Twin Hills Repeats @ SCSM18 Training

Twin Hills Repeats @ SCSM18 Training

Weeks #8 and #9 of Operation Sunbird 2018 had the most challenging long run workouts yet as the Sunbirds enter into 19km (HM) and 30km (FM) distances at Marathon Pace (MP).

This week saw the final hills workout at the twin hills of Labrador Park and Mt. Faber Loops.  These hills repetitions are known to be the toughest in the whole Sunbird program, and definitely not for runners who have not built up a good foundation to be able to tackle the terrain at target Marathon Pace (MP).

Guidance from the trainers were given in the pre-workout briefing about the importance of starting conservatively and progressing into MP.  Hydration and Fueling plans were also important to be executed well to give the ability to sustain the hard workout, especially through the later part of the run (after 90min).

The Sunbirds first tackled 3-5 loops of the Labrador Park (Figure Of 8) course with good management of pace and running form.  It could be seen that the trainees were able to maintain their effort up the hills as well as when running on the flats.  More importantly, they were running with lighter footing and better form leading to more efficiency in their strides.

A check with the trainees revealed that most have lost anywhere from 2kg to 8kg of weight since the start of Ops Sunbird 8 weeks ago, which surely would enhance their VO2Max and running economy by some measure.

After Labrador Park Hills, the Sunbirds were guided on to their next hills repeats at the Mt. Faber loops.  That would require them to climb the rather elevated Morse Road before reaching the start point of the 1.6km (800m up, 800m down) hills loop course.

By then the sun was up in full force, adding an additional element of challenge to the workout.  The Sunbirds dutifully fulfilled their workout requirements, although not every trainee found it necessary to go for the maximum repeats.  That would be training smart.  As long at the training objective is met, there is not much point to push further once fatigue sets in and limits have been breached.

The Sunbird trainers did well to lead and guide the respective training groups to achieve their training targets.  All Sunbirds returned as per schedule by 10.30 am, looking visibly tired but very pleased with their efforts and conquering the infamous Twin-hills challenge.

As they prepare to enter Week #10 with the longest distance (21km and 35km) at MP next weekend, the Sunbirds are looking forward to this Simulator training which will be a race rehearsal of sorts.  Race gear, hydration and fuel plans will be executed per race day during this Simulator to ensure that all systems are checked.

There will still be a 2 week Tapering period where any adjustments and enhancements can be made from the feedback of the Simulator workouts and fine-tuned for optimal race day performance.

The Sunbirds Are Priming Well For A Solid SCSM18!

 


Operation Sunbird 2018 – 12-Weeks Structured Marathon Program

Are you looking for a proven results-oriented marathon training program to help you achieve your desired performance targets at your upcoming Key Marathon Race?

Team FatBird is happy to launch Operation Sunbird – our tried and tested 12-week FlightZONES structured training program to support your marathon training preparations for the Standard Chartered Singapore Marathon (SCSM) 2018 and other year end international marathons (Chicago, New York, Berlin, Seoul, ChunCheon, OSAKA).

Training Program details and registration HERE!

 

Team FatBird also has a Corporate Run & Marathon Training Program to prepare employees of companies and institutions for the Standard Chartered Marathon Singapore (SCMS).  Write to info@teamfatbird.com OR Check Out Program Details Here!

The New York City (NYC) Marathon 2018 – Race Report

The New York City (NYC) Marathon 2018 – Race Report

The New York City (NYC) Marathon 2018 – Race Report
By FatBird Anthony

 

The Start Of The New York City (NYC) Marathon Journey
I have never harbored the thought of doing the World Marathon Majors (WMM) – Berlin, Boston, Tokyo, New York, Chicago, London. It was only when I have completed the Boston Marathon in 2016 that planted the seed for my pursuit of this meaningful journey to accomplish the WMM 6-Star accolade. I applied fervently to ballot for the rest of the 5 since I had already completed Boston, but did not have much luck at the ballot (lottery).

