Session #06-01: The Final Track

In the final track session of the entire Operation Kingfisher program, we posted the workout menu about 2 hours before session commencement just to give the participants some time to plan and prepare.  Not sure if it was the 'hard-to-swallow' menu or due to the busy schedules of the runners, the turnout was smaller than usual.

Still, the show went on with a good warm-up routine at 6:45pm.  By now, the respective groups already knew how to to approach and 'consume' their track menu in a methodical way, such that there was almost no loss of time at all.

Under the charge and guidance of the Kingfisher trainers, the routines went like clockwork; appetizer of a mile time trial was carried out without fuss, followed time recording and a quick rest before the Main Course was served.

Part I of the Main Course (800m sets with short rest intervals) was executed smoothly by the Kingfishers, and at the end of the segment, the participants were still looking strong and motivated.  Part II (800m sets with floats) was then served, and to the surprise of many, it was completed without any problems nor drop in pace at all.

The flock was very happy with their performances at the track this evening, although a few trainees have had to moderate their intensities and volume due to niggles and feelings of muscle-tightness - it was the body giving off warning signals, and time for the 'foam-roller' and sports massage to knead off those kinks and knots.

The warm up and cool down jogs aside, the majority of the team achieved 9 sets of 800m at SpeedyBird effort, providing good feedback of their ample readiness to achieve goal times at the AHM.  The mood was high, and with some time to spare, we had a short round of sharing before rounding the night on a high note.

A few groups went on their way for dinner, and post-run beer with celebrations and bonding that went late into the night were indications of the level of 'highs' induced probably by the endorphine levels from track.  Still, it was all in good fun and spirit, paving the way for a relaxing weekend before final preparations for the main race next weekend.

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The Full Dress Rehearsal

With just 2 weeks to AHM, the Kingfishers were all decked out in their race day gear for a time trial of the actual distance and target pace.  Because of a triathlon event along the Northern part of ECP, we made some modifications to our time trial route and in the end, it proved to be smooth sailing for the runners in spite of the slightly more challenging access.

The weather was good with good cloud cover, enabling the respective groups to maintain Optimal Pace for a good 8 km through 10 km before feeling some effects of fatigue and lactate buildup in the legs.  The trainers and pacers led very well from the start, and with their bright green Brooks attire, were visible from a distance away.  

There was an air of seriousness as the Kingfishers were focused on the optimal race pace at hand, which was close or at Tempo pace for many.  It was nice to see the groups sticking together even after the first lap, which could only mean that the runners were able to sustain an achievable pace till then.

After 12 km, their immediate goal was to sustain Optimal Pace for as much as possible, preferable till the end of the 21 km distance target.  Most were able to continue well through 17 km, with many able to clear the requirement with flying colours - a testament to their readiness to score good performances on 1 September.

With the Kingfishers returning within cut-off time, we managed to end the training session early and everyone had worked up such a hunger that brunch was the next thing on their minds - and they well deserve a good treatment and some pampering to ease their fatigue from the past few weeks of hard running.

After achieving a peak in our training, the Kingfishers now look forward to the next 2 weeks of tapering and preparing for the race.  Time now to have a good lube, sports massage, foam-rolling to knead off any kinks and knots in the tightened muscles - putting ourselves in tip-top condition.

The Kingfishers Have Passed The Time Trial With Flying Colours!

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The Pack got Whacked @ the Track

Engines were revved and gears shifted up a notch at the second track session, a workout so beloved by the Kingfishers that many make special arrangements just to be early and not to miss out any portion of the always exciting menu.

In a bid to maximize the limited training time as well as moderate the large group of runners we have, the trainees were split into two sections with each consuming their 'meals' under the watchful eyes of their respective trainers and timers.

The appetizer of the standard mile time trial was consumed smoothly after the pre-meal warm up and some dynamic drills were delivered.  The 2 sections recorded their mostly-improved timings to registration before getting a quick briefing on the Main menu of the night.

