There are so many positive stories around coaching, one great example comes from Lagan Valley Orienteers in Northern Ireland which was recently described by one of their members as “thorough and ridiculously inventive”.
Juls Hanvey (Active Clubs Coordinator, Northern Ireland) caught up with Susan Lambe, an enthusiastic member of Lagan Valley Orienteers and one of the main drivers behind their successful training sessions to find out more.
Welcome, Susan! So, what is all this training at LVO we keep hearing about?
"Right from when the club began there has always been Wednesday evening training of some sort. In recent years it's evolved into the WEE (Wednesday Evening Events) series in the summer, WEST (Wednesday Evening Skills Training) in the Autumn and WENT (Wednesday Evening Night Training) through the winter. In the past, there have been gaps between these series but we are now bridging these gaps with our running training. Club member Colin Smith has been a real driving force behind this."
I hear you’ve been involved in running training what do the sessions look like?
"What we are trying to do is create a fun, safe, friendly environment for all levels to train together. Colin made contact with a local rugby club to make use of facilities (the bar in particular!) Our weekly sessions follow the same blueprint, and then I add lots of variety in the actual exercises we do. Our warm-up jog is along the local greenway - it's perfect for us; off-road and lit. We head over to the park for warm-up drills, partner work etc. More recently we have had fun playing around with primal training and working with mobility – this is always great for a bit of craic! Then we get stuck into the session. Hill reps, endurance intervals, speed intervals, getting us faster. Very ready for a cool-down jog after that! Back to the rugby club and a static stretch to finish up. We generally have a good view of a midweek match to distract us!"
Fair play to you all! What do the Club Members have to say about it?
"Well… just last night the training was described as “thorough and ridiculously inventive” - we are getting a lot of love for the Primal Movements!"
Is there much of a Social Aspect?
"We try to keep the whole session totally inclusive - this is designed to be for all levels, even during warm-up, faster runners can go ahead and turn back at every crossing to stay together. Someone is always at the back for encouragement and so no one gets left behind. It really gets people bonding and helps us to move away from the solitary nature of orienteering – giving a chance to chat about what else is going on in the club, arranging volunteer opportunities, lift sharing etc. That face time is so important for us as a club all working towards our shared goal. Not forgetting the pub after!!"
What advice would you give to clubs hoping to increase training opportunities for members?
"Keep it simple, consistent and FUN. We would all love more navigation training but we know the volunteer time that takes – this running training, in particular, has allowed us to continue to meet weekly to keep something low-key going all year round. Give it a go!!"