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National Junior XC Panel Testing Day At Athlone IT


National Junior XC Panel Testing Day Athlone IT

On Saturday the Irish Junior XC panels came together at the wonderful indoor facility at Athlone IT for some physiological testing. This testing was timed for mid October to coincide also with next week's Autumn Open Cross Country event where all panel members will compete. The testing day and the race will allow all athletes, personal coaches and the national endurance coaching team (Steve Macklin, Joe Ryan and Geraldine Nolan) see where each athlete is at in terms of their preparation towards the European XC Championships in December. There is then time to make any changes that may be necessary to the athletes training, depending on what is seen from both the testing and the race performance at the Autumn Open XC. 

The physiological testing at Athlone IT indoor track involved 5x6 minute stages at increasing sub maximal speeds monitoring lactate and heart rate levels. The sports science team from DCU led by Stephen Cleary and Eoin Durkan conducted the testing with each individual athlete assigned their own tester. The junior women's group began at 12 kph and finished at 17 kph with the junior men starting at 14 kph and finishing at 19 kph. The timing of this test allows athletes, personal coaches and the endurance coaching team to see exactly how well the conditioning phase of the athletes preparation has gone and identify what direction the training should go in for the next phase. 

National Junior Endurance Coach Steve Macklin explains what the coaching team are looking for from the testing: "We essentially want to see how well the first block of training has gone for the athletes and how aerobically conditioned they are at this stage. Our target is for the girls to finish at 17 kph and the guys 19 kph, at paces that should feel slightly challenging for them but under control. At this early stage in October it then puts us in a good place to head into the Autumn Open Cross Country event as their race opener. The next phase of training begins after this race with some then racing at the Lottocrosscup International XC in Belgium on Nov 1st and takes us to the National XC Championships on November 22nd. Following this the athletes have three weeks to fine tune their preparations for the European XC Championships. We are in a good place right now especially with the depth of the junior men, unfortunately we have lost a few of the junior women to injuries but we will continue to keep progressing each week. We are striving for consistency in training now from all athletes which will allow everyone to be on the start line at the National Championships in good shape. We have an exciting workshop lined up following the race next Sunday with Niamh O Sullivan Physical Therapist and Orla Walsh AAI Nutritionist on hand to discuss the Female Triad and nutrition for young female endurance athletes". 

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