Talent Development Squad move into pre-competition phase

This weekend saw the talent development squad carrying out their physical training at Sedbergh School and their technical training in the South Lakes as they moved into the pre-competition phase of their training programme.

After building their strength and endurance through the autumn and early winter, the squad joined together at Sedbergh to explore how they can now develop the power-endurance that will be needed for their competitions in the spring and summer. In addition, they practised their map-contact skills in order to become more autonomous when relating the map to ground at speed.

Sedbergh School played host on Saturday, where the squad spent time in the classroom to look at their own physiology and understand what is required to develop the relevant fitness components required to be competitive this summer. Afterwards it was time to go out and make the most of the hills. The athletes took part in a hill session that challenged speed, strength and technique. After refuelling they headed to the gym where physiotherapist, Kim Baxter, facilitated a session that allowed them to assess their functional movement strengths and weaknesses. For the final session of the day, the athletes made use of the track to work at the top end of their anaerobic lactate system and toleratation of acidosis.

On Saturday evening, senior athlete, Mark Nixon, took centre stage for a 'geeking' session that got everyone's brains into gear for Sunday's technical sessions. The focus for the technical sessions was map-contact and specifically the planning stage of PDP (plan, direction, picture). Mark challenged the athletes to describe the plans they would make on each leg of an exercise that the Elite Development Squad had undertaken during their training camp at the beginning of the month and afterwards, asked the athletes to plan courses for each other on maps they had brought from home.

Sunday morning saw the squad out at Barrowfield Wood where Quentin Harding coached the session with an emphasis on map-contact, the importance of recognising primary and secondary features, reading the terrain (including recognition of where there may be variance or interference) and consideration of optimum speed over terrain and distance.

Many thanks goes to Jon Richardson at Sedbergh School for the warm welcome and use of the school's facilities; to Mark Nixon for transporting the Scottish athletes to the camp and providing invaluable coaching support; to Quentin Harding for the hours spent planning and delivering the technical sessions, to Lewis Taylor for control hanging and mentoring; to South Ribble Orienteering Club for organising access and to the Northern England District Forestry Commission for allowing access. We would also like to thank Nigel, Liz and Margaret at Sedbergh Bunk Barn for the fabulous accommodation and amazing meals.

Posted on Sunday 19th January 2014