My 3:18h Marathon at Gold Coast Marathon 2017 finally gave me the opportunity to qualify based on age-group timings for NY, Chicago, London. I applied for NYC Marathon and was elated to be given the race slot for 2018.

 

The Travel To New York City
The New York City Marathon is currently the World’s largest Marathon race with more than 50,000 marathoners from countries around the globe participating. It has a rich history and wonderful story of how the founder Fred Lebow started this magnificent marathon movement in NYC, culminating in this international acclaimed sports event.

I did not really prepare much for this race.  My plan was just to train with the FatBirds for SCSM and take the NYC Marathon as one to enjoy since it was billed to be the toughest of the 6 WMM races, and not one to go for Personal Best (PB) or good timing.

After having a good experience with Hosteling International (HI) in Boston 2018, I once again booked the HI NYC to enjoy the freedom and opportunity to meet international marathoners all in one place. I was not disappointed yet again, for I had a wonderful stay in NYC and got to travel about to all the sights by taking the Metro (Subway).

I enjoyed the EVA Air (Taiwan) flight with good meal and entertainment service on board. I arrived to JFK Airport after a 23-hour flight (18 flight time) on Thursday night without much sleep (I have problems with sleeping on flights).  By the time I checked into the Hostel, it was Friday 2 am.  I woke up early after a little shuteye and immediately went to the famous NYC Central Park for a 8 km shakeout run.

Central Park is a large and beautiful public expanse with many walking, running roads and trails at the centre of Manhattan to encourage active lifestyles for the people of New York City. It has lots of interesting places to visit. There is even a zoo within the Park. It’s that big. I would be back to run the Central Park for 3 more times – on race day when the NYC Marathon finished at Central Park and two more post-race recovery runs.

 

NYC Marathon Race Expo

I spent the rest of Friday in the NYC Race Expo at Jacob Javits Convention Centre. The race pack collection was quick and smooth.  They even had tee-shirt sizing before we selected our nice event tee when collecting our race bib. While not as busy as the Boston Marathon Race Expo, the NYC Marathon Race Expo is still large with lots of race day merchandise and products for sampling and purchase.

 

Pre-Race Saturday
I had an easy Saturday with some walking about at Times Square, World Trade Centre and the Brooklyn Bridge. The rest of the afternoon was centred on grocery shopping, hydrating and fueling up. I prepared my race armour and had an early night.

 

Race Day
It was the night before that I realized there was Daylight Savings which would require setting the clocks back by an hour, meaning we gained an extra hour of sleep?  I woke up very early at about 3 am. I took my time to have the first part of my breakfast, saving half for 7 am closer to my race start at 9:50 am.

Transport To Race Start
There were 2 options to the race start on Staten Island (the first Borough) – bus or ferry, both of which would have required me to wake up early at 4 am to reach on time. I picked the bus option and arrived at 6 am to the NY Public Library for a smooth boarding in quite a nice coach (compared with Boston’s school bus option).  During the ride to Staten Island, we were treated to some sight-seeing especially crossing the Bridge over to the Island. I had the second half of my breakfast during the 2-hour bus trip.

By the time we arrived at Staten Island, going through the security checks, and shooting straight for the lines at the Portaloo, I was left with just 30 min to start time. I was glad there was no long wait for me as earlier thought. The weather was looking great and dry, and if I were have to wait, it would be quite pleasant as well (unlike the dreadful weather conditions at this year’s Boston Marathon start line). I didn’t have time to do any warm-up and entered into the corral full of runners waiting anxiously for the start. There was nary any space to even do simple dynamic drills. In a way, I was going to race ‘cold’.

Start Corral
I was assigned to Wave 1 and Corral E based on the timing I submitted during race entry. Somehow, I ended up in Corral A with a lot of runners from other assigned Corrals as well. The Elites were just 50 metres in front. Then came time for the National Anthem, introduction of the Elite field, before the flag off with the song “new York, New York”.

