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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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
After a good 21km and 30-35km in weeks Week 9 and 10, the NightHawks and Kookaburras went into Week 11 with a tryout at Optimal Pace for 18km and 28km.
The weather was warm and dry this morning, with some cloud cover in the first 10km of the run. All the trainees were happy that training is coming to a close soon, and that they have prepared well for their target races (Sundown & Gold Coast Marathons) on July 5-6.
By now, all the trainees are very familiar with training proceedings and most have built up a good base to sustain well for their targeted race distances – its now more of fine tuning their equipment, pacing and running form to get better race timings where possible.
Proudly donning their training and ‘finisher’ tops, the NightHawks and Kookaburras went into Optimal Pace on the get go, heading towards Fort Road. The Gatorade support stations were already set up for us to have cold isotonic replenishment when we past, with the trainees practicing picking drinks on the go.
When the respective pace groups headed towards Gardens By The Bay, the skies were still providing good cloud cover and that allowed us to run a tad faster than target pace. When we returned back into ECP and passing the Gatorade Support point again, we settled into a more manageable Optimal Pace.
A number of NightHawks who had a good 30km Optimal Pace LSD last week were finding the pace challenging this week, likely due to the lack of recovery from that hard effort last week taking a toll on the body.
Still, most of the runners were able to keep up with pace, albeit at more laborious effort. With the sun emerging from the 10km mark, the bar was raised as if to give the NightHawks and Kookaburras a final challenge to be even better prepared for race day.
The Half Marathon runners were glad they could turn at the Cable Ski area, while the Full Marathoners continued their steady paces towards F2 CarPark for that much needed Gatorade drink.
Groups 1-4 FM did well enough to maintain target pace all the way till the U-Turn point at NSRCC + 500m, with a couple of ‘speedsters’ picking up the pace to eventually overtake some of the pace groups in front.
Trainees found a new surge of energy after their tanks were refueled, pushing on all the way back to Parkland Green for 27km+. It was definitely a tougher workout this weekend, what with the increase in pace for some, as well as the warmer temperatures all round.
Still, mission was accomplished when all returned back by cutoff timing. The Kookaburras are now ready and looking forward to their Golden Race (GCAM2015) in 2 weeks, whilst the NightHawks will put in one final session of Night LSD next week to condition sufficiently for the Sundown Marathon.
The mood was positive and all trainers and trainees were pleased with the good weather we have had for all our training sessions, as well as the low incidents of any injury that may sabotage our race plans.
The NightHawks & Kookaburras Are Ready!
Photos by FatBirds Onin, Jayson
In Week #9’s training, the NightHawks and Kookaburras were tasked with their longest paced run (Marathon Pace) of 35km for the Full Marathoners and 21km for the Half Marathoners.
Because of the SEA Games that is currently happening, we made a swap of training locations with that of ECP/Gardens By The Bay to have our longest training run at the fringes of the 3 Reservoirs, starting off from MacRitchie Reservoir Park.
The turnout was subdued due in part to the opening ceremony of the SEA Games as well as the weekend’s Muar Marathon in Malaysia where we have a number of trainees and trainers participating.
The evening started well with the trainees coming in early to collect their coveted NightHawk/Kookaburra training tees which came in very nice colours and of very good quality from New Balance SG, apparel/shoe sponsor of Ops NightHawk. Some of the trainees put on their training tees immediately for the night’s long run.
After a quick briefing, we pushed off in respective pace groups along Thomson Road towards Peirce Reservoir Road. A string of blinking lights worn by the NightHawks and Kookaburras could be seen clearly, and were useful as guiding light for the following runners.
The night was cooler than last week’s at ECP/Gardens, due mainly to the heavily forested reservoir areas which gave off cooling gases. There were also mild drafts of wind which provided us with quite a refreshing run.
Instead of turning into Executive Golf Course and Seletar Reservoir, we headed straight on along Upper Thomson Road, Sembawang Road passing Nee Soon Camp. The FMers parted ways with the HMers at the Maindai Link/Yishun Ave 2 junction as that was the U-turn point for the HM runners for their 21km distance requirement.
The FMers continued along the rather long Mandai Road at steady paces on the rather comfortable running surfaces. It was a mild rolling terrain along that long stretch before we hit the large signboard at the entrance to the Mandai Zoo/Night Safari.
Groups 1-3 continued on till we reached the Zoo toilets for a total distance of 17.5km before taking a break at the toilet and drink fountain. There was hive of activity with tour buses and tourists coming out of the Night Safari after their mystic adventure with the night animals.
After a good water break, the groups headed back out to the signboard, With good timing banked in, some groups were able to spare some time to take a few candid group shots with the wild nature billboard and some funny animal poses.
With good execution of their individual fuel and hydration plan, the trainees were looking strong up to the 21km mark. Some of the runners even upped their paces slightly to attempt to run a negative split, in preparation for the next few training session’s Optimal Pace requirement.
As we ran as groups along the longish Mandai Road back, it was still pleasant as we had each other for motivation and encouragement. We did pick up a couple of straggling birds along the way, and with encouragement, they continued to push on till we hit the next milestone near Nee Soon Camp where they could get some iced-cold isotonic drinks from the small provision shop.
By the time we re-entered Old Upper Thomson Road, the spirits were high as we meandered along the quiet road and there were a number of sightings of the Wild Boar pack (about 15 animals) moving along the forest fringes.
The soft strides of the NightHawks and Kookaburras along the OUTR in the quiet of the night provided the tempo for us to keep to Marathon Pace and enjoy the remaining segment of the return route. Soon, we reached the Lower Perice Reservoir Toilet. A quick check of the distance told us we have completed 31km and we were still feeling rather strong.
With just 4km+ left to complete the night’s run, all were very motivated as we ran all the way back to MR Amenities Centre with chit chats and easy breathing. Although the legs were tired, which was understandable at that stage, we did not feel like they were broken and many of the runners could actually run another 10km for a complete FM should they be asked.
All the groups reached back to the end point before the stroke of midnight, feeling very happy and satisfied they had accomplished 30km-35km of running at MP.
We will be entering Optimal Pace training from next week with one more 30km run before going into the Tapering Phase. Those trainees who have missed the longest run in week #9 are encouraged to come for next week’s run to have better conditioning and preparedness for race day on July 5.
The NightHawks & Kookaburras Have Completed The Longest Run!
Photos By FatBird Chin and NightHawk Laura