Sunday, December 29, 2013

Week #3: Cool December LSD

Into the 3rd weekend of Ops Falcon, and we continue to be blessed with very nice weather for running.  The crowd at ECP was a lot thinner due to the year end festive season, but nonetheless, there were a few training groups already preparing for upcoming run and race walking events.

The Falcons were out attempting what for some would be the longest distances to date, while others were just back from the festivities to get the engines progressively worked up to more comfortable zones for pace training in a few weeks.

All groups were maintaining good Basebuild paces and were looking happy and strong as they covered the first 70% of the prescribed mileage.  As the thresholds were being tested, the trainees were moved into their zones of discomfort necessary to elevate their training to the next levels.  

It would take a couple weeks more of basebuild for training adaptation for a strengthened foundation, along with improvements to running posture and form.

Tips on keeping sustainable paces, minor adjustments to running form, as well as advice on injury prevention from muscle strengthening and conditioning were dispensed to the various trainees in all groups.  

The trainees absorbed all information and advice positively, and were able to take corrective action to alleviate some of the existing issues they were facing - overall a very good interactive session for many trainees who were appreciative of the knowledge gained.

All were happy they made the time to go down early for this training in spite of the holiday season, and we can see the sense of satisfaction in all the faces for having put in a productive LSD (Long Slow Distance) session.

Monday, December 23, 2013

Falcon Tales @ MR Trails

It was one chilly morning (by Singapore's standards) as the Falcons took to the trails of MacRitchie Reservoir (MR) for their 2nd weekend of basebuild training.  Runners who have participated in past training operations would appreciate the challenging workouts that the MR route offer, requiring participants to overcome rather undulating trail and road terrain - all these serving to build strength and some agility which will come into good effect as we progress along the 12-week marathon program.

Because of the Christmas season, the mood was cheery with a number of trainees and trainers donning Santa garb, reindeer and snowman hats and ornaments to match.  It might have been a pleasant surprise to trainees joining us for the very first time, that the FatBirds are actually a fun-loving and playful lot, although we are also known for our seriousness in training and good work ethics, along with strong team camaraderie.

After the route and safety briefing, the respective groups took to the trails in high anticipation of a nice workout, with the initial paces on the faster side.  Fortunately for the immaculate weather, many of the runners were able to sustain the faster paces and it did help to warm us up to settle into a comfortable zone.

The rolling slopes of Upper Peirce Reservoir and the air-con road was lapped up by the Falcons, a number of whom were new to that training area.  The return trip as usual provided the main challenge for the tiring Falcons, with the final 6km stretch back up the Island Country Club Road and the Northern Trail zapping up whatever reserves were in the runners.  This is often the portion where those who did not have a good fuel tank or conditioning will be paying the price, but at the same time, a valuable learning lesson and mental strengthening for all.

The run ended on time, and the tired but satisfied trainees could be seen replenishing themselves with bananas and isotonic drinks provided after the tough 14km or 24km trail slopes workouts.  

There were some good feedback from trainees who have seen lots of improvement and welcomed loss of weight and waist carried from the last Sunbird training.  They served as motivation for the new trainees and encourage all trainees to persist with sensible structured training to see desirable results.

With the upcoming New Year holidays, the weekday hills sessions will be done at own time and location as per the training schedule - this will ensure the continued training momentum throughout the festive season, which can only ensure that the Falcons are still in tip-top condition in the run up to the mid-section of the training Operation.

The Falcons Flew The Trails!

Facebook Photos by Meng Kiat

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Strength @ The Hills

As the Falcon runners were looking forward with anticipation to their first weekday hills training run, the skies opened up from 5pm and threatened to spoil the whole party.

We had a pleasant surprise when we arrived to the start point at Labrador Park MRT at 7pm to see more than 50 participants had gathered in spite of the rainfall still raging on.  We had a check with the stations and were informed that Cat 1 will remain till 8pm.  

While waiting for the rain to subside, we decided to have a briefing of the training schedules and weekly training variation and mileage we should be doing.  Spirits among all were still high with most still harboring hopes of having a good workout.

The rain came to a stop at 7:45pm, and we decided to go for the hills workout but with and adapted plan - instead of doing the Mt. Faber Hills, we would tackle the Labrador Park Hill loops for good measure.

The look on the faces of the Falcons said it all - they were just so happy to get off the starting blocks, and sprang towards the direction of the Labrador Hills in their respective groupings. 

The group trainers and pacers led their respective charges on the workout routine as directed, with all achieving the set training objectives and more.

In a stroke of good fortune where we had a brief 90min respite from the heavy rain, the first Falcon hills session turned out to be one lung-bursting, fat-burning and fruitful workout that was thoroughly enjoyed by all, as evident in the beaming and satisfied faces of the participants.

The Falcons look ready to rock on in the following weeks to come! 


Sunday, December 15, 2013

The Falcon's Maiden Voyage

With the SCMS just barely ended a fortnight ago, Operation Falcon managed to garner good response for its maiden training program for the upcoming 2XU Marathon in March 2014 - evidence of more marathoners looking to do better in the new year with early preparations and conditioning.

The first session of Ops Falcon started off this Sunday morning at the Playground @ Big Splash vicinity.  Because of a couple of races such as LTAW, Commando Challenge, Taipei Marathon this weekend, the turnout was smaller but still had its fair share of first-timers as well as veterans of FatBird training ops.

We were also joined by the Japan Kumamoto Marathon group. who are undergoing training for their race in Feb 2014.  It was one melting pot of runners and marathoners from many quarters, adding much color to the flock that had gathered early on a Sunday morning.

The welcome and training briefing took a tad longer to ensure that all pioneering Falcon trainees understood the training requirements and corresponding commitment to deliver according to each individual's targets and race objectives.

After a few quick group photos, the respective Falcon groupings of 1-Tango, 2-Foxtrot, 3-Bravo and 4-Hotel were flagged off for their maiden FlightZONES basebuild runs of 13km and 21km.  Participants were advised to take it easier in the beginning and progressively extend their capabilities as their endurance conditioning improve over longer distances.

 The cooling weather made for an easy run, interspersed with chit-chats and interesting conversations among trainers and trainees, all getting to know one another better while putting in their required training mileage.

Most of the trainees were observed to have reasonably good foundation and running form, which will make for higher improvement opportunities as the 12-week program unfolds with the participants being exposed to a myriad of training modules from hills to tempos to LSDs.

The first session ended on a strong note of confidence from most of the trainees at having 'survived' the training in good form.  As we proceed into week 2, more action in the form of weekday hills & strength development with the weekend trails & agility tests are highly anticipated.  

Those who are still interested to hop onto flight OFC14 will be happy to know that there are still a few seats available - for information and registration for Ops Falcon Marathon Training, please check out the website @!

Falcon Photos by FatBird Tejinda