The 5 Boroughs
The NYC Marathon prides itself as the largest marathon road race in the World. There were more than 53,000 participants this year, of which 52,000+ of them completed (a 99.4% success rate). The route starts off from Staten Island and runs along through all 5 Boroughs (Staten Island, Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, The Bronx).  The Boroughs are like small townships. each with a different and distinct flavour about them.

First 5km
The first km started off with a gradual ascent up the Verrazano Bridge, followed by a descent to cross over to Manhattan. My pace was rather slow for the first km, probably due to the uphill climb, but more so because of my body not warmed up.  My legs still felt cold and stiff.

The moment we entered Manhattan, the loud cheers started with the huge crowd of supporters, 3-5 rows deep. They were holding large posters and placards, shouting at the top of their voices, singing songs, clapping and even dancing. The atmosphere was electrifying, and the responses from the runners were spontaneous as well.

This loud cheering were to go on almost continuously as we transverse the 5 Boroughs, each Borough with their distinctive way of cheering. Almost immediately, we were to run through a few more rolling slopes, which often threw my momentum off especially with the large crowd of runners, some of them slowing to almost a walk on uphills and drinks stations.

This was the most crowded marathon race I have participated in, with runners almost shoulder to shoulder throughout most of the run (all the way till the end). After 3-4 km, I managed to settle into a 4:50 min/km pace.

10km Mark
After running for about 8km, it dawned on me there were lots of rolling slopes in this course – not very steep, but it does take a toll on you.  It drained off my energy gradually as I tackle each of them with limited energy resources.  Along the way, I could hear conversations from experienced runners that there were to be more surprises ahead.  I decided to play it safe and not push for any goal pace, but rather run by effort and feeling.

I took an electrolyte tab at the 15km mark as planned.  Although I did not feel thirsty, I continued to execute my hydration plan taking in small amounts of isotonic plus water at every hydration station.

I was enjoying the hearty support and cheers from the crowd, and soaked in the different sights of each neighbourhood.  I reached the 10km mark in about 49min.  A way off 3:25h pace, but very comfortable for a 3:30h finish.

HM Mark
Another feature of the course is the roads with its many metal plates and some potholes which we have to gingerly manoeuvre.  I was following the blue line, which ran close to many of these round covered holes.  I found myself side-stepping these ‘mini obstacles’ in addition to getting my way around the thick crowd of runners.

Time and distance seemed to pass quickly as I was soaking in the atmosphere and enjoying the cheers of the crowd.  I was feeling comfortable, watching my running form, and ensuring I did not kick any of the obstacles and fall.

I reached the HM mark in about 1h43min.

As per my fuel plan, I took in a Gu gel at the 22km mark.  I took in another electrolyte tab at the 25km mark and grabbed a Gu gel distributed at the 29km mark.

30km Mark
The hydration support were ample and generous, with Gatorade and water stations on both sides of the course every 2km of the way. However, because of the large crowd of runners, it often took me a longer time to reach to one of the volunteers holding out the cups. There were 2-3 stations where I missed the isotonic drinks because of someone taking too long to grab the drink.

More rolling hills ensued until we reached The Bronx. It seemed that the neighbourhood is smaller here and we had to take quite a few turns running about this Borough.

I was still feeling good at this point, with nothing acting up. I made sure to stick to my fuel plan to ensure I have sufficient energy to maintain a strong final 10 km.  I took my final electrolyte tab at the 20mile/32km mark.

Somewhere around the 36 km stretch, I saw the 3:25h Pacers running forward, in an apparent bid to make up for some lost time.

Final 5km (Central Park)
Then it was down to 5km as entered the beautiful rows of trees flanking both sides of Central Park. The crowds were huge here, shouting themselves coarse to encourage the runners along the final stretch of their race.  I consumed one more gel for the final push to the finish line.

It perked me up to run faster and aimed to chase the 3:25h Pacers down. All the runners around me were running strong, engaged in a mini race of sorts, not wanting to fall behind to anyone. We pushed and motivated one another to keep the pace, although many would be suffering from fatigue and pain at that point of the race.

