Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Week #7: long run intervals

In preparation for the move to Optimal Pace in 2 weeks, the Falcons were given a challenge of maintaining 4.5km loops at Marathon Pace less 10s with 1min-2min rests in between.

Given the ongoing Lunar New Year Celebrations, the group took an auspicious photo with the Goat, the Zodiac sign for 2015, for a nice kickoff to the second half of Ops Falcon training.

With the base built up in the first 6 weeks, it was evident that the Falcons were a lot stronger and more experienced with maintaining their target training paces, especially with the help of the ever-dependable Falcon Trainers & Pacers.

The first part of the menu was a 6km at Marathon Pace along the scenic Riverside till the ECP Bridge, each led by their respective group Pacers.  The main course of the MP-10 intervals was served from the ECP Bridge looping back at the Marina Barrage slope for that ascending challenge before finishing back at the ECP Bridge for that quick rest for the next repeat.

Before the first lap was even midway through, the sun were beating down forcefully on the runners, creating an additional heat challenge which threatened the pace of the trainees.  

The Half Marathoners did well to sustain the pace in spite of the heat, which will set the tone for their smooth progression to Optimal Pace training.  The Full Marathoners did find the intervals along that sun-baked stretch mentally draining and physically sapping, with a number of groups eventually doing 3 laps.

Group 1 which comprise of the more experienced trainees did well to complete their task of 4 laps in spite of the tough challenge.  Although the distance was a little short of the originally planned, the level of difficulty was more than ample to compensate for that minor shortfall in distance.

The 2.5km run back to Sports Hub felt a lot better as we reverted to Marathon Pace, plus the sense of satisfaction was heightened with the knowledge that the hard part of the workout was done and dusted.

With yet another challenging workout under their belts, the Falcons mental and physical strength endurance has moved up a notch, which will prepare them well for their upcoming hills challenge in Week #8.  

The redcon status of the flock remains good and we are happy to know that the Falcons were able to sustain the workout variations being put to them with very positive attitudes and strong commitment for performance.

On a related note, a huge shout out to the Falcons (Justin Too, Ratty Liz) who did so very well with PBs at the Tokyo Marathon this morning.

The Falcons Are Flying High!

Facebook Photos By FatBird MK

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Week #6: Marathon Pace @ Sports Hub

Operation Falcon kicked off its next phase of training with Marathon Pace endurance run at a new location to boot, the Singapore Sports Hub.

The training route was familiar with some Falcons as they have been used quite often in major local races.  This was the first time for any FatBird operations to use Sports Hub as a start/end point, and from the way things turned out, we should be using this new location for more of our marathon training runs.

Both the HMers and FMers covered the same first lap of 16km covering stretches of the Geylang PCN, Gardens By The Bay East, Marina Bay Sands and rounding back along the Promontory.  The FMers covered another 14km with a smaller loop within the larger first lap. 

Running conditions were conducive with the windy and cooling first half of the training as the respective pace groups maintained well their Marathon Paces.  There were regular applause and shouts of encouragement which served to lift the spirits of the trainees each time.

The majority of the Falcons kept to very good Marathon Pace efforts under the guidance of their group trainers and pacers, maintaining very steady paces and good running form.  As we progressed, the run became more challenging at the Promontory stretch when the sun came beating down on the Falcon's backs.

Rising to meet the challenges, the Falcons were able to persist another 5-6km to finish the entire HM run in target paces and timings.  The FMers did slow down a bit after 20km as the sun's heat continued unabated, but the trainees pushed on to complete their 30km requirement to meet training objectives.

A few of the runners turned back slightly earlier and completed from 26-28km.  A quick debrief of the session was followed by stretching exercises conducted by FatBirds Arnel and Jayson.  The trainees followed through with the whole routine respectably well .

A second debrief was given followed by important advise on having a good dynamic warm up routine especially for HM races, as well as being mindful about our own body conditions and having regular check ups and not leaving anything to chances with regards to our health.

The FMers completed their training by 10am and were feasting on bananas and post-run drinks as we shared stories and lessons learnt from the training.

We will be back to the same location at Sports HuB next week for long distance intervals, something unique and effective for our purposes of having Falcons have a sustainable 'speed' for good results on race day.

The Falcons Get Onto Marathon Pace

Friday, February 6, 2015

Weekend #4: The Intervals Sandwich

It was a cool morning at Weekend #4 of Operation Falcon, just the right climate for our basebuild workout comprising of a menu of 800m Park Intervals sandwiched by a 5km pre and 5-10km post workout basebuild runs.

The turnout was good at SAFRA MF with a few new runners joining us for the first time.  After a quick training brief, the respective pace groups proceeded at their own paces towards Labrador Park, taking the Depot Rd, Alexandra Rd, Labrador Park Rd approach.

Once at Labrador Park, the various Groups 1-4 were briefed on their interval requirements and respective work:rest ratios.  One at a time, the groups were flagged off to do their 4-6 800m interval sets, led by their dependable Falcon trainers.

Most of the groups started out too fast for their first lap, but soon settled in after 2-3 laps as they found the correct rhythm and effort for better management of target interval pace.  The runners were taxed not only on their required paces in Zone 4 effort, but were also given just sufficient rest time for them to recover before their next sets.

Once the initial apprehension was over, the Falcon trainees soon settled into the interval training and were enjoying the hard work, especially with motivation and encouragement from group members and also inter group.

Before long, all had completed their required number of sets at target paces, with a few adding on 1-2 sets for good measure.  Streaks of perspiration could be seen on the Falcon's satisfied faces as they completed their final sets while maintaining good form.  All had reserves in their tanks as they were prepared for the 5-10km run at basebuild pace to follow.

The Gatorade Tank was fully emptied with nary a drop left as all Falcons topped up their fuel belts before heading back for the post-interval run.  With tired legs, but still very strong minds, the Falcons did well to sustain basebuild paces all the way back to SAFRA MF Clubhouse to finish convincingly.

Cool down stretches by Groups 1 & 2 trainers ensued, with eager trainees participating to stretch out those achy muscles to lessen any Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness (DOMS) the following day.  

With the workout completed well ahead of the alloted time, there was a sense of achievement among trainers and trainees alike, serving to enhance the confidence levels to take up the challenges in the coming weeks before we enter into Pace Training at Marathon and Optimal paces.

We look forward to week #5 with anticipation as we go back to Macritchie Reservoir for a LSD of trails and hills long run.  The Falcons will get stronger and more experienced in tackling some of these terrain and route challenges to be better prepared for the 2XU Compression Run at end March.

The Falcons Loved Their Intervals Sandwich!

Facebook photos by FatBird Chin

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