Saturday, April 17, 2010

ONH #7: NightHawks put through their paces

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With 6 weeks of base building completed, the NightHawks embarked on the next phase of training this morning, Pace Familiarization Training. A number of the trainees have caught the flu bug, and with some away at races, the turnout was smaller for this important phase of training. However, the Running Guides were out in full force, with some even turning up to provide intermediate water point support...well done.

The trainees were assigned to broad based groups to start with, and provided with rough gauges of paces they could adopt. Since most of the trainees were new to pace training, it was important for them to take on the relatively long distances this morning with a more conservative starting pace, and then attempting to sustain for the 19km (half marathoners) or 32km (full marathoners). The Running Guides, some of whom were experienced marathon pacers, went about their respective groups providing the initial lead, and also taking the opportunities to dispense their knowledge and experiences about pacing.

The first 10km was taken in good strides and pace, as we ran past many of the running groups out at training this morning. There were the army groups training, as well as the Passion Run Clinic in progress. By then, the NightHawks have settled into their comfortable zones, and were chit-chatting to contain their speed. The weather was a tad cooler after the Saturday evening rains, although the sun was beginning to rise and shine through the thick cloud cover.

The half marathoners turned just after the Sailing Centre, with the Full Marathoners moving towards Coastal Road. After a full week of wet weather, it was rather refreshing to be able to run in much drier conditions. I was enjoying the run, and chit-chats with the Running Guides as well as the NightHawk trainees. Many have built up a reasonably solid base, and had no problems keeping up with their 'training pace' of the day. Regular hydration and refueling were put to good practice.

Staying within the band of the 4:15h-5:00h runners, I was comfortably observing the runners' form as well as their breathing. Many were able to hold out the training pace for 19km-23km, before getting a little fatigued. They should get more conditioned in the few weeks ahead, with gradual increment of quality mileage. The runners would be expected to hone their running form during their own weekday runs, and put them to the test during the LSDs. Some of the NightHawks are also building their base for upcoming overseas marathons like The Phuket and Gold Coast Marathons. They could do with some good day LSDs, on top of the night-conditioning long runs, for a good balance of training for both night and day marathons.

The various groups held their paces well in the return leg of the run. The final 5km was still being pursued at a controlled pace, as I finished along with the 4:30h group. The Nest was already filled with returned NightHawks, having their refreshments and discussions of the day's training. We took the opportunity to give a short briefing on running form basics, pace training, as well as coordination for the upcoming weekend night run. As that would be the longest LSD in the NightHawk Program, we are looking forward to a much larger turnout.

All NightHawks will come prepared with their training paces in mind, as well as preparations for the rigours of night running. Pace strategies within the various timing groups would also be put to practice. With the successful first session of Pace Training completed, we now brace ourselves for pace training in the night this coming weekend. Till then, all NightHawks should put on their compression for recovery, visit the sports massage specialists to clear the challenging spots, as well as have adequate rest and fuel-up for the upcoming challenge. The NightHawks Have Gone Into Pace!

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