Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Week #6: Speedy Hills Attack

Every once in a while, we inject some very interesting elements into our marathon training programs - this evening was one of those exhilarating workouts for the Ops Falcon trainees which brought us to one of those 'Ninja' areas for some high speed workouts.

The appetizer comprised of a 2km run up the rolling hills of Mt. Faber and some parts of Henderson Waves - if that did not work up an appetite, then nothing much would.  By the time we reached the secret training grounds, the Falcons were all pumped up for some exciting speedy hills.

Upon hearing the targeted paces they were supposed to maintain for each of the 1km repeat, the humble Falcons were trying to bargain down the timings.  With a much stronger base than when they first started training 5 weeks ago, the expectations of the Falcons were high and the trainers would not accept negotiations for discounted paces that easily.

After the 1 lap orientation, the respective groups executed their speedy hills intervals with very hard runs up the hilly portion, then striding through the mid sections before being asked to work on their cadence on the final down slope of the course.  With each repeat, the Falcons were maintaining good cadence and speed with nice form and smooth arm-swing action..

We were right in insisting that the Falcons go according to planned paces, as many of them found the going rather easy, and in fact finished each lap with a good 15-30sec to spare.  Even the rest intervals seemed to be generous from the quick recovery seen.  Still, we kept to our side of the bargain as it was still a maiden speed hills workout for most of the trainees.

The 2km recovery run back turned into somewhat of a tempo run, as most of the trainees still felt strong and were happy to see if they could sustain their new found speed throughout.  Although it was one of the tougher workouts in the program, the Falcons were lapping it all up and from the smiles of satisfaction seen, we could tell that they were so glad they came and grit through the whole routine.

2 hours after the workout finished, many Falcons reported that their minds and bodies were still buzzing from all that adrenaline rush - some were even having 'crazy' thoughts of going for a recovery run...haha...if there were no work tomorrow, we could see some Falcons roaming the streets in their running attire late into the night.

Overall, all and sundry enjoyed the workout; and more importantly, boosted their confidence levels of knowing they can run fast at sustainable paces.  This would put us all in good stead as we progress into week 7 with firm grounding for the important Pace Training phase.

The Falcons Danced The Hills With Speed

Facebook Photos by Falcon MK

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Weekend #5: A return to the MR Trails

This morning we return to the MR trails for a second session within 5 weeks for that agility and strength endurance workout.  Once again, we were blessed with very cool weather which lasted the whole duration of the 180min routine.

The Falcons were a lot more prepared for the terrain challenge this round, with most of the runners sticking to steady paces and running within their respective pace groups.  The Northern Trail section as usual provided a energy-sapping prelude and ended with an exhaustive glycogen-depletion and wall-hitting return.

A few trainees succumbed to energy loss through excessive glycogen loss and were seen struggling in the final 3km of the Northern Trails.  Those who were prepared did a lot better by being able to overcome their mental and physical constraints to tackle one of the tougher route challenges of the Falcon program.

Some groups had to have extra servings of aircond road when we discovered that the mileage was a tad short, but still it was well covered by the strong Falcons without any hint of discouragement - in fact, the rolling slopes at Peirce Reservoir helped boost their determination to complete the full distances prescribed.

Partly due to their familiarity with the route, and in part due to the enhanced base built up, all Falcons returned on Northern Trail very strongly, tackling the rolling trail route with more experience and patience, emerging for a very satisfying finish at the end.

Base build will complete by Week #6 before we move on to pace training - it would be interesting to see how our trainees will translate their strength and speed endurance into sustainable race paces for that marathon target in March.

The Falcons Nailed The Trials & Slopes, yet again!

Facebook photos from Falcon MK

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Week #5 Hills: Up, Up & Away

Week 5 of Ops Falcon saw more trainees return to training with high anticipation for a good strength endurance workout at one of the popular Hills Training areas, Mt. Faber Loops.

Many of the trainees have heard lots from their friends who have joined FatBird training at the hills before, and were all in for this visit to MF Hills (We just did the Labrador Hills 3 weeks ago).  The briefing was kept brief, with a short recap of the hill running tips we have sent out, before setting off in groups towards the Morse Road ascent to MF.

The Falcon trainees, with their base of 4 weeks of training, did reasonably well to climb the initial slope at steady paces before settling into the 'ACTION' Zone.  Groups 1-3 were given a final brief of the 1.6km hill repeat routine before being released into the moonlit night up slope.

The respective groups managed their paces rather well, and even new runners to this hill area had the foundation to tackle the 800m up stretch comfortably.  Pointers were dispensed to the trainees on how to have good form managing the up slopes, as well as tackling the down slopes with care and safety by staying closer to the ground with increased turnover.

The 50min was well maxed by most of the Falcons, with many covering at least 2-3 repeats, and the stronger ones covering 4-5 repeats; then there were the few 2-3 who did 6 repeats at the tops of their game.  

The atmosphere was one of contagious enthusiasm and good sense of satisfaction after the workout, with lots of chit-chat and sharing of experiences and tips among the various trainers and trainees alike.  A group photo by the foot was captured of the achievements of all Falcons for good measure.

A 1.5km recovery run back to base was just so good for the mind as well as settling back to the comfortable zone.  Overall a short, intense and highly beneficial workout for all at the MF hills.  Our next PowerFLIGHT strength @ the hills will see us at another famous hill workout area in the region; something we are sure most would not want to miss.

The Falcons Went All The Way To The Top!

Facebook Photos from Falcon Meng Kiat

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Week #4: A good start to the New Year

The Falcons entered Week 4 of training recharged after the year end holidays.  This was evident in their performances and abilities to better sustain the longer distances at BaseBuild paces this morning.

A few more new trainees joined us for the training, very much motivated by the more experienced FatBird runners who are looking in very good shape - from keeping to the training schedules and committing holiday weekends to maintain their exercise regime.

The weather was very cool and nice after the bout of pre-dawn showers, allowing the respective pace groups to put in one of the better managed basebuilding runs.  Happy and satisfied faces all around as many of the Falcons completed the training objectives in good form.

The various pace groupings stayed together pretty much of the way, preferring to use the group effort to help main pace, while at the same time honing in on the running form and posture for running economy and efficiency.  

A number of the runners felt good in the return leg to break away for very good even and some negative splits - wow, that's some good progress indeed.

The gears will be shifted one notch as we progress into Week 5 of training, with strength and speed endurance being tested on a combination of hill repeats and rolling trail slopes.  The Falcons are getting mentally prepared to face the upcoming challenges with every bit of positive anticipation.

Run Photos by Meng Kiat