It was the longest training run in the operation, one that served as an endurance 'test' as well as ability to sustain the Optimal Race pace throughout. Conditions were made more challenging with the inclusion of a 12km 'Demoralizing Route' stretch coupled with the heat of the sun in the second half of the Long Slow Distance (LSD) run.
We were able to start by 7am for a good 3 to 4 hours of run-in. Throughout the run, the Falcons were able to use the Trainers & Pacers as guideposts to maintain their intended paces, although a number of fellow trainees were seen to be chatting and helping one another along with the 'mental challenge'.
The Half Marathoners completed the full 21km which put them in good stead for a smooth completion of the race on March 2. The heat conditioning from the sun was a 'bonus' of sorts although it would be unlikely the HM runners will get the sun on race morning as we will start very early.
By the time all runners returned at 11am, the sun was in full glory and beating down on the parched ground (where the grass were lost through the 2 weeks of zero rainfall in our island). The sense of satisfaction coupled with the knowledge of having made it through this tough 21km and 35km distances heightened the confidence of the Falcons, who by now are pretty sure of a minimum completion within targeted timings on race day.
A scan through of all runners showed that the Falcons were injury-free although some showed signs of fatigue along with tightened muscles (of which some good self or assisted massages can surely help relieve).
The following 2 weeks of taper with distances cut back but training intensities maintained, will provide the conditioned Falcons with ample recovery and honing the speed to put out good performances when it matters.