Good weather was presented at the 3rd and final lead up training run for Sundown Marathon 2017. A good turnout of runners at the Marina Barrage start point, all eager to test out their target pace for race night.
The Official Sundown Marathon Pacers, decked in their race night luminous green tops, were on hand to lead the runners in their respective pace groupings of 2:00h, 2:15h, 2:30h for Half Marathoners (HM) and 4:00h, 4:30h, 5:00h, 5:30h, 6:00h for Full Marathoners (FM).
Sundown Organizer, HiVelocity, who organized this series of training runs, were on site with good hydration and banana support. After a quick briefing of the route and pace requirements, the runners were led through a 10-min dynamic warm up session by the Sundown Pace Leaders.
The lead up distances of 15km for HM and 25km for FM covered most of the race night routes, with the respective pace groups doing an Optimal Pace (OP) – a few seconds faster than Marathon Pace (MP) just to get in a small buffer for runners to cater for any unexpected circumstances on race night.
The run along the scenic portions of Marina Barrage, Gardens By The Bay, East Coast Parkway provided the runners with an enjoyable run, in spite of working hard to keep up to race pace. This was one of the last few opportunities before race night in 2 weeks’ time to test out their sustained pace, race gear and equipment, hydration and in-race nutrition plans.
The first half of the run was covered by all runners at OP with little issues, with a few highly-energetic runners running much faster than their pace groups. The return saw a slight slowdown in their paces when the runners were able to settle into a more realistic effort to complete the run in target timings.
The Sundown Pacers were providing encouragement and motivation to all the runners, keeping their spirits high with chit-chats and even playing of music to entertain their Pacees. With the route being quite straightforward, some runners ran at their own paces (in between pace groups) to finish well ahead of schedule.
All the Lead Up Runners returned with their Pacers by 9:00pm, 3 hours after flag-off of the first group. Iced-cold 100Plus and bananas were offered to reward all participants for a good workout and solid effort put in to sustain target paces till the finish.
The successful run was a fitting finale to the Lead Up Run series, thanks to the fine weather, good support from HiVelocity, and not forgetting the outstanding teamwork of the Sundown Pacers who ensured safety and pace management to deliver the training objectives of the runners.
The first half of the run was at Marathon Pace (MP) with the cue for moving into Optimal Pace (7s/km faster) in the second half of the distance to achieve a negative split. This was conditioning for the faster runners in each pace group to not only sustain MP, but move into a quicker OP to build confidence for race night.
The cool weather after the afternoon bout of showers provided a nice setting for the long run. It was choc-a-bloc when we hit the Marina Bay Sands segment, providing some challenges to our running groups trying to meander around the thick crowds.
Half of the trainees encountered dropping of pace after 20km of running, and had to pare down the aggressive OP to the more sustainable MP. Hydration and Fuel Plans were put to practice by the trainees, which allowed most of them to complete the 28-32km in fine form.
The Half Marathoners had it much better since they have already done 2-3 20km+ training runs at MP, as many completed their training run distance of 20km in target timings.
All groups returned by the 230min maximum time-on-feet exposure, with many trainees gaining confidence after having completed 2-3 30km+ training runs so far.
The NightHawks will now look forward to the Tapering Phase, starting next weekend, with the final Sundown lead up run at Marina Barrage. Although their mileage will be reduced, their training intensities remain for all the remaining long runs and weekday tempo and hills workouts.
Because of the heavy downpour the whole afternoon, the Sundown Marathon Lead Up Run was called off by the Sundown Organizer as the rain didn’t look like it would stop in time. The Pacers along with a handful of runners who showed up decided to do our own training run when the rain stopped by 5pm.
The weather was cool after the showers, and the enthusiastic Sundown Pacers don on their bright coloured singlets to test out their Marathon Pace for 19km (Half Marathon Pacers) and 30km (Full Marathon Pacers).
The route was quite clear all along the way to ECP, possibly due to the cancellation/postponement of activities and the Marina Run 5km and 10km due to bad weather. In spite of not having the lead up runners, the Pacers took their training and target pacing seriously as they would have to produce the same results on race night.
The first half of their respective distances to just before the Cable Ski (HM) and NSRCC (FM) was ran with steady target paces as the cool winds blew towards the runners moving as unified entities in their respective pace groupings.
The Pacers and runners also took the opportunity to test out their race night apparel, hydration and fuel plans, as well as timing devices and race equipment to suss out potential issues to be resolved before the important race.
On the return, we ran a 5km stretch along the Marina 21km participants and it was great to see fellow NightHawks and FatBirds racing well in such nice weather.
Our Sundown Pacer training ended very smoothly and on time at 9:45pm. Along the way, we paced and brought back a number of runners who were there for the lead up run, and shared some tips and advice on how they can prepare better for their Sundown Marathon.
We look forward to the 3rd and final Sundown Marathon Lead Up Run on March 11 evening, and this time we hope for great weather and good attendance for all Sundown participants to get their final timed trial and test run in before race night.
The NightHawks revisited MacRitchie Reservoir for their longest night run of 22km and 33km in Week #8 of the Sundown Marathon Training Program.
