and 3 did commendably well to complete at least 2.5-3 repeats in challenging heat conditions, before making way back to the end point for distances of 26-30km.
A couple of Kingfishers reported hitting the wall in the final 4-5km, indicative of the massive effort they put in to conquer the challenge at end. They recovered well after some rest and hydration, and completed the final km in good shape.
This was indeed one humongous challenge, made a lot tougher by the training area and route conditions. We were glad that all Kingfishers came back by the cutoff time, completing 21km-32km of long distance at Optimal Pace.
The regular cool-down stretching was conducted for the Half Marathon trainees and those that were back earlier, a great relief of all the pain and stresses of at least 2.5-3h time on our feet.
With the longest run completed to our satisfaction, the Kingfshers will be taken through the tapering phase with 19km and 28km pace training next weekend. Till then, we will surely be RICE-ing from this morning’s hard run in preparation for next week’s training.
The Kingfishers Have Completed Their Longest Challenge!
Photos by FatBird Onin
After 4 weeks of base building on road, trail and hills, the Kingfishers were in for a short but intense weekend #5 of hill intervals at the famous ‘Monster Hills’ segment that many have heard but not experienced.
A morning bout of dynamic activation drills warmup was conducted to wake those muscles and systems before we set off into the Northen Trail for 4km at Marathon Pace (MP). The crowd in the forest was not too thick in the morning, affording quite a smooth passage to our start point at the foot of the Ranger Station.
The respective groups were dispatched to do 3-5 sets of 2km rolling hills with rest intervals of 2-3min. The first 2 sets were executed strongly on ‘fresh’ legs but by the 3rd set, there were some walking as the hills took their toll on our legs.
Still, most of the Kingfishers, many who were experiencing this particular workout for the very first time, gamely kept to their prescribed Optimal Pace (OP) targets.
There were easily 5-6 upslopes in each set, a number which were of 45 degrees gradient, added to the burn of the legs and providing good challenges to the trainees in terms of keeping their form while sustaining steady paces.
It was evident in the faces of the Kingfishers that they were taking this training very seriously, with nary a smile while tackling the upslopes and concentrating on recovery on the downslopes, ever ready to meet the next upslope again with gumption and grit.
The sense of satisfaction could be seen in the trainees’ faces when they have finally completed their 3-5 set requirements, albeit drenched in perspiration caused by the rather humid morning weather.
After the Cruise Interval workout, there was still the 4km trail run back to MR Amenities Centre to wrap up the whole training menu. By then, all resources that remained in the tank were summoned to keep MP and maintain form.
A good round of cool down stretching was conducted by Kingfisher trainers to ease off those tired muscles after the hard workout, clearing the lactate wastes for the happy bunch of Kingfishers to round off a great workout session.
The Kingfishers Survived Monster Hills
Photos by FatBirds Meng Kiat & Onin
Operation Kingfisher Week 4’s long run was held at MacRitchie Reservoir (MR) Park for the trails and rolling hills package, which is one of the tougher challenges in the FatBird Training Operations.
The weather was rather humid and warm, but that did not deter the Kingfishers from breaking into the Northern Trails at Marathon Pace (MP). The 4km initial stretch of trail always give the runners a good jolt from the morning slumber and set the tone for the tougher challenge ahead.
The Kingfishers by now have a sufficiently good enough base to tackle the first 10km of the run no less, mostly running cautiously at prescribed pace, hoping to complete the full training distances of 17km (HM) and 28km (FM) in good form.
The Half Marathon (HM) Kingfishers turned at the OUTR/UPR main gate to return back along the slopes and hilly terrain of MR. Led by their experienced trainers, the Kingfishers were determined to get the morning’s workout goals checked to build up their confidence for the next 2 training sessions ahead.
The Full Marathoners (FM) proceeded on to do the second part of the menu, comprising of the famous rolling hills and aircond road inside Upper Peirce Reservoir (UPR). The slopes were useful to drive up the intensity and heart rates of the trainees, as well as allowing them to learn how to recover from each hill climb so as to sustain good paces throughout.
Groups 1-3 had a good time torching the slopes and in the process burned off their fair share of calories. As the run continued on, the heat from the sun added to the intensity and challenge, making the workout harder than ever.
The runners which survived the UPR onslaught were happy to coast along OUTR all the way to LPR, before hitting yet another round of slopes at SICC and Northern Trail. By then, the legs were weaker from the hard work earlier, and the glycogen tanks were running pretty low as well.
Completing the final 4km back along Northern Trail taxed the runners to the max, providing the much needed physical and mental stretch which will strengthen the Kingfishers’ marathon base. After this, trainees would find running on roads and more gentle slopes easier to conquer and ability to sustain higher speed at lower heart rates would be a reality for most.
All the Kingfishers completed the challenge within regulation time of 220min, and from their tired faces, we could see the the tinge of happiness and pride at completing such a challenging workout. This confidence will see them through in the upcoming weeks of training through to race day.
With the 17km and 30km long trails and hills menu done and dusted, the Kingfishers look forward to Week 5’s menu of cruise intervals at Monster Hill an Week 6’s longest distance run (21km, 35km) before entering the tapering and consolidation phase.
The Kingfishers Survived Week 4’s Trails & Hills Blaster!
Photos by FatBird Chin