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Cross Country squad day at Abbotstown


On Saturday (October 6th 2018), athletes that had shown Cross Country form in the past 12 months, that would be likely to put them in contention for European Cross Country selection, were invited to take place in a squad day at the National Sports Campus, Abbotstown. Junior and Senior athletes took part in a session of cruised intervals of either 4 or 5 minutes duration off 1 minute recovery around the Cross Country Course which was in fantastic condition. It was a great opportunity for athletes to work and train together with other athletes which  to give each individual a useful indication of progress with their preparation for the championship. With almost all of the athletes that trained on Saturday due to race the Autumn Open Cross Country, and many more athletes that not present that will be in contention, we should have interesting races in two weeks’ time back at Abbotstown.

After lunch athletes and coaches then listened to a talk about Euro Cross preparation from new National Endurance Coordinator, Matt Lockett. Issues that were discussed included: the demands of the Championship; the challenge of planning for the race within a wider annual plan facilitating long term development, and the specifics of this year’s race in Tilburg, Netherlands. High Performance Director, Paul McNamara, briefed the group on the selection criteria.

As 5 time Olympian, Rob Heffernan, begins his new career in working for Bank of Ireland, athletes were given the chance to tap in into his experience via a Question and Answer session. Rob talked candidly about his career. Themes from the discussion were Rob’s thirst for hard work and enjoyment of the process of testing himself against a target. He spoke about monitoring his fitness and form to ensure peak condition at the right time of the year. Rob described how events in his personal life gave him a sense of prospective which helped to overcome race day nerves, together with confidence in the quality of his preparation. Rob’s faith in his own ability and commitment to realise his potential even in the toughest times of his career were very apparent.

Athletes and coaches hopefully took something from the day and should be looking forward to an exciting Cross Country season. Thanks to Affidea Ireland for their support. It was great opportunity to bring athletes and coaches together to share ideas and laughs, as well as the pace!

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