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
Operation Kingfisher, 8-week structured marathon training program for participants of Straits Times Run, Sydney, OSAKA and KL Marathons, got off to a smooth start in nice weather.
The group of Kingfisher trainees, many of whom are returning participants of past FatBird training programs who have done very well in recent races, were given a warm welcome and training briefing before launching into our first basebuild long run from Parkland Green, ECP.
The cool and windy weather made for very comfortable running, at least for the first 5-8km. The respective pace groups settled into their zones quickly and were soon interacting and chatting amongst themselves.
At the Fort Road U-Turn, the groups of Kingfishers clapped and encouraged one another as they passed, with high energy and spirits. The Basebuild Pace for the initial weeks will ensure all have a good chance to progressively and safely build up strength and speed for advancement into the Marathon and Optimal pace training in later weeks of the program.
There was a noticeable group composition this time around with many more trainees in Groups 1 and 2, and less Kingfishers in Groups 3 and 4 – an indication that many are setting their sights for better performances and timings, which bode well for the progress of the FatBird marathoners.
The HM Kingfishers turned back earlier for a 12km distance, while the FM moved on at steady paces towards Sailing Centre and then NSRCC, before turning back to Parkland Green for 21km.
The majority of trainees made it by the cutoff timing (a maximum allowable training time for each session to prevent over-training and injury resulting from excessive stresses), avoiding most of the sun’s heat.
It was a smooth kickoff session for all, thanks in part to the good weather as well as the dependable and experienced FatBird trainers and pacers which guided and provided encouragement to all Kingfisher trainees.
We advance into week 2 with another basebuild run, albeit with distances increased progressively, before upping the ante to marathon pace from weeks 3-5 with incremental distance coverage.
For those who are interested to join the program, we still have limited training slots available for 10km, Half Marathon and Full Marathon – Details & Registration for training can be found HERE!
Flight OKF015 Off To A Smooth Journey
Photos By FatBird Chin
Looking for a speed and strength training program that will help you best your Full Marathon, Half Marathon and 10k race timings at the upcoming Straits Times Run, Sydney and OSAKA Marathon races?
The Wait Is Over! Registration for Operation Kingfisher 2015 , 8-week PowerFLIGHTTM Structured Marathon training program to prepare runners for Q3 local and overseas marathon races (Sydney, OSAKA Marathons) OPENS!
This 8-Week structured training Program brings all together – an integration of the best for 10km, 21km and 42km training of speed, hills, trails with optimal race pacing.
Structured Half-Marathon Training System comprising:• 8-week Team FatBird PowerFLIGHT™ Half Marathon Training Program.• 8 Heart-Rate & Paced Long Run sessions.• 4-Weekday optional sessions & 1 weekend group run session weekly• Training runs led by experienced marathoners and pacers• Information and tips on Running Performance, Sports Nutrition, Managing Injuries.• Isotonic/Recovery Drinks/refreshments• A NB “OPERATION KINGFISHER” FINISHER singlet for trainees who meet minimum attendance requirements (4 weekend sessions attendance)• Equipping Discount on selected Partner products.• eCertificates/Awards of completion/achievement.
Training will begin on 26 July 2015 for successful applicants.
Click HERE for Training Dates/Schedules for your planning purposes.
** Training mainly start/end from East Coast Parkway, Labrador Park, SAFRA Mt. Faber & MacRitchie Reservoir Amenities Centre.
Click HERE for Frequently Asked Questions.
Please email to email@example.com for clarifications and enquiries.
Running A Marathon? Follow Our Pace & Ace Your Race!
Gold Coast Airport Marathon (GCAM) 2015Race Experience by FatBird Anthony
This was the 5th year that Team FatBird was appointed the Gold Coast Airport Marathon (GCAM) training partner (Singapore), and the 4th time I made a trip personally up to the beautiful Gold Coast area for the GCAM race. After a hiatus from the Full Marathon category (I last did it in 2011 and then did the 10km, HM in 2013 and HM in 2014), I decided to revisit the FM course to get more intimate with how the course runs and the specific organization details and community cheers and activities along the way.
After our 12-week Ops Kookaburra training to prepare runners for GCAM, along with a series of workshops, briefings and lead up runs, I joined the many FatBirds and Kookaburras to scoot off to Gold Coast in the newest Scoot Dreamliner on Thursday night – very modern systems and spacious to boot.
We arrived to Gold Coast on Friday and went immediately to the Race Expo for race pack collection, a little bit of shopping, before checking into our assigned Hotel Grand Chancellor just by the popular Surfers’ Paradise. A welcome cum carbo-loading seafood dinner awaited our tour participants as well as a number of Team Singapore who were not with the package. It was a nice load-up of good food in the company of friends and fellow marathon mates.
