Junior Training, Jan 2022

On Jan 30th, the juniors took part in two events, to get back into the swing of training together as a squad. In Dublin, Juniors from Leinster and Ulster met at Bull Island, and in Cork, the Munster juniors got together at Inchydoney. The focus of both training events was the understanding and use of contours for navigation - and no better place for detailed contours than sand dunes! Turn out was good, with 17 juniors in Bull Island and 11 juniors in Inchydoney - all the way from M/W10 to M/W20. Thankfully, neither venue had particularly bad weather, and everyone enjoyed a good days training.

Tony Cotter's Report from Inchydoney:

After the warm up, the first 2 exercises (1.0 km and 2.0 km) were to follow a pink line on the map and to write down which controls were on the line (several other controls were on features within 10 or 20m of the line).

The next exercise was to follow a path (clear worn path) which had a few tapes on it at junctions and the aim was to draw it on the map while walking it, taking care to get it correct relative to depressions, knoll, hills etc.

Then came the proper running - 2 courses of identical distance (1.2km) with 1/3 controls common and 2/3 different but within 30 - 50m of each other. The juniors were paired up appropriately and set off together, head to head. The older juniors and adults were highly competitive and ran at sprint speeds.

The final exercise was a 1.8km course which they could run at a more leisurely pace.

Dave Masterson's Report from Bull Island:

The whole group started with a warm up jog down the beach, doing an exercise in map reading on the move (using a "map" with multiple fragments of different maps types on one side, and text in varying sizes on the other side) - this kind of exercise can be done by any of the juniors whenever they go for a run.

After this, the group split into two - the more advanced group headed back to the starting point, where they would go through a map contour walk/jog (following a line as closely as possible), followed by various control picking exercises in the southern dunes, with the map at 1:5000 scale (normal scale for Bull Island)

The remainder started off by doing some exercises in the sand on contour visualization and comprehension, building models of various slopes and hills on provided cards. Following this, they also did a map contour walk at 1:2500 - solo, in groups or with parents/coaches as required.

Following this, the group jogged back down the dunes to the initial meeting point, stopping along the way to do some small Trail-O exercises, to see if they were able to identify the correct feature that I was standing on, given several options on a small map fragment.

The whole group had lunch at this point, and this was followed by a two-man relay event in the central dunes, where each team of two had to complete the full set of 10 controls, one at a time wit a map handover after each leg. The controls had been placed earlier by the advanced group, and they also did an exercise where they chased a lead runner around the dunes to various nominated controls - the first runner to reach each control got to pick the next leg. This led to many high-speed pursuits over the dunes!

Finally, we all debriefed and headed our various ways.

Many thanks to all the juniors for working so hard, and a huge thank you to the coaches, parents and helpers that turned up on the day to make this happen. Looking forward to more training days throughout 2022!