After the 2-week break from participating at the Sundown Marathon, the Kookaburras were glad to be back for our final long run before tapering for the Gold Coast Airport Marathon (GCAM) on 6-7 July. It was quite a decent turnout considering that there were a couple of other short races happening in Singapore and across the Causeway. The Kookaburras were also happy to collect their training singlet tops to do trial and testing of gear and equipment they would be using down under.
This being Week 10 of the 12-Week program, we are already into Optimal Pace training – out to push the paces to see where we stand in terms of speed endurance for the long distance. The majority of us being in the Full Marathon category, the target distance for the morning was 32km at sustained race pace, a challenge that would not be for the faint heart-ed.
Fortunately for us, the morning was rather cool and a tad windy, albeit with a slight haze from the Sumatra fires. We made use of the nice weather to push a faster pace for the first 10km, extending to 14km and then 21km. The route along ECP was convenient as there were ample public water stops; and passing Checkpoint C4 allowed for quick isotonic drinks stops for the respective pace groups.
The first 21km was covered at better than Optimal Pace for many of the Kookaburras, giving us the confidence that we would be able to push the pace in the much cooler temperatures of Gold Coast. Most of us have recovered sufficiently from Sundown to be able to run hard, although some effects of the Night Marathon could still be felt. A few who have had earlier training runs/races on Saturday decided to just stop at 21km, happy with their ability to keep to target race pace for at least half of the full race distance.
The second loop of 9-11km to complete training requirements was one that tested the mental resolve and strength of the Kookaburras to sustain pace with their already tired legs and heavier cardio cycles. With their experiences gained from past marathons and group training workouts, most managed to find a “second wind” to push on and eventually completed the challenge.
The lessons and experiences learnt from all these long runs in areas of speed endurance, pace sustenance, hydration and nutrition plans,knowing our bodies and capabilities, including race strategies would be useful in getting us the desired results at GCAM.
With barely 3 weeks to race day, the Kookaburras will be tapering and making adaptations from all the weeks of long runs to build up a good form. There will be a pre-departure briefing for all GCAM-bound participants which will be useful for the many whom are going there for the first time. We are also going as a rather large contingent, making this trip and race one that many of us are looking forward with anticipation in terms of both the run and the fun we will share.
There is one final group training run before we set off for Gold Coast; one that we will officially be passed out as Operationally-Ready Kookaburras, donning our blue/yellow Kookaburra singlets with pride.