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Junior Endurance Performance Squad Camp Reports 2017


Connacht Junior Endurance Performance Squad Camp Report 

45 young endurance athletes enjoyed the fabulous Affidea Ireland/Athletics Ireland supported Connacht Junior Endurance Performance Squad training camp at Killary adventure centre at the weekend. The location was superb as they took to the trails of Connemara surrounded by mountains, river, loughs and the magnificent Killary Fjord.  The lead coaches were joined by the new RDO for the region, Paul Byrne, who showed he has settled in quickly as within an hour of the camp he was helping to herd sheep out of the centre!

The athletes took part in workshops on hurdle mobility, conditioning, recovery, nutrition, the female triad, dealing with injury, training theory and analysed what it takes to be an elite athlete. Connacht senior athlete, Gary Thornton, joined the camp on the Saturday afternoon to discuss his career and talked about the running euro and world cross country championships and sharing a house in Teddington with elite Kenyan athletes and Usain Bolt. Gary also spoke honestly about the big changes in his life as he moved from school to college, college, to work and when he decided to fully commit to training.

Practical training sessions involved a tough threshold/tempo type workout in the forest, a long run, and some relaxed recovery running. It was great to see athletes capable of covering a much greater volume of work in the workout then than when we first started holding camps and also that nearly a third of athletes went out for a short recovery run in the evening after the workout despite the wind and rain. Well done to the Connacht clubs, coaches and athletes that helping to drive the improvement in the squad. A big thank you to the lead coaches Matt Lockett, Edel Hackett, Deirdre Gallagher, Philip Finnerty, Paul Byrne and Peter Hynes for their time & expertise over the duration of the camp. Thank you as always to Affidea Ireland for their continued support of the Athletics Ireland endurance programme and to our hosts at Killary Adventure centre for being so accommodating. The next camp will take place in January/February 2018. 


Leinster Junior Endurance Performance Squad Camp Report

The Affidea Ireland sponsored Leinster Junior Endurance Performance squad camp took place this past weekend with 65 of the provinces top 15-19 year old endurance athletes making their way to Gormanston College Co Meath. With school back in full swing it was a 6:30pm check in with a talk from US based Irish International 3,000m steeplechaser and sub 4 min miler Tomás Cotter being the guest speaker that evening. Tomas spoke about his experiences through the junior ranks and how he coped with the US scholarship system and how it is really important to find a college that is right for you, both from an athletics and educational perspective. He also talked about how he coped with the disappointment of tearing his Achilles early in 2017 racing season and missing out on the opportunity to qualify for World Championship in London. Patience he emphasised is key to recovery.

On Saturday the group met for their tempo session of 4,3,2,1 mins x 2. We are in our 3rd year of these endurance weekends and it is obvious that the athletes are learning that it’s not a race but a training session and they all went into groups early on in the session to ensure that they were training at an appropriate pace to complete it all. We certainly turned the heads of the soccer players and coaches who were also there training!

After lunch the team walked the 2km to the beach where Niamh Richardson took them though an S&C session! A number of the athletes then braved the freezing sea conditions! Later in the afternoon Paul Gallagher did a session in the gym on Core and Glute activation. It was great to see some club coaches attend the session as well. The guest speakers on Saturday night were Irish Internationals Mark Christie and Fionnuala McCormack. They gave great insights into their early careers and their first schools international in Bundoran! Mark spoke about his unbeaten streak for years at provincial and national XC and his ambitions from an early age were to run a sub 4 min mile and compete at the Olympics and how he has achieved the former and is hoping to achieve the latter in 2020. Fionnuala on the other hand had no such early ambition and was a relatively late developer into the elite ranks. She went from 7th in the Schools cross country where she got her first international to winning European XC twice!  

Sunday morning was long easy run around a 15 min loop of the College. It was great to hear the chatter and laughter of the athletes as they ran in groups. The team building exercise really worked!

Many thanks to Annette Quegan who put the programme and whole weekend together and to Niamh Richardson, Lisa Dixon, Fintan Reilly some of the lead coaches for hosting the weekend. Special thanks as always to our speakers and demonstrators for giving up their time and thanks also to Athletics Leinster for supporting this Athletics Ireland initiative and to Affidea Ireland for their ongoing support with the endurance programme. Roll on next camp in January 2018.


Munster Junior Endurance Performance Squad Camp Report

The first Affidea Ireland sponsored Munster Junior Endurance Performance squad camp of the 2017/2018 season took place last weekend at the Banna Beach Hotel complex in Co Kerry. There were 50 athletes in attendance and all were highly motivated and brought a great work ethic to the camp for the entire three days.

Friday evening 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 and some team games.

Saturday morning the real work began for the group with various Tempo sessions on the beach/road followed by strides. There were 6 workout groups and all worked very well together showing great teamwork. 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 at the all weather pitch again in the evening for core, hurdle mobility, glute/hip & balance work to finish off a great days training. Joe O Connor held a very informative & interactive S&C workshop while lead coaches Steve Macklin & Pat Hogan also took the group through some hurdle drills & hip/back mobility routine. That night there was an inspirational Q&A with Irish International athletes David McCarthy and Shona Heaslip. Both athletes fielded many questions from the young athletes and there was some great discussion.

Sunday 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 the final workshop of the camp. Here coaches Steve Macklin & Pat Hogan outlined the international competition opportunities for 2018 and the qualifying procedure for each. The carding structure was also explained to the athletes. It was rounded off with a recap from the weekend and the key themes, with all athletes encouraged to take ownership of their own path in athletics and do the simple things right and consistently of long periods of time.

We the coaches would like to thank all the staff at Banna Beach Hotel, they were as always extremely helpful and friendly. We 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, Steve Macklin, Collette O Riordan, Joan Hough, Liam O Brien, Ray Shanahan, Joe O Connor, David McCarthy, Shona Heaslip and the personal coaches for their support over the few days. We are also very thankful to Affidea Ireland for their continued support of the endurance programme. The next camp for the group will be in Jan/Feb 2018. 


Ulster/NI Junior Endurance Performance Squad Camp Report

Click HERE for the Ulster/NI Junior performace squad camp report.

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