Parkland Green @ ECP provided the base for a fitting finale to Ops Falcon, where we congregated at the newest training location we will be using for many of our upcoming Ops Nighthawk marathon training sessions as well.
The Falcons turned up for their finale tune-up and preparatory pace run on time and in high spirits. After going through their warm-up rituals individually, the groups got their tapering runs of 13km (HM) and 18km (FM) underway to cloudy skies.
Although the sun was blocked by the mild haze, the air was warm and humid, adding in a slight bit of challenge for the conditioned Falcons. Final tests of shoes, equipment and hydration/nutrition plans for race day were executed while maintaining optimal pace throughout the tapering distances mandated.
A few Falcons returning from injury and flu were also putting in runs according to their adjusted goals and paces – although they might not be in the best condition to fulfill their original objectives, these Falcons still hoped to do their bests for their respective revised targets.
It was smooth sailing for most of the groups who completed their requirement in good form. During the debrief, advice was dispensed to the Falcons who have had tightening muscles to do more stretching and myofascial massages to get their running muscles more supple and in shape for the race.
The 11 weeks of training have seen many Falcon trainees grown from strength to strength as well as being more matured in terms of handling their efforts and paces to meet their desired race outcomes.
It was a pleasure for Team FatBird trainers and pacers to have provided guidance to such a committed ad dedicated flock. We are confident that each and every Falcon will fly with confidence and pride come Sunday 29 March to achieve the best results their structured marathon training have positioned them to be.
The Falcons Are Poised For A 2XU Performance!
Photos from FatBird Chin
With less than a month to race day, The Falcons came into Week #9 to test out their race readiness after the past 8 weeks of base building and strengthening.
The Half Marathoners were taken through a pre-race warm up routine while the Full Marathoners went straight into their 29-35km long run at optimal pace (a couple of seconds/km faster than marathon race pace).
The Half Marathoners were flagged off together after their warm up to ready them for the trial. They immediately settled into optimal pace which was made more achievable after a good warm-up.
The first half of the run was well managed with most of the Falcons keeping to Optimal Pace under the skillful guidance of their trainers and pacers. The second half of the run was more challenging with the faster optimal pace as well as the sun’s heat beating down on the trainees.
A few had the opportunity to test out their refuel systems through energy gels and gummies which provided the energy required to sustain their PB pace through to the finish of the 21km distance.
Those who did not have sufficient fuel stores (either due to not having a sufficient breakfast meal or not replenishing with energy gels mid-run) slowed down after 13km as more effort was required to sustain optimal pace.
In spite of the challenges posed, quite a number of Falcons scored their Personal Bests for Half Marathon during this trial session, with one trainee beating her own PB by a massive 5min.
The Full Marathoners were very consistent with their pacing and were able to maintain pace for up to 29km, with about half of the trainees wanting to go up to 32km-35km. The trainers were game enough to run along with the determined trainees, allowing them to complete the objectives they set out to meet.
80% of the Falcons completed the trials and training by 10am, mostly with good timings to show – this will provide them with the confidence for a good race on March 29. With 2 more weeks of training left, there is still time and scope to tidy up loose strings and make adjustments for a better race effort and performance.
The Falcons flew with confidence this morning and are looking forward to their tapering from next week. Although the distance will be lowered progressively for better recovery and race readiness, the training and runs will be done at optimal pace intensity through to race day to ensure sustainable speed and muscle readiness for that PB effort.
The Falcons Flew High @ Optimal Pace Trials
Photos by FatBird Chin
In preparation for the move to Optimal Pace in 2 weeks, the Falcons were given a challenge of maintaining 4.5km loops at Marathon Pace less 10s with 1min-2min rests in between.
Given the ongoing Lunar New Year Celebrations, the group took an auspicious photo with the Goat, the Zodiac sign for 2015, for a nice kickoff to the second half of Ops Falcon training.
With the base built up in the first 6 weeks, it was evident that the Falcons were a lot stronger and more experienced with maintaining their target training paces, especially with the help of the ever-dependable Falcon Trainers & Pacers.
The first part of the menu was a 6km at Marathon Pace along the scenic Riverside till the ECP Bridge, each led by their respective group Pacers. The main course of the MP-10 intervals was served from the ECP Bridge looping back at the Marina Barrage slope for that ascending challenge before finishing back at the ECP Bridge for that quick rest for the next repeat.
Before the first lap was even midway through, the sun were beating down forcefully on the runners, creating an additional heat challenge which threatened the pace of the trainees.
The Half Marathoners did well to sustain the pace in spite of the heat, which will set the tone for their smooth progression to Optimal Pace training. The Full Marathoners did find the intervals along that sun-baked stretch mentally draining and physically sapping, with a number of groups eventually doing 3 laps.
Group 1 which comprise of the more experienced trainees did well to complete their task of 4 laps in spite of the tough challenge. Although the distance was a little short of the originally planned, the level of difficulty was more than ample to compensate for that minor shortfall in distance.
The 2.5km run back to Sports Hub felt a lot better as we reverted to Marathon Pace, plus the sense of satisfaction was heightened with the knowledge that the hard part of the workout was done and dusted.
With yet another challenging workout under their belts, the Falcons mental and physical strength endurance has moved up a notch, which will prepare them well for their upcoming hills challenge in Week #8.
The redcon status of the flock remains good and we are happy to know that the Falcons were able to sustain the workout variations being put to them with very positive attitudes and strong commitment for performance.
On a related note, a huge shout out to the Falcons (Justin Too, Ratty Liz) who did so very well with PBs at the Tokyo Marathon this morning.
The Falcons Are Flying High!
Facebook Photos By FatBird MK
Operation Falcon kicked off its next phase of training with Marathon Pace endurance run at a new location to boot, the Singapore Sports Hub.
The training route was familiar with some Falcons as they have been used quite often in major local races. This was the first time for any FatBird operations to use Sports Hub as a start/end point, and from the way things turned out, we should be using this new location for more of our marathon training runs.
Both the HMers and FMers covered the same first lap of 16km covering stretches of the Geylang PCN, Gardens By The Bay East, Marina Bay Sands and rounding back along the Promontory. The FMers covered another 14km with a smaller loop within the larger first lap.
Running conditions were conducive with the windy and cooling first half of the training as the respective pace groups maintained well their Marathon Paces. There were regular applause and shouts of encouragement which served to lift the spirits of the trainees each time.
The majority of the Falcons kept to very good Marathon Pace efforts under the guidance of their group trainers and pacers, maintaining very steady paces and good running form. As we progressed, the run became more challenging at the Promontory stretch when the sun came beating down on the Falcon’s backs.
Rising to meet the challenges, the Falcons were able to persist another 5-6km to finish the entire HM run in target paces and timings. The FMers did slow down a bit after 20km as the sun’s heat continued unabated, but the trainees pushed on to complete their 30km requirement to meet training objectives.
A few of the runners turned back slightly earlier and completed from 26-28km. A quick debrief of the session was followed by stretching exercises conducted by FatBirds Arnel and Jayson. The trainees followed through with the whole routine respectably well .
A second debrief was given followed by important advise on having a good dynamic warm up routine especially for HM races, as well as being mindful about our own body conditions and having regular check ups and not leaving anything to chances with regards to our health.
The FMers completed their training by 10am and were feasting on bananas and post-run drinks as we shared stories and lessons learnt from the training.
We will be back to the same location at Sports HuB next week for long distance intervals, something unique and effective for our purposes of having Falcons have a sustainable ‘speed’ for good results on race day.
The Falcons Get Onto Marathon Pace
Photos from FatBird Chin