The crowds just grew louder and louder as we neared the finish. With 2 km to go, I pushed the pace further and even raced a few runners through that stretch. I felt some tingle at my toes, but otherwise was not experiencing any onset of major cramps or hitting the wall.  Running conservatively in the earlier parts of the race have allowed me to save some for the last.

I don’t recall being overtaken by anyone in the final km.  I romped home to a strong finish in 3:28:06.  Not my Personal Best (PB) by some ways, but one of the more satisfying marathon completion I’ve had in years. I also Boston-Qualify (BQ) for 2020’s revised requirements with this timing by almost a 7 min buffer.

Collection of goodies
We continued our walk immediately after we crossed the finish line to collect our beautiful and well-earned finished medal. Photographers were on hand to capture the victorious moments.

A heat sheet was draped around the runners to keep us warm. As we continued our recovery walk, a nice goodie back of recovery products (Isotonic drinks, protein milk shake, protein bars, salted pretzels, apple) were distributed.

I immediately consumed the nice chocolate milk as I proceeded along the line to collect the post-race poncho (this specially designed and thick poncho are for those who chose not to have baggage deposit, and are meant to keep them arm since they have no change of dry clothes available on hand).  I was glad I took this option as the post-race poncho was think and very well made.

Long recovery walk back to Hostel

The weather was still sunny and nice as I took my recovery walk of about 2 km back to my Hostel. Along the way, many passer-bys congratulated me spontaneously upon seeing the finisher poncho.

It was quite a nice and warm gesture from all residents of New York City, who were so supportive and understanding of this major sporting event which has put New York City in the spotlight every year.

Next Day
I had little to no aches and delayed onset of muscle soreness (DOMS) after this race. This is one of the rare occasions I felt little soreness after a marathon.

I went for a 10 km recovery jog around beautiful Central Park and only stopped short because of the light showers that started. As I ran back to Hostel, I was grateful that the showers and thunderstorms did not happen on Sunday, but would only come after the race was over.

 

Post-Race Thoughts
Of the more than 30 marathon races I have participated in, the NYC Marathon is easily one of the best marathon race experiences I have encountered.

The myriad of rolling hills makes it both an interesting and worthy challenge to any marathoner.

The sheer number of runners participating will ensure that we need to be patient and tactical when finding space to run freely.

It has the loudest and most electrifying crowd support I have encountered, with cheers ringing throughout the entire 42.2km.

Running through all 5 Boroughs from Staten Island through to Manhattan was certainly an epic way to sight-see the main parts of New York City and experience the hospitality and warmth of her people for the sport of Marathoning.

Although I did not score any PB, I thoroughly enjoyed the whole NYC Marathon experience. I would encourage any serious runner or otherwise to run The NYC Marathon at least once.  If it was not such a long prohibiting trip for me, I would gladly return to run the NYC Marathon a few more times.

As I recall the race with fond memories, the following words along with the catchy tune are still humming in my mind:

“Start spreadin’ the news, I’m leavin’ today
I want to be a part of it
New York, New York
These marathon shoes, are longing to run
Right through the very heart of it
New York, New York”

Tempo Cruise Intervals @ SCSM18 Training

Tempo Cruise Intervals @ SCSM18 Training

Operation Sunbird 2018 has progressed into the 2nd half of the structured training program with long tempo/cruise intervals of 28-30km at Marathon Pace.

With the BaseBuild phase of building a firm foundation, the Sunbird trainees were able to hit the training targets of their long run progression with good results.

Hydration and nutrition pre-training, in-training and post-training are the emphasis at this stage to get their race day fueling plans tested and sorted out.

The Sunbirds went through 2 hard sessions of cruise intervals at 28km (Mt. Faber) and 30km (Sports Hub) at Marathon Pace over the past 2 weekends.  These sessions served as progression to develop their aerobic and speed endurance for the Half and Marathon distances.

The purpose of these long runs were to condition the runners for the heat and humidity, as well as to delay fatigue leading to the onset of cramping and ‘hitting the wall’.  With the successful completion of the past 2 long runs, albeit with thresholds being breached at some point of the later stages of the workouts, the Sunbirds have come away with better understanding of their pace and efforts to manage a sustainable speed to be able to complete a marathon without breaking down.

