Following on from the opening day at Carmarthen Leisure Centre on the final weekend of September 2019, the second West Wales Regional Endurance Day was held at Swansea University Sports Village on Saturday 14th December.
2019 has seen the launch of Welsh Athletics Development Programme across athletics event groups in Wales. The Endurance Development Programme is part of this exciting initiative. The Regional Development Programme is the first stage of the Endurance Development Pathway.
Twenty-one athletes from the regions athletics clubs and their coaches attended the second of the three winter regional endurance days.
Similar to last year, these endurance days focuses on offering information to athletes, coaches and parents. The aim was to provide young athletes with tips about how they can become better all-round endurance athletes. Day two saw many regulars return from the previous sessions and a few invited for the first time in 2019.
Being demonstrated across clubs in West, East, South and North Wales by qualified coaches, the day provided young athletes with learning on various strength and conditioning exercises, warm up drills and ways to develop their distance running in small groups.
The other three regions, South, East and North have also hosted their regional endurance days at various locations over recent weeks.
All athletes attending were invited to attend by the region's coordinators, as athletes in a change to 2018 were from the top of the under 15 (year 9), under 17 and under 20 age groups. They were members of Carmarthen Harriers, Pembrokeshire Harriers, Swansea Harriers, Llanelli AC, Neath Harriers and Aberystwyth AC.
The five-hour training day over the weekend in the West Region began with a meet and greet at Swansea Harriers track pavilion, where the brief outline of the day's programme was shared and a re-cap on day 1 at Carmarthen.
Athletes and coaches then made their way over to Singleton Park across the road for the morning session. Endurance runners worked on hills and cross country running whilst walkers also trained on their technique in the same area. They were coached by group leaders Neil Thomas, Pete Freeman, Delyth Brown, Rob Campion and Martin Bell with support coming from Dic Evans (Aberystwyth AC), Gareth Davies (Swansea Harriers), Tony Clements (Swansea Harriers) and Rob Buchan (Swansea Harriers)
In the afternoon after lunch, the group came together in the meeting room for a discussion on 'setting goals for performance.' led by Neil and Rob. There was the opportunity to share good practice and ideas and athletes were encouraged to think about process, performance and outcome goals for their season and the week ahead.
The afternoon finished off with athletes completing a strength and conditioning circuit in the gym as one group with coaches on hand to assist with explaining the exercises and supporting individuals with the correct ways of performing.
Endurance National Talent Development Coordinator commented: "The regional programme offers the opportunity for young endurance athletes and their coaches to train together and also pick up some new skills around lifestyle and physical preparation.
"The endurance development program is an athlete and coach centred pathway that aims to increase the standard of endurance athletics across Wales from club level to Commonwealth Games podium as athletes progress from junior to senior level.
"I hope all involved here have an informative and enjoyable experience."
The third day of the West Wales Regional Endurance Day will return in March 2020 when it moves to Pembrey Country Park. They will, in particular take advantage of the number of fields and paths available at the park, which has hosted the Welsh Athletics Road Relay Championships 2019 and the the John H Collins Gwent Cross Country League last month.
The Regional Hub Sessions coming up soon will give regional level athletes the chance to train together. They will also provide an opportunity for the carry-over of skills learned on the Regional Development Days.
West Wales Regional Athletics will be holding the second Regional Hub U13 - U20 session a few days after Christmas on Sunday 29th December.
All hub training sessions will be held at Pembrey Country Park Ski Centre, start time 10:30am. PLEASE NOTE that any athlete can attend the Hub sessions under 13 - under 20, only the Endurance programme is invite only.
Delyth Brown, Pete Freeman, Sharon Leech, Neil Thomas, Rob Campion and all the coaches reported that Saturday was a very successful day in Swansea. They thanked all the athletes and parents who travelled and attended the second day of the 2019/2020 season.
The Regional and National Endurance Programmes are part of an initiative by Welsh Athletics to support talented athletes and their coaches across Wales. Find out more about the Endurance Programme by going to https://www.welