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.
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.
Week #5 of Ops NightHawk structured marathon training for Sundown Marathon saw the NightHawks hit their longest training run in the program. Coupled with an mid-run transition of pace from BaseBuild to Marathon Pace, the runners dug deep and came out strong to hit the sweet spots of their respective training targets.
Together with the Sundown Pacers, the NightHawks assembled very early in front of City Hall where the Car Free Sunday (CFS) was scheduled to start in 90 minutes. After a quick route briefing, the respective pace groups ran the first loop along the Kallang Riverside Point and back to Shenton Way for 14km.
The cloudy and windy morning provided a cool start to the NightHawks who were pacing themselves steadily along the rather new route to many of them. Looking a lot stronger with the few weeks of foundation building under their wings, the NightHawks and Pacers were aiming to hit target paces for the whole training distances of 19km (Half Marathon) and 30km (Full Marathon).
The front groups returned to Shenton Way at 8am, just in time to meld with the CFS runners who had just been flagged off. There were groups of cyclists and mobility scooters already plying the 5km CFS circuit that had been closed to allow the smooth and safe passage for the exercise enthusiasts who were out in force.
Isotonic drinks and mineral water were provided as the runners made their laps around the CFS circuit. The HM NightHawks completed their their second loop by 9am, for their longest distance challenge of 19km, with half of that done at Marathon Pace (MP).
The Full Marathoners went about their respective groups to complete 2-3 more CFS circuit loops to achieve their longest distances to date of 25km-30km, with half the distances ran at MP.
It was a good showing by all NightHawks and Sundown Pacers who ran very consistently and maintaining their targeted average paces. This was in spite of the GPS signals going all awry whenever we ran inside the City Centre full of tall buildings.
Even the threat from the zig-zagging cyclists (who often cut into our runners’ pathways) could not deny their determination to complete this all important long distance training run. The sun’s rays came beating down on us at 9am, which made the flock even more determined to complete the challenge and show that they meant serious business.
With very little stoppages and disruptions, the NightHawks completed the who training at 10.15am, well within the maximum allocated training time. More satisfying was the confident running form and relaxed manner of the runners even after having run more than 25km.
It is comforting to see the NightHawks finishing strong as we enter the festive season of Chinese New Year where there is a 1 week break from face-face training with their trainers. We are confident that they will return on 4 Feb with little loss to their aerobic base for week #6 of training at the Sports Hub.
Runners preparing for the Sundown Marathon and other marathon races (Tokyo, Hong Kong, Paris, Boston, Taipei) in 2017 are encouraged to sign up for NightHawk Marathon Training to benefit from structured group training led by qualified and experienced Team FatBird marathon trainers.