In the 3rd and final installment of the Sundown Marathon Lead Up Run series, we started way early in the morning to avoid the heat of the morning sun – but still ran smack into the challenge as the early heat made this longest LSD in the series one of the toughest training runs in recent memory.

Photo Credit: Official Sundown Marathon

Registrations were open by 5:30am, but the crowd started to trickle in only from 6:00am, most likely due to transport (higher taxi fares and availability of buses) to the Playground @ Big Splash at that wee hour.  Still, a nice group of about 300 managed to arrive by 6:15am for the training briefing for us to be able to flag off at 6:25am.

The 3rd Lead Up Run was to be executed in Optimal Pace (slight faster even pace than Marathon Pace) for the morning’s distances of 21km for the Half Marathoners and 32km for the Full Marathoners.  A number of the Sundown Pacers and NightHawk trainees eventually completed the maximum 35km in that grueling heat.

The Lead Up Runners were highly charged as this was for many the longest run in their training regime, before tapering kicks in three weeks to race night.  The ever reliable Sundown Marathon Pacers led the groups of runners at sustainable Optimal Paces of HM (5:34-2Hr, 6:17-2:15h, 6:49-2:30h) and FM (5:34-4:00h, 6:17-4:30h, 6:49-5:00h, 7:42-5:30h and 8:25-6:00h) groupings.

The first 12km till the Maxinutrition hydration point saw the respective groups of runners maintain very good paces and traveling in close-knit formations.  A quick ‘technical’ pause of 2min were given to each group get to get hydrated before making their way back to the Playground for 21.1km.  

Many of the HMers did well to hit their Optimal Pace with a number able to sustain that pace for about 15-18km, which was commendable given the heat from the sun showing up in the second leg of the run.

By the time the FMers went for their second leg of 11km-14km (after completion of 21km), the overbearing heat from the sun was directly at their faces.  The refuel at the Playground with 100Plus and bananas provided the energy required to maintain Optimal Pace as things got tougher after 25km of running in that heat.

There were occasional stops at the toilets to ‘cool off’ their bodies to prevent overheating, with some of the groups adopting additional walk breaks into their usual routines – the average paces were slipping slightly, but many of the HM lead up runners held on to complete 30-32kkm of the distance.

It had to be one of the toughest training runs we had encountered in recent memory.  Some of the runners cut short the targeted distances but still were able to surpass their past training runs’ performances with the ability to sustain optimal pace for a good way.  

The runners were given a very insightful post-run talk by an experienced phsyio-therapist team from Tan Tock Seng Hospital, touching on the important topics of injury causes (from poor posture, running form, body makeup) and prevention (through stretching, foam roller therapy), strengthening of core and important running muscle groups, with some pre and post run stretching techniques and strengthening routines.  

Overall, it was a very fruitful and successful final lead up run, thanks to the very dedicated setup and support provided by the Sundown Marathon organizer (HiVelocity) with the backing of the event’s sponsors.  The entire Sundown Lead Up Run series concluded on a high note (temperatures not withstanding) which have benefited to the more than 700 participants who have registered and attended one or more of the 3 lead up runs.

Sundown Organizer and Team FatBird have taken in feedback with regards to makeup of the training runs and start times, and will bring them to the drawing board for enhancements to the training run series of Sundown 2015.

With less than a month to go to May 31 race night, we will be focusing on tapering (cutting down on the long run mileage but maintaining Optimal Pace intensity) for the remaining 3 weeks worth of training.  The Sundown Pacers are looking forward to bring as many Sundown Runners as possible to their race objectives and targeted finish timings.

Sundown Pacers – Follow Our Pace & Win Your Race!

Facebook Photos from FatBirds CK Chin, Berno & MK