After weeks of training in cool weather conditions, the Sunbird trainees were given a rare treat of heat conditioning in this second last long run before race day on Dec 4. The bout of heat would be something that might crop up 3-4 hours into the marathon run, and it will be good that the SCMS trainees would not be caught off-guard should that situation arise.
With the good foundation built over the past 10 weeks, the Sunbirds came into the Tapering phase well prepared for the 18km (HM) and 28km (FM) at Optimal Pace. The sun’s heat midway through the run did cause some to dig in to clear their mental hurdles, especially when feeling a little dehydrated and experiencing some cardiac drift and increased heart rate caused by the warm temperatures.
A number of trainees, especially the FMers were feeling fatigue from the past weeks’ of long runs and races. It is good that the tapering phase has begun with 2 weeks to spare, allowing for some time to rest and recover in time for a good race.
The whole training run completed by 10:30am with iced-cold Gatorade drinks and bananas to replenish the drained runners. A quick check showed that most of the Sunbirds have reliefed their niggles and muscular tightness with Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation (R.I.C.E) routines now built into their post-run routines.
We now look forward to our final session of training next weekend at the Padang area, the finish point of the Standard Chartered Marathon Singapore (SCMS). It will be a full dress rehearsal of sorts for all the marathoners, with the opportunity to run on the closed roads of Shenton Way pass National Arts Gallery for a vision of a grand finish. With the short distance of just 13km (HM) and 18km (FM) at Optimal Pace, it will be the final preparatory run to close all gaps and fine-tune the paces.
It was fortunate that the weather was not too bad this Sunday morning, as the Sunbirds prepare to tackle their longest training run in preparation for SCMS due in 3 weeks. This was to be a gauge of the runners’ foundation and endurance abilities to complete 80-90% at Marathon Pace, and also for all to finalize their hydration and fuel plan.
To add an additional level of challenge, the FM trainees were required to navigate the 8km ‘Demoralizing’ Changi Coastal Road stretch. The difficulty level was further increased a notch up when the sun popped out along that demoralizing stretch.
The HM and 10k Sunbirds and Corporate trainees stayed along the more shady ECP stretch to complete their missions within target training objectives. Led by very experienced trainers and pacer from Team FatBird, the Corporate trainees have learnt and improved lots over these past 6 weeks of their joining the FatBird SCMS Corporate Training Program.
The HM Sunbirds did well to complete their 21km within target pace. During the debrief, it was reported that many of them have lost quite a lot of fats and inches around the waist, allowing for easier runs and faster timings than before joining the Sunbird program.
The FM Group 0.5 were first to turnaround from Changi Ferry Terminal toilet and hit ECP again after just running for 90min. With a weight loss of 4kg from an already thin frame, JY was running stronger than ever along with his training mate and mentor NH.
The respective FM groups completed their 33km-35km missions well within targets as well, with Groups 1, 2 and 3 all finishing strongly. The mental factor at the Demoralizing stretch of 16km to and fro did affect some of the trainees, but they picked up strongly once they came back to ECP.
With the successful completion of the longest training run, the Sunbirds will enter the tapering phase with decreased mileage without lowering intensity from next week. Feedback from the trainers indicate that those who showed up today are ready for the big race.
With diminished immunity from such a long and challenging workout, the Sunbirds were advised to rehydrate, refuel, rest and recover for the next few days to avoid getting sick or worse, coming down with injury due to tight muscles and sore joints. This ‘crucial’ period can often break a marathoners’ good preparations if he or she does not have sufficient rest and recovery from all the hard training done in the past few weeks.
Training completed at 11:30am, 4 hours after the the morning’s first runoff. The final groups were glad to have completed their longest run to iced-cold isotonic drinks and bananas, with patient trainers sharing their joys.
The Sunbirds Did Well In The Longest, Most Challenging Run
After putting on outstanding performances with many Personal Bests at last weekend’s Newton 21km and 32km Challenge, the Sunbirds returned back to SCMS training for their final month of training before the big race on Dec 4.
The Full Marathon Sunbirds were still feeling high from last week’s good run, and were pleased to hear that they should pare down their planned distance slightly to avoid risking injury as they have yet to recover fully.
The weather was once again very cool with cloudy skies without any rain at Parkland Green, ECP. The Full Marathon trainees were flagged off first as they had longer distances of 25km-32km to cover at Marathon Pace (MP).
The Half Marathoners and 10km trainees were taken through their pre-run routine with dynamic stretching and running drills by their trainers. As most of the HM and 10km groups did not participate at Newton Challenge, they were raring to run at Marathon Pace for their planned distances of 20km and 8km respectively.