The Sunbird trainers have played an instrumental role in all these weeks to guide and advise the trainees on their training requirements as well and provide tips and experiences on how to overcome the many challenges faced by marathoners hoping to complete strong and compete for performance targets.

With 5 weeks remaining to SCSM race day, the Sunbirds will go into their longest runs yet in the program for another 2-3 weeks before entering the Tapering phase.  Optimal Pace running will also be injected into the training as the Sunbirds fulfil their requirements for good paced running at Marathon Pace for 70-80% of their marathon (Half/Full) distances.

All runners training for SCSM18, NYC Marathon, OSAKA, Kyoto, Seoul, Taipei Marathons, including those looking to manage their weight and get into racing weight and shape are encouraged to join our tried and tested marathon training program.

The Sunbirds Progress Into The Intensity Phase!

 


Operation Sunbird 2018 – 12-Weeks Structured Marathon Program

Are you looking for a proven results-oriented marathon training program to help you achieve your desired performance targets at your upcoming Key Marathon Race?

Team FatBird is happy to launch Operation Sunbird – our tried and tested 12-week FlightZONES structured training program to support your marathon training preparations for the Standard Chartered Singapore Marathon (SCSM) 2018 and other year end international marathons (Chicago, New York, Berlin, Seoul, ChunCheon, OSAKA).

Training Program details and registration HERE!

 

Team FatBird also has a Corporate Run & Marathon Training Program to prepare employees of companies and institutions for the Standard Chartered Marathon Singapore (SCMS).  Write to info@teamfatbird.com OR Check Out Program Details Here!

Marathon Pace Transition @ SCSM18 Training

Marathon Pace Transition @ SCSM18 Training

After a good 4 weeks of base building at Operation Sunbird 2018, Team FatBird‘s 12-week marathon training program for Standard Chartered Singapore Marathon (SCSM), The Sunbirds moved into week #5 with a lower-mileage week but with increased intensity to Marathon Pace.

Because of the wet weather and raindown islandwide, the scheduled long run trail workout at MacRitchie Reservoir was modified to go by the roads instead of the muddy trail terrain (to avoid any unwanted slippages and injuries).

As most of our Sunbird ladies were at the Great Eastern Women’s Run (GEWR), the turnout was trimmer but not in anyway less enthusiastic about the training.

Although the roads were wet and made for more difficult traction and grounding, the light drizzle provided excellent cooling weather to Sunbirds throughout the long run along the Reservoir enclaves.

There were little issues to the Sunbirds transition from a Basebuild Pace to a faster Marathon Pace for the 12km for HMers and 21km for FMers.  A number of the Group 4 trainees even extended their longest distances ran, although not without some niggling feedback in their legs after the workout – an important lesson on not going too fast on the volume/mileage without a good base being built.

The MR and Peirce Reservoir rolling hills provided good training stimulus to build leg strength, so essential for improving the Sunbird’s speed endurance for marathon races.

Training concluded at 10.30am with a very slight drizzle and a flock of happy and satisfied Sunbirds who were grateful they turned up for a fruitful and enjoyable workout.

As it were, we received great news of our Sunbirds scoring many Personal Bests and solid run timings at the GEWR later that morning.

We will welcome back the Sunbirds to Week #6 of training where we will breach the 30km distance with the aid of cruise/tempo intervals.

All runners training for SCSM18, NYC Marathon, OSAKA, Kyoto, Seoul, Taipei Marathons, including those looking to manage their weight and get into racing weight and shape are encouraged to join our tried and tested marathon training program.

The Sunbirds Transitioned To Marathon Pace With Ease!

 


Operation Sunbird 2018 – 12-Weeks Structured Marathon Program

Are you looking for a proven results-oriented marathon training program to help you achieve your desired performance targets at your upcoming Key Marathon Race?

