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Affidea Ireland Junior Endurance Camps

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It has been a busy few weeks with three Affidea Ireland supported Regional Junior Endurance Performance squad camps taking place in Connacht, Leinster & Munster. Reports are available below from each of the regions. A special thanks to the athletes & clubs for their continued support of the camps as finding dates free from competition proves quite difficult. Thanks as always to our head coaches in each region who do tremendous work before and during the camps.

Leinster Camp Report:

A large group of athletes arrived at Gormanston College on the Friday evening and got settled in before gathering in the lecture hall to a Q&A with London Olympian/physiotherapist/coach Mark Kenneally who remarked that he attended a national camp here in 1998. Mark spoke about his highs and lows, dealing with injury, work life balance, reasons for staying in Ireland for 3rd level education and the possibility of still going for Tokyo 2020. The session lasted over 2 hours with plenty of questions from the floor. On Saturday the athletes did a tempo session which was 6 x 3 mins fast with 90 secs recovery. To say they ran in a mud bath is doing the playing pitches an injustice but this didn’t deter the athletes form putting in a great session. Now into our 4th year of running camps the coaches have seen big improvements in the effort that the athletes are putting into these sessions. After lunch two Functional Movement Pattern workshops were ran with David Roche who later on that evening gave a superb presentation on ‘The Importance of Recovery’. Next up was the Quiz put together by Niamh Richardson. One of the questions was ‘Who won the Men’s 1500m in the National Senior championships in 2015?’ She was keeping it local with the answer being Eoin Everard! 

Sunday was the long easy run with runs ranging from 45-70 mins. Athletes and coaches learnt their lesson from the previous day’s tempo session and kept to the trails around the college for better underfoot conditions. It can be a lonely sport but it’s very rewarding when you see groups coming together and getting on so well while at the same time putting the effort into getting as much as they can out of the weekend. Many thanks to Annette Quegan as always for all the organization that goes into the weekend and to the coaches Lisa Dixon, Ian O’Reilly and Fintan Reilly for their time. We are also very appreciative to Mark and David for giving up their evenings and weekend to make the camp the success it was.

Connacht:

28 athletes from across Connacht met for the 2nd camp of the year at Killary adventure centre. The stunning scenery was made all the more spectacular by the snow that coated the tops of the Connemara mountains. In addition to the lead coaches Matt Lockett, Philip Finnerty, Emmett Dunleavy and Peter Hynes, the group were joined by Olympian Jessie Barr. Jessie is completing a PhD in sports Psychology and has worked under the lead psychologist at the Irish Institute of sport, so combined with her own experiences of athletics at the highest level she was on the camp to provide the athletes insight into how sports psychology could help improve performance. Jessie led a series of workshops on: An introduction to sports psychology; mental preparation for race day, and setting goals. Athletes were encouraged to think about what motivates them to run. They considered helpful and negative thoughts they may have, and barriers that may prevent them from fulfilling their potential as athletes. They were given some ideas to help them turn the challenges in to opportunities and ways to manage the negative thoughts.

Whilst developing strong mind sets was a theme for the camp, training was not neglected either. Athletes began the weekend with 5 minute controlled intervals on the undulating forest trails of the Western way and rounded of the session with some hill repeats. On the Saturday evening the athletes were split into three groups and took part in a rotation of core work, hurdle walking and for older athletes an easy recovery run. After breakfast on Sunday a short workshop was followed by a long run back on the trails with the rest of the day spent recovering with workshops, a well contested quiz and then a guided muscles relaxation lead by Jessie. On Monday the theme was on active recovery which started with an easy pre-breakfast run and after looking at setting goals for 2018 some work on drills focussing on minimising ground contact time. It was clear to all coaches the progression in the fitness of the squad athletes since the inception of the squads three years ago, and also the increase in bonding between athletes in different clubs across the province which can only help retention of athletes in the sport.

Munster:

The 2nd Munster Junior Endurance Performance squad camp of the 2017/2018 season took place last weekend at the Banna Beach Hotel complex in Co Kerry. The athletes were highly motivated and brought a great work ethic to the camp for the entire three days. The weather was extremely cold but this didn’t deter the athletes from putting in a great effort throughout.

Saturday morning saw the athletes arrive at Banna Beach and check into the houses and then go for an easy run followed by some hurdle mobility drills, mobility work and strides on the all weather pitch. That night a team meeting outlined the structure of the weekend and the expectations around the entire camp as well as an introduction of all athletes & coaches. One of our lead coaches Pat Hogan also took the group through some team games that night and there was some down time for the group to mix together. Sunday morning the real work began for the group with various workouts on the road & grass followed by strides. Following the workouts the group headed back to the houses for recovery food before starting their recovery in the pool. With an afternoon to relax the athletes met again in the evening for a circuit session led by coaches Pat Hogan, Joan Hough and Michael Gregan. That night there was a fun quiz for all the athletes and again some time to mix together as a group. Monday morning it was time for some activation drills before embarking on the traditional long run which was followed by hurdle mobility drills & strides.  Then it was clean up time and some relaxation time in the pool before a quick team meeting. The coaches would like to thank all the staff at Banna Beach Hotel, they were as always extremely helpful and friendly. They would also say a huge thank you to all the athletes who were highly motivated, in good form, respectful and well behaved for the entire weekend. A special thanks also to Pat Hogan, Michael Gregan and Joan Hough.

Athletics Ireland is very thankful to Affidea Ireland for their continued support of the endurance programme.

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