The Kookaburras were all psyched up and prepared for the longest run @ marathon pace of the 12-week training program. In what was typically one of the hottest months in Singapore, and that being played out in the few days before the run, the rains came early Saturday morning and lasted till the time we kicked off our long 30-35km LSD.
The cool air and cloudy skies set the stage for us to attempt more aggressive pace stances and we used that to our advantage as a means to estimate how well we can manage in the cooler, albeit drier conditions of the Gold Coast Airport Marathon (GCAM). The entire ECP and Changi Coastal stretch was scant of human traffic, leaving us with all the space and access to go for target marathon pace.
The handful of Kookaburras who showed up ran strong throughout, with nary a walk-break, and executing their race and fuel plans to a tee. When the individuals reached their thresholds, they were able to ease off a little to get that second wind for the romp home. Although the legs were getting tired after 25km, the cardio and energy reserves were still holding out well for that sustainable pace to 31km (for a final Gatorade/banana top-up) before extending to 35km.
In the midst of all the zoned-in runners having a great time, we had a dog out on his morning exercise, that decided to follow our sub-4hr Kookaburras. We initially thought that he would be off after 1-2km, but no, he paced the group very steadily, pausing and waiting at water breaks, always staying about a meter behind the last pacer in the group – eventually, he went all of 20km with the group before settling back to where he originally joined us…somewhere near the PA campsite.
All the groups of 4:00h, 4:30h, 5:00h and 5:30h timings came back with smiles over their sustainable marathon pace or better, giving them a solid boost in confidence for a good race in 3 weeks. Because of the great weather, we were still feeling rather fresh after 30km of hard running, with a few of us feeling like we could go for more. However, we correctly stuck with the training advice to stay within the prescribed mileage and intensity, and trust our more established foundation to bring us through to 42km on July 1.
With the longest LSD completed, the Kookaburras will be starting their tapering from next week (Week #10), with the focus on reducing mileage but maintaining the intensity and marathon target pace. That will help to avoid any incidents of overtraining and subjecting the runners to possibilities of injury or catching some virus in the air due to reduced immunity. The Kookaburras look set for a good showing at Gold Coast – Go, Kookaburras, Go!