The route took all the groups through Gardens Bay East and then Marina Barrage, before coming back to the ECP stretch for the remaining of their targeted distances. After the many weeks of base building with long runs, a marked improvement in the running form as well as the pace management could be observed by the trainers.
The 10km groups outdid themselves by running 9.5km due to the additional distance for them to reach the Gardens By The East water coolers for hydation and top ups. Which was a pleasant surprise for them to know they could maintain pace for nearly 10km, the actual race distance for them at SCMS.
The HM groups had a good time pacing along the sub-2:00h, 2:15h and 2:30h trainers for a smooth finish. Training objectives met with high confidence of doing a good HM race in 3 weeks.
The FM trainees looked very strong, although a few were feeling the effects of fatigue from last week’s 32km race and also increased mileage mid-week. Still, most were able to maintain MP through to 25km at least. The FM Sunbirds also took the opportunity to practice their hydration and refuel plan, under the guidance of their respective marathon trainers.
The whole training session was completed by 10:30am, with some spare time for a quick debrief on adaptive recovery and injury prevention. Overall, it was another enjoyable and fruitful session for all Sunbirds who turned up.
Reports of progressive weight loss have continued to come in strongly, with many making good losses as they advance towards their optimal racing weight. With just 3 weeks to race day, the FatBird trainers are quietly confident of a good performance from the Sunbird trainees. We look forward to next weekend’s longest training run before we move on to tapering mode in preparation for race day.
The Sunbirds Soared in Cool Winds!
Photos from FatBirds Rand, Chris
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This week’s program offered those who missed last week’s grueling training a taste of the Western Hills region, as well as allowed the marathoners who showed up last week to pare down to a more subdued routine this week.
However, the weather this time was the ‘killer’ app, providing the mainly Half and Full Marathoners with some good conditioning for the Dec SCMS race. It had been hot and humid these past few editions of the SCMS, and this year’s race might see heat and humidity posing challenges to participants again.
The first part of the training had the Sunbirds tackling the Mt. Faber Hills repeats, burning up more fats and glycogen with every climb of the 1.6km hill loop. Most of the Sunbirds were happy to run the hills again as they have seen quite good progress with their weight loss figures over the past 3 weeks of foundation building.
By the time we hit Labrador Park for the second part of the run, many of the trainees were already having growling tummies. The training had to go on. There were a few runners who had slightly low sugar levels in spite of coming prepared with a good breakfast.
The heat of Brother Sun spared no one as we ran into the scenic but open Keppel Marina area. More fuel and reserves were burnt. The Sunbirds’ foundation in just 3 weeks of training helped them sustain their target training paces to complete the Labrador Park sets reasonably well.
As if the glycogen and fat stores were not taxed sufficiently, the final 5km run back on a gradual rolling up-slope back to the Mt. Faber start point would have teased off any remaining reserves from the fuel tank. It was no wonder the Subway outlet at MF had a mini queue after our trainees returned.
In between mouthfuls of their 6-inch to foot long sandwiches, the Sunbirds listened attentively to the marathon training debrief given by their trainers. There were key points given in terms of their running form and posture, proper manner of carrying of hydration and also some techniques in terms of tackling hills.
With one third of the Sunbird structured marathon training program completed, a number of trainees were reporting better aerobic base, running form and quite importantly to many, loss of 2kg to 4kg of fat weight from their physical frames.
Of course, having a good marathon diet coupled with following closely our proven marathon running and training schedule will enhance the results of proper weight loss leading to optimal race weight.
A number of Sunbirds were recommended by their trainers for upgrades to the next pace group based on their consistent progress during training.
All these positive analytics have kept the Sunbird participants motivated to attend every training session rain or shine. They now look forward to the next third of training where we will progress on to enhanced volume and pace to hone their speed and strength endurance for their eventual marathon distance.
In spite of the looming dark clouds in the morning, the turnout was respectable. Great that the rainstorm did not materialize to disrupt training. The pre-training briefing touched on aspects of hills running techniques and maintaining good running form when faced with challenges of hilly terrain.
A number of Sunbird trainees were away to race the Berlin Marathon, while a few more will set off in 2 weeks time for Chicago Marathon. We wish them godspeed and trust that their marathon training with Team FatBird have prepared them well for Personal Bests and good timings.
The first part of the morning’s training menu saw the Sunbird trainees devouring the rolling hill at Labrador Park in a series of 2.2km Figure-Of-8 sets of continuous running at Basebuild pace. The cooler weather in the morning allowed the respective groups of runners to maintain prescribed training pace without any hitches.
The experienced FatBird trainers were deployed to each respective pace group to guide the trainees as well as to watch their running form and provide training advice. The hills challenge were meant to draw the reserves from the runners and to test their abilities to maintain good running form.
