This weekend members of the GB Talent Squad continue their preparation for the 2019 season by attending the squad camp in the Surrey Hills. On Friday evening 19 athletes met up at the Juniper Hill centre, in the shadows of Box Hill, to build on the base from previous camps and their winter training.
The weekend is set up to further develop individual skills, to give time for detailed personal discussions with coaches and medical staff, and to familiarise themselves with terrain similar to that of their selection races at the JK.
On Friday evening they were able to review the experiences and lessons from the pre- Christmas Lake District camp and set themselves up for the exercises of the weekend.
They spent Saturday at Winterfold with sessions focusing on route choice and map memory.
In the morning they were faced with a pairs route choice exercise in which each chose a different route and then saw who arrived at the control first. Given the terrain, this was often a choice of straight or around to avoid climb and contours or, as they soon found out, some patches of quite difficult and potentially slow forest.
Following a change to dry clothes and some lunch they then had a separate pairs exercise that tested map memory over some complex and variable legs. Again, straight or longer path and attack point choices were on offer.
During both sessions, the pairs were shadowed for part of their runs by one of the five volunteer coaches.
This meant that as well as their GPS tracking the squad athletes were able to review and analyse not just where they went but how they tackled to challenges of the legs.
Showered and refreshed the athletes then had to opportunity to individually review their day, their activities and also their current and planned training programmes with one of the coaches. They were also able to discuss any injury or remedial exercises and general conditioning with trained medical and physiotherapy staff.
On Sunday, they will travel to the University of Sussex for some sprint training.
Find out how Sunday went - January Talent Squad Weekend - Part 2 here.