Saturday saw the 10km and 5.7km fun run and we had a number of runners who PB’ed the race in the usual great weather of Gold Coast. The rest of the runners spent some time on leisure activities and an early rest in preparation for the FM/HM the next morning. I too had an easy day, chatting with fellow runners about my experiences with GCAM and preparations for a good race.
Race morning was a collected calm for all of us as we were whisked to race site at South Port by the specially arranged coach from Scenic Travel. All runners were well prepared for the cooling weather, and it was great that the forecasted drizzle did not happen and the air was not as cold as last year.
We arrived to the Tourism Events Queensland tent when we gathered for some group photos before settling into the respective race pens according to our target timings. I lined up with Group 1 of our Kookaburra training mates, along with a few from Group 2 (Lily, Wendy, Raymond) at the 3:45h Pace Line. Our plan was to take it easier at first and move up when the opportunity arise.
The FM race flagged off on time without much fanfare in about 13-14C, very nice weather indeed for a long run. The crowd was thick initially but we took our time to just follow and move up accordingly. The first 10km had us moving up from 5:30min/km pace though to 5:15min/km pace (overtaking the 3:45h group) and then settling at about 5:05min/km pace. Some of the Kookaburras were at about 5:30min/km pace hoping to get their sub-4h marathon PB.
The 10km flew by and we progressed well into the next 10km, U-turning at the 15km mark at Burleigh Heads in the midst of loud cheers from the supporters and crowd. What was evident this year were the larger and more boisterous crowd support, providing runners with that much needed morale boost and motivation. We enjoyed the next 10km and maintained about 5:05h pace.
Drinks support was ample with alternate Endura isotonic and mineral water stops, proving the much needed hydration especially with the looming heat from the bright sunshine in our faces as we steadied along from 21km-31km. The sun was fierce and blazingly hot this year (compared with all other previous years I’ve participated in) giving quite a lot of runners heat cramps and early ‘walls’ to contend with. The ambulances were out in full force plying the course and attending to those who felt the full effects of the heat.
My pace dropped to about 5:09 but I could see Han Chee still maintaining strongly in front. I did a body sense and didn’t feel any niggles and was glad to sustain on till we reached back to the South Port start line at about 31km. The crowd there was just great, which gave us a boost to continue to run strong for the final 10-11km.
Passing South Port and entering the 32km mark was where the marathon actually began for this was both a physical and mental stretch, coupled with some slopes to test those tired legs. This year, the usually lonely stretch was full of supporters cheering, along with the announcer cheering us on, kudos to the race organizer for lifting the atmosphere here.
After passing the cheers, my pace dropped to about 5:20 at around the 34-35km mark as fatigue begin setting in. I braced myself to maintain my running form and focused on breathing right to feed sufficient oxygen to the tiring muscles. There were some minor twitches at various parts of the legs, causing me to slow down the pace and adding on electrolyte tabs. That allowed me to pass the mini bridges and onto the final stretch at 38km mark.
It was from here that cramps threatened, and I had to slow down even further and just hope that nothing huge happens. Justin who had passed me just earlier was also slowing down, seemingly from erupting cramps as well. Each time I tried to surge and increase pace, the cramps would threaten to erupt. So, I was just contend to pace it at around 5:35 all the way for a comfortable finish in 3hr40min flat.
The finish with the Grandstand Galleries on both sides always made us feel special, and provided that additional high for my raised arms as I cross the finish line. Kim, who did an awesome 3:29 PB was there to shake our hands and welcome us at the finish. I congratulated Justin on his 3:39h PB, and together we had some orange slices, water before collecting our finisher medals and tees. The finisher medal was large and nice, with a change to a rectangular shape this year.
En route to the TEQ Hospitality tent, I met a couple more runners from Singapore (Jing Jie 3:09h, Patrick 3:21h, Florian 3:23) who did very well, and invited them to join us for the SG50 Team Singapore Group Photo at the tent. There was a hive of activity and excitement at our Hospitality Tent with many of the Half Marathon and Full Marathon runners getting PBs and BQs, sharing their success stories and awesome experiences with GCAM.
We had the good fortune to spot Ryan Hall and his entourage where we requested for photos and autographs. More runners returned with great results, especially to Kookaburras Kim, Lily, Wendy, Raymond, Andrew, Bee Peng who all did very well with sub-4h marathons and massive PBs to boot. All were jubilant and busy taking photos, and at 12pm sharp, we had our official group photo taken with all Singapore runners joining in.
It was a great experience for all, even for a few who suffered heat cramps but yet managed to overcome to get in decent results. I will like to commend the GCAM organizers for putting up an excellent race and making value-added enhancements, worthy of her IAAF Gold Label status. In the words of the number of Singapore marathoners who did GCAM15, “We Will Be Back!”.
Run Kookaburra, Run Kookaburra, Our Race Has Turned To Gold!
Photo Contributions from Official GCAM, Alan Tan, Han Chee, Andrew Tan, Lily Tan