The third NI and Ulster Endurance Squad took place at Greenmount CAFRE Campus on Saturday, 18th March. The squad attended by twenty two athletes was delivered by Trevor Painter, Teresa McDaid, Mark Kirk, Allister Woods and Michael Dyer.  Trevor Painter, coach to World and European Medallist Jenny Meadows also delivered a middle distance seminar for coaches at the Hilton Hotel, Templepatrick on Friday 17th March.

Running Participation Officer Allister Woods introduced the squad and explained the importance of aligned athlete-coach development opportunities and training with peers.  Trevor’s presentation highlighted most important components for developing middle distance athletes, explained Jenny’s pathway to success and provided his top tips for young athletes.

Warm Up

Mark Kirk explained the benefits of an easy aerobic warm up run at a comfortable pace allowing conversation (1) before the athletes were led through a series of dynamic exercises by Allister and Michael (Athletics NI Coaching Staff.)  A dynamic warm up is the perfect opportunity for athletes to tune in and focus on posture, stability and specific range of movement in joints that will be used later.  It also provides coaches with a chance to screen their athletes, assessing competency, co ordination, range and posture.

  • Knee up toe up skip x20m
  • Walking Knee to Chest Squeeze with calf raise x10m
  • Knee up toe up skip x20m
  • Heel toe walk x10m
  • Reverse lunge to high knee x8 e/s
  • Lateral Skip x20m
  • Prisoner squats x12
  • Single leg squat & hold  (20 sec) e/s
  • Stiff legged skip x20m
  • Hip hinge x8 e/s
  • Stiff legged skip x20m
  • Bridging from heels x15
  • Stiff legged skip x20m

A typical dynamic movement warm up used on Athletics NI Initiatives can be viewed here: Dynamic Warm Up Video

Running Drills

A series of running drills to encourage tall posture, foot strike under hip and front side mechanics with co ordinated arms were delivered by the coaching team and included:

  • Calf Smashers on the spot
  • Calf Smashers moving forwards
  • Over Ankle-Calf-Knee Dribbles x2 (20m)  Dribbles Video
  • Blended Dribbles x3 (30m)

Interval Session

The main interval session for the day was led by Mark Kirk (Commonwealth Games Coach, 2014) and Teresa McDaid (European XC Team Manager, 2017) and focused on running at threshold (88-92%) HR with good form.(2)

  • 1x6min (3min recovery)
  • 2x3min (90 sec recovery)
  • 3x2min  (1minute recovery)

4mins recovery then 5x80m with 90 seconds between focusing on maintaining form under fatigue

Athlete Education Discussion Groups

Athlete education focused on three key themes which included a)integration of strength and conditioning b) the technical model for middle distance running c) daily monitoring, general wellness and readiness to train.

Download (PDF, 212KB)

Infographic References

R. Milewski, M; Skaggs, D; Bishop, G; Pace, J; Ibrahim, D; Wren, T & Barzdukas, A. (2014) Chronic lack of sleep is associated with increased sports injuries in adolescent athlete. J Pediatric Orthop 34(2): 129-33

Sport Nutrition-2nd Edition; An Introduction to Energy Production and Performance Asker Jeukendrup, Michael Gleeson (2010)

Heart Rate Training By Roy Benson, Declan Connolly (2010)

Physical Preparation Session

Foundation strength exercises (click hyperlinks for video demonstration)

Muscle activation/injury prevention exercises

“This session was designed so that it can be regularly completed at home using small items of inexpensive equipment.” (Laura Kerr, Athletics NI Physical Preparation Lead/ Accredited Strength & Conditioning Coach.)

(1) Easy running is used in long runs, supplementary runs, warm-ups, cool-downs and active recoveries between higher intensity intervals. It constitutes Zone 2 of a six zone training system.The primary benefit of easy running is that it enables you to run more distance without greatly increasing stress on your body. Easy running also develops the capillary network, stimulation of fatty acids and aerobic enzymes. Running too fast during Easy Runs can have a detrimental effect on sessions performed later that day or later in the week. Simply resting between harder runs on the other hand will not allow accumulation of mileage, possibly negating further fitness benefits. Easy Runs are performed below the Lactate Threshold (LT) between 61-80% of maximum Heart Rate (HRmax). Athletes should be able to talk easily at this intensity. Therefore, coaches often encourage this to ensure athletes do not run too fast.

(2) Threshold running sessions are an essential part of any endurance athlete’s training program.  If you work too hard, you risk too great a contribution from anaerobic metabolism, which leads to an accumulation of lactate at a rate at which it cannot be removed.  This leads to rapid fatigue and decreased performance.  Threshold sessions normally take place between 88-92% of Maximum Heart Rate.