Although the instructions were short and clean, there was no doubt the Kingfishers' plates were full and they would have to have stomachs of 'steel' to be able to sustain without anyone fainting or puking in the end - excellent work by all the participants.

Part 1 of the main meal was served in the form of 800s at respective target paces with a 'rest interval' in between sets.  All three groups did very well to maintain their effort and paces to complete in good form, albeit feeling the effects of the high cardio workout and lactic acid buildup in the legs.

After a 4-5min break, Part 2 of the main menu was served with 'recovery floats' in between sets, taking the effort required and fatigue levels to newer highs.  It was at this portion that some might have seen 'lights' and 'stars' if pushed to the limits.  With their foundation training and understanding of track pacing, the Kingfishers did well to complete this segment without too much hassle.  

It was a hard but extremely satisfying workout for all.  With smiling faces and still breathing heavily, the Kingfishers were expressing how much they have enjoyed the menu variation and how glad they were to have gone through what was considered a challenging workout even for very good runners.  

The execution timing was spot on, leaving us with ample time for some nice group photos, a mini debrief and catching up on arrangements for the coming holiday weekend of more runs, training and races.  

Kingfisher track sessions always leave us with a love-hate feeling - fear and hate before we step on the track, and love after we have completed the workout menu, drenched with perspiration from head-toe with the feeling of having lost a few pounds after all that hard pushing :)

See you @ the next TRACK, the Kingfishers will be BACK!

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Blazing The Trails

As part of the strengthening regime of the Kingfisher Program, the flock visited one of our favourite training ground for trail running at MacRitchie Reservoir (MR) Park.

For many who have not been to MR in recent years, it looked all too unfamiliar but yet interesting.  For those who have been there for past training sessions with Team FatBird, it brought back many nice memories of charging up the trail slopes and tackling the uneven ground with some fleet footwork.   

MR was as usual abuzz with many runners and trekkers on their weekend workouts, with quite a number of running groups getting ready for some trail running action.  After a briefing of trail etiquette and safety observances, the respective pace groups were flagged off towards the Northern Route.

The first 3.5km stretch of the Northern Trails took some steam off the runners, and by the time they hit Island Country Club Road, the lactate buildup and high heart-rates are starting to affect the runners.  With a reasonably good base built up, the Kingfishers were able to recover somewhat to settle into a steady pace as they approached the forested roads of Lower Pierce Reservoir (LPR) and then Old Upper Thomson Road (OUTR).

By the time they reached the U-Turn point some 8.5km later, the large groups have broken into smaller segments, making for more comfortable pacing and sustainability.  Some gels were taken at the 12km mark, while hydration  was a more important need in the very humid morning.  

The pace group leaders were doing a great job of keeping their respective groups together, directing traffic at critical turning points, as well as motivating and urging the tiring runners on to maintain their respective paces.  There was nary a 'slacker' in sight, and by the time we climbed the SICC slopes back onto the Northern Trails, the majority were a spent force with just that small amount of reserves left.

When signs of the lack of power is evident with some indications of low fuel tanks, that is the point where the real effects of training will kick in to push the trainees both mentally and physically.  The final 4km back to MR Amenities Centre will stress the runners a little more in a bid to test their thresholds and in the process, with enable them to make adaptive progress and strengthen as runners.

By the end of 17km, it was evident from the look of the Kingfishers' faces and feedback from the runners that this was one of the toughest challenges they have experienced to date.  In spite of that, many actually enjoyed the whole trail experience and were requesting for more of such training to be incorporated for future training programs.

With the completion of a busy running Week 3 of tempos, hill repeats and trail endurance runs, the Kingfishers are all ready for the second phase (weeks 4-6) of training which will see them enhancing on the strength&speed while upping the ante with long weekend endurance runs at Optimal Pace.  We are all looking forward to bring our newly-developed strength and speed to optimize and maximize our training for peak performances come September 1.

The Kingfishers Blazed The Trails!

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