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Dodging birds is much more important than picking up the balloons. In addition to the time penalty, you waste additional time recovering from stun. If you know you can get a balloon, but doing so will end with you getting hit, just skip that balloon. You may also want to go back to the previous training modes and beat your personal bests a few times on each to improve your proficiency with riding the chocobo. Sooner or later, the stars will align and you'll get a nice balloon RNG to make things easier and the birds won't seem to be targeting you as much.
After you get well-practiced, the only thing that will continue to be a major problem is the odd camera angles that will occur and sometimes screw you over.
Soft kitty, warm kitty, little ball of fur Happy kitty, sleepy kitty, purr purr purr
I just did it in less than 2 hours while watching Ep. 1 and 2 of Stranger Things. It's really f***ing easy. I got 14 balloons and 1 bird hit.
You have to have a good start on the slope. If she gets all the first balloons it's wtv.
You have to zigzag. Use the Dpad, not analog. Use both hands, left hand for left arrow, right hand for right arrow.
You need minimum 13 balloons and 0 birds, or 14 balloons and 1 bird plus LUCK!
Dont go for balloons too early. Don't go for balloons in a straight forward path. You need to zigzag your way to balloons so as to throw off birds.
That being said, your chocobo always runs straight when you stop pressing buttons, until he runs into a (invisible) wall. Learn to align your chocobo diagonally with balloons and then let him run by himself to make sure he goes in a straight line, horizontally across the track on to the balloon you aligned with, in a way that'll also Dodge birds.
Sometimes, only a few presses of a button are required to adjust your angle for the next balloon or bird avoiding path. If you need to turn sharply, mash the button, don't hold it.
Average run takes between 36 to 46 seconds, depending on number of birds that hit you, each balloon takes of 3 seconds, so if you're going to hit 36 seconds, you need 13 balloons, if you get hit a few times, you'll need about 17 balloons, plus 1 balloon for everytime a bird hits you (it removes 3 seconds).
so, i go aim for at least 15 balloons while avoiding birds, a good start is 3 - 5 balloons, then try for about 6-7 on the second part, and then the final stretch, make up what i need.
Know what you need, and dn't take risks. I can get it now in 30 mins on my playthroughs and I've started to enjoy the game (except for the one leading up to the final race, i find training level 3 super annoying now)