British Orienteering's Talent Squad's Training Camp was held over the summer at Blencathra Field Study Centre, Threlkeld, Keswick, Cumbria.
A couple of Talent Squad athletes who attended this year's Summer Talent Camp have written up a training camp diary of their time spent at camp. Rachel Duckworth (DVO) and Jim Bailey (BOK) kindly agreed.
Day 1 - Sunday: Introductions and Review of Self
After missing my connecting train at Birmingham we (me and Jim) arrived an hour later than everyone else. None the less we were nicely welcomed by the rest of the group. A quick tea and it was then time for our first classroom session. Two hours of idea storming and reflection went by quickly. Topics included our past year and also what we would like to gain from the camp. A brief preview of Monday's training, a 3k time trial and also technical assessment, we were then finished for the night - just in time to watch Love Island!
Day 2 - Monday: Transition Phase
With an early start of 7 o'clock, one we'd have to get used to, we headed up to the main centre for food. The luxury of cereal and cooked breakfast! An hour later we set off in the minibus, Keswick bound. Jackie Newton led the warmup around the park. A very thorough stretching set with many new movements allowing me to loosen up my stiff legs from the previous day of travelling. It was finally time to start rolling out the start. A very slow run from me, due to my asthma, but still a good way to start the week. A middle distance race test was planned for the afternoon, on Simpson Ground, full concentration needed. A bit scrappy from me but I enjoyed it none the less.
Day 3 - Tuesday: Base Phase
After our preview with Mark Nixon, based on isolating the skills, we started some very challenging and different exercises. My favourite is the clock exercise - not knowing the distance or picture. Focusing on the first of the trio, direction. After lunch, we then moved on to picture - making sure we had a detailed picture for every control. A useful debrief with Mark that evening tied the skills back to the whole process.
Day 4 - Wednesday: Pre-Competition General Phase
A beautiful long drive up Wrynose pass dropped us at the bottom of Pike O'Blisco. A very speedy trek up to the base we were suddenly stood in what felt like the middle of nowhere. Only to be told the start was even higher! Setting off in pairs we had two exercises to complete that day. Focusing on our plans and then hopefully executing these perfectly. My personal goal was to get my bearings spot on, the terrain suited this well with the open rocky hillside in my favour. Another tiring day was finished and after Mark Nixon's review it was time to chill.
Day 5 - Thursday: Pre-Competition Specific Phase
A sprint practice event, swim in the lake and then relay practice resulted in my favourite day of the tour. The sprint practice around Keswick was very quick, even though the town was far too busy to pick up real speed. With our morning 'race' finished, a well-deserved dip in Derwent water helped escape the 27-degree heat. Due to problems with areas the planned relay practice in Latrigg fell through meaning we had to use West Cumberland Orienteering Club's Thursday night event on the open fell of Knock Murton. I fell en-route to control 10 and had to retire, I was already struggling with the heat. This injury still didn't seem to ruin my day though!
Day 6 - Friday: Competition Phase
Competition day, back to Pike O'Blisco minus the long walk. Our course was the practice event for the Scottish Six Days, being the last one off I spent nearly the whole course on my own. This probably played to my advantage as to not get distracted. Our plan for this course was to put everything together and run it at race pace. A couple of bogie legs but a fairly smooth run later I was back down at the minibus and heading back down the valley.
A final review of the week, thinking about what we've learnt and what we're going to do going forward, we all went to sleep happy after everyone got some brilliant news.
Thanks to all the coaches for planning a brilliant week and also a special thanks to Paul Murgatroyd for coordinating the whole thing.
Thank you, Rachel. All the very best with your continued orienteering activities and training.
Please note: The Training Camp Diary by Jim Bailey will be published on the website 8th November.