It was the final Night Training Run before the NightHawks taper and go into race on May 27. After a busy day at the Sundown REPC, the Sundown Pacers were at ECP with the 100+ NightHawks for an Optimal Paced 18km (HM) and 28km (FM). The Kookaburras, who were in their fifth week of training, and the 3rd Group session with FatBirds were also doing the same distances and routes, albeit still at basebuild territory.
The briefings were kept short, and within 15min, the trainees were into their respective optimal paces, tackling the ECP stretch which will now be a feature of the Sundown Full Marathon on race night. The groups held on their paces well, with many a NightHawk trainee now more conditioned and better equipped for the tasks at hand. The race plans were put into practice, factoring in water stops and walk breaks where they apply.
The respective groups held steady optimal all the way to Sailing Centre, before the HM turned back for their final 6km. The FMers continued on strongly till the u-turn at Changi Coastal Road. The night was windy at certain sections of the route, while generally it was still humid. We had to contend with cycling groups plying the park connector. At places where we dropped paces slightly due to distraction, we were able to gingerly recover lost ground to maintain average optimal pace.
This run was a final trial of sorts for many of the runners as all were aiming to sustain Optimal Pace for about ¾ of the race distances in a night run. The starting paces for all groups were well maintained and with tracking of pace at each km mark, there were regular moderation of the paces to averages close to the optimal targets. Race day lighting and visibility markers were also put to the test – with groups of runners in similar lighting codes, it was pretty visible compared with the use of balloons (which are not really useful in the darkness of night running).
We were happy to hear that most of the runners were able to sustain the prescribed distances at optimal pace, lending to the confirmation that the NightHawks have been toughened and sharpened as marathon runners in a short span of 10 weeks. For the few who were not able to sustain the final few km, it was mainly due to the long day on our feet at the RunSwimBike Expo – yet another confirmation of our advise to runners not to spend too much time on their feet (at expos, shopping, visits) one or less day before any marathon race.
As we packed and left the C4 Shelter before midnight, there were still lots of chatter and discussions of the night’s run, interspersed with tinges of anticipation and a sense of deprivation as we enter the tapering phase (a lot less mileage, although the intensity will be maintained)…and some runners were even wondering if they would suffer from ‘withdrawal’ symptoms from the lack of fun group runs after the Sundown Marathon.
That is sure testimony of the seriousness and dedication of the NightHawks towards the game of marathoning, and again, it is heartening to all the Sundown Pacers and FatBird trainers to see this kind of positive responses and commitment to training, speaking volumes of the care and guidance of the NightHawk Training Team. With this final night training run lock and loaded, the NightHawks will be all ready on Sundown Night. Sundown Marathon 2012, Here We Come To….LIGHT UP THE CITY!
Revised NightHawk Training Video, credit FatBird Ronnie Goh