The weather was cool and slightly windy, great conditions for long distance training. The route was meant to be challenging with its fair share of rolling slopes and undulating terrain.
The NightHawk trainees and Pacers who just returned from their good performances at the Hong Kong and Taipei Marathons last weekend were tasked to do a recovery run instead of the full menu.
The respective pace groups, which by now are very familiar with the training objectives and requirements, went through their training with enthusiasm. The quiet of the night coupled with the flanking forest vegetation along the run route made for an enchanting journey of sorts for the NightHawks.
The Half Marathoners turned around the Yishun/Mandai Ave junction for a 22km @ Marathon Pace (MP). Many of them took the opportunity to test out their gels or fuel to help sustain MP for the return leg.
The Full Marathon groups went all the way to the Mandai Ave junction for a break at the Zoo Billboard – incidentally, it looked captivating and well lit after the refurbishing work done. The runners also took the opportunity to pop in gels and fuel replenishment at the point, before making their way back for the challenging second half.
A few of the FM runners felt the strain at around the 25km mark when fuel and hydration resources ran low after 2-3 hours of sustained running. That was also the test of their endurance and ability to sustain the pace, with their legs probably screaming from the lactic acid build up.
Breathing would also be more labored as the body is fatigued and trying to burn some fat, which require higher oxygen consumption. That is also the point when the tiring legs and poorer running form will cause a slow down in pace just for the body to catch up.
The HM and FM groups completed their tough training run within their targeted timing, and there were some good lessons that the trainees and pacers took away from the night’s training. The satisfied faces on the NightHawk’s faces did not accurately reflect the challenging workout that they overcame successfully.
Bananas and isotonic drinks were consumed with gusto, thanks to the support team’s logistics who have been instrumental in providing post-run replenishment for the NightHawks all these weeks, most times at odd hours of the day or night.
After a quick debrief and some tips on recovery from long runs, the NightHawks went in their separate ways, mostly in groups of 3-4, sharing tales and feelings of their longest night run to date.
This being the 15th day of the Lunar New Year and a weekend full of international races, the NightHawks who showed up for the important Week #7 longest run to date were definitely a committed flock.
The weather was dry, windy and cool, just the perfect conditions to check out their abilities to go for sustained Marathon Pace (MP) of 21km (Half Marathoners) and 30km (Full Marathoners).
The holiday and family crowd were out in full force this Chap Goh Mei (15th Day Of CNY) along our running routes of Tanjong Rhu up to end of East Coast Parkway. As the NightHawks were focused in maintaining even MP in their respective pace groupings, the holiday makers were engrossed in their revelry merry making on a cool, windy evening.
The NightHawks were also putting their hydration and nutrition plans through initial trials, with a few weeks left to race day to iron out any kinks and to make adjustments to their race night plans.
The first half of the distance was covered well within pace targets as expected. The Half Marathoners U-turned at the Food Centre to return back to Sports Hub able to sustain pace for most until the 18km mark, before feeling fatigue. Those who had electrolyte and gel replenishment had a better run sustaining MP all the way.
The Full Marathoners ran all the way to their mid point at NSRCC before turning back. Gels were taken at proposed 15km and 23km distance marks to help sustain pace. Still, fatigue began to tug at the FM NightHawks from the 25km mark onwards, providing a good challenge to their mental and physical abilities.
The entire flock did well to complete their respective target workouts at Marathon Pace by 10.30pm, just barely making the cutoff allocated. It was sweet success for some of the trainees who have prepared well for this longest training run, while others took away some valuable lessons on managing pace and conditioning of their running muscles to handle the challenges of the marathon.
With the wrap of this long run, next week will see the NightHawks going back to MacRitchie Reservoir to tackle an interesting yet exciting long run all the way to the Zoological Gardens fringes. All NightHawks to stay tuned and prepare well for that Enchanting Night adventure
The weather was cool after a bout of heavy afternoon showers, stopping just in time for our team’s long run. The eager NightHawk trainees and Sundown Marathon Pacers ran in their respective pace groups towards East Coast Park, rounding from the Sheare’s Bridge.
The first half of the 17km (Half Marathoners) and 29km (Full Marathoners) went smoothly with all the pace groups and their blinking red lights very apparent even from a distance away. The groups were pacing well and running in tight formation, very careful to pace themselves and not to expand their precious fuel too early in the game.
The HM groups turned back at C4 toilets to maintain MP all the way back to Sports Hub, whilst the FM groups proceeded onwards to Sailing Centre and NSRCC before turning back. There were quick water stops in between, as the NightHawks put their hydration and fuel plan into practice.
Although there were one or two runners who hit the wall at around the 20km+ mark (due mainly to lack of conditioning and glycogen stores running low), the majority of the NightHawks kept up with their target Marathon Pace to complete the long training run by 10.30pm.
After a quick replenishment of isotonic drinks and bananas, the NightHawks dispersed in groups, all very pleased that they have achieved Week #6’s training objectives without too much problems. A few NightHawks received tips and advice from their trainers and will put them into good use to be ready for the remaining 6 weeks of training.