Team FatBird is happy to launch Operation Sunbird – our tried and tested 12-week FlightZONES structured training program to support your marathon training preparations for the Standard Chartered Singapore Marathon (SCSM) 2018 and other year end international marathons (Chicago, New York, Berlin, Seoul, ChunCheon, OSAKA).

Training Program details and registration HERE!

 

Team FatBird also has a Corporate Run & Marathon Training Program to prepare employees of companies and institutions for the Standard Chartered Marathon Singapore (SCMS).  Write to info@teamfatbird.com OR Check Out Program Details Here!

Long Run Hills Repeats @ SCSM18 Training

Long Run Hills Repeats @ SCSM18 Training

In Week #3 of Operation Sunbird 2018, Team FatBird‘s 12-week marathon training program for Standard Chartered Singapore Marathon (SCSM), The Sunbirds were given a challenging and solid workout at the hilly Western slopes of Mt. Faber region.

After a good two weeks of foundation buildup, the Sunbirds were back with heightened enthusiasm.  Joined by some new trainees to the Nest, the hills of Mt. Faber provided a solid workout with a bout of hills repetitions sandwiched between 2 segments of BaseBuild Hills Run.

After a quick training brief with group photos, the Sunbirds set out in their respective pace groupings along the undulating slopes of Depot Rd, Alexandra Rd, Telok Blangah Rd and then up Morse Road to the start of the 1.6km Mt. Faber Loop for their 30min-60min of hills repeats.

The Sunbirds were taking measured paces to maintain proper running form up the MF Loop with sustained effort to the top, and then easing off into recovery with quick cadence for some downslope running.  The twin effects of building leg strength on the uphill and maintaining quick cadence for speed development on the downhill were executed according to the training objective.

The respective FatBird trainers of each grouping provided good on-ground guidance and advice to help the Sunbirds achieve their 2-5 hills repeats within the Zone 2-2.5 effort with no break in the train.

A rest interval was provided after the completion of the hills reps to gather all groups for a group photo, before descending the MF hill for the final segment of the workout – the long hills run of about 10km back to the SAFRA MF Clubhouse.

The rather sunny weather by 8am provided an additional 2 hours of conditioning for the Sunbirds, which will put them in good stead for marathons in the hot and humid climate of Singapore.

All in, the total distances of 13km-22km with lots of elevation provided a good training effect (of strength & speed development) for the Sunbirds who completed the training very strongly (not fully emptied out for sure).

A post-run static stretching and foam-rolling session was conducted to supplement the Sunbirds with good knowledge and tips on post-run training recovery and deep tissue release.

Training completed at 10.00am.  The Sunbirds then took the remainder of the morning out for some recovery walk (shopping) to take advantage of the New Balance discount to equip with the proper shoes for marathon training and race day use.

In Week #4, the final week of foundation and base-building, The Sunbirds will return to The Sports Hub for long run in a flatter terrain to get ready to kick into Phase 2 of marathon development – Transitioning into Marathon Pace (MP) Running.

In addition to those training for SCSM18, NYC Marathon, OSAKA, Kyoto, Seoul, Taipei Marathons, we also had runners who joined us in a bid to manage their weight and get into racing weight and shape.  We welcome more runners irrespective your your goals to join our tried and tested marathon training program.

The Sunbirds Ate The MF Hills For Breakfast!

 


Operation Sunbird 2018 – 12-Weeks Structured Marathon Program

Are you looking for a proven results-oriented marathon training program to help you achieve your desired performance targets at your upcoming Key Marathon Race?

Team FatBird is happy to launch Operation Sunbird – our tried and tested 12-week FlightZONES structured training program to support your marathon training preparations for the Standard Chartered Singapore Marathon (SCSM) 2018 and other year end international marathons (Chicago, New York, Berlin, Seoul, ChunCheon, OSAKA).

Training Program details and registration HERE!

 

Team FatBird also has a Corporate Run & Marathon Training Program to prepare employees of companies and institutions for the Standard Chartered Marathon Singapore (SCMS).  Write to info@teamfatbird.com OR Check Out Program Details Here!