Connacht Junior Endurance Training Camp Report
The first weekend camp of the 2016/2017 Connacht Endurance Performance Squad took place in Cootehall, Co. Roscommon from Friday September 16th to Sunday September 18th. Camp HQ was at Belleek Caravan & Camping and it proved to be an inspired choice of venue, just 700m from extensive forest trails at Belleek Castle, which in turn extends onto adjoining grass parkland regularly used to host Cross Country events. Accommodation in apartments and luxury camper vans was top notch.
After check-in on Friday evening the group of more than thirty young endurance runners went for a relaxed easy group run before an introductory meeting with fellow athletes and squad coaches led by camp leader Paul McNamara to outline plans for the weekend and for the season ahead.
Saturday was an action packed day with an early breakfast to allow for a 10am get-together for a quality workout. Athletes broke into 3 groups, each working with 1-2 coaches, and undertook a thorough dynamic warm-up, followed by a fartlek tempo session on the forest trails in Lough Key Forest Park.
In the afternoon a series of workshops were delivered by squad coaches. Deirdre Clarke and Edel Hackett led a discussion with female athletes on the challenges faced by the young female runner, Paul McNamara led a discussion on training intensity and variety, while Emmet Dunleavy and Peter Hynes led a well-received workshop on recovery from training. Later in the evening athletes took part in a highly successful table quiz before lights out.
Sunday was another early start with the entire group returning to the woodland trails of Lough Key Forest Park for a group ‘Long Run’ at a relaxed conversational pace.
Feedback from the camp was immensely positive from parents, athletes and coaches and it proved to be a hugely positive and rewarding experience for all involved. Huge thanks to athletes, parents, club coaches and particularly squad coaches for their support for this initiative.