After the 3 loops for the Half Marathon runners and 5 loops for the Full Marathoners, the respective training groups proceeded to Mt. Faber hills for the second main menu item. A 1.6km hills repeat for 3-5 sets of continuous run at BaseBuild pace.
As the Sunbirds climbed up the 800m upslope along Mt. Faber slopes, they were reminded of the need to maintain an upright posture, eyes front (and not looking down), hips and waists not bent, and picking up the legs nicely from the back with a mid-foot landing on the balls of the feet. Breathing should be regulated to avoid over working and burning off precious glycogen too early.
By the 3rd lap, it could be seen that the glycogen stores were running low even with the faster groups. The trainers decided to cut 1-2 laps off the training requirement when we realized that we have achieved the plan distances. The Sunbirds welcome the good news with smiles on their faces.
The training was completed with all objectives met. A short debrief to provide feedback and comments to trainees ensued, before the session ended at 10:15am. Overall, it was a fruitful training session. The Sunbirds move into the quarter two of the training program next week with enhanced hills training and aerobic base building.
Whether you are preparing for marathon races (10km, Half Marathon, Marathon) or just wanting to do high fat loss aerobic based long running, you can look towards Team FatBird’s FlightZONES structured marathon training program to help you make it happen! Lose weight and race fast with Operation Sunbird 2016!
The morning downpour did not put a dampener to the determination and commitment of the Operation Sunbird trainees who were gearing up for week 2’s base building long run. A message was sent out from Team FatBird trainers that the training would go on as usual as the rain had abated by 6 am.
The original plan was to do some intensive trail running to condition and strengthen the running muscles of the Sunbirds. In the interest of safety, we modified the route to avoid the trails and instead added on an additional slope series to make up the distance and challenge.
The marathon trainees for SCMS welcomed the cool weather after the rain had stopped by 6:30 am. Everyone was charged up, including the dedicated team of FatBird trainers who were on hand to guide the trainees on how to build up an enviable endurance base for a good race in December. This 12-week Half Marathon and Full Marathon structured training has been very successful all these years. We welcomed a few ex-Sunbirds this morning who came back to sharpen their endurance base and race pace for that big SCMS race.
The respective Half Marathon groups of 2:00h, 2:15h and 2:30h and the Full Marathon teams of 3:30h, 4:00h, 4:30h, 5:00h, 5:30h took off from MacRitchie Amenities Centre after a short training briefing. Some tips on training at correct Heart Rate Zones and maintaining sustainable pace were dispensed. The use of proper running gear like hydration belts and running shoes that fit the profile of each individual was emphasized.
A number of trainees this round were beginners to structured marathon training like Ops Sunbird. They enjoyed the group running and training, with proper instructions and tips on how to prepare and plan for their target goal timings at the marathon. The experienced trainers in each pace groups chatted with the Sunbirds who were supposed to be running at conversational pace.
In spite of the minor detour due to construction works along Thomson Road, the Sunbird marathon trainees ran as unified groups led by their trainers into Upper Peirce Reservoir. They continued in good formation, watching out for fellow group running mates. All had no problems entering into Old Upper Thomson Road (OUTR) before the Half Marathon runners turned back to base for a 13km training run.
The Full Marathoners continued into the rolling hills of Lower Peirce Reservoir, a favourite training ground for many serious marathon runners. The air was cool and crisp as the greenery flanking the roads on both sides provided a serene calm from the hustle and bustle of the major roads.
Tackling the rolling hills was one of the major training highlights for the Marathon trainees. By the time they were done with the ‘meat’ of the morning’s session, many were drenched and digging deeper into their reserves for that 5km back to base.
The pace was very well maintained by all the groups, especially so with groups 1 through 3. A number of Sunbirds found sufficient energy left to run a negative split (timing fast on their return back).
The whole training was completed by 10:15am, which was well within the allocated training time. A debrief of the session was conducted to get feedback from both trainees and trainers.
The trainees were happy they completed the training without too much of a problem, and were encouraged by their much faster pace. Some Sunbirds expressed they never ran faster and feeling better before joining the Sunbird training sessions. The trainers were heartened to hear of the positive attitude of the Sunbird trainees. Of course, we know that there are many more benefits of training with organized groups which the Sunbirds will unravel in the upcoming weeks.
In week #3, we will be going to another new area for training – the hilly region of Mt. Faber. As some experienced running coaches rightly put in, “Hills are Speedwork In Disguise”. Speedwork from hills running is what we will be having as training objective next week. We look forward to having more trainees come for this session!
The Ops Sunbird Program is still available if you are looking to train the SCMS and other year end marathon races, or like some other trainees who are enrolled for the weight loss benefits they get from the aerobic endurance training. Lose weight and race fast with Operation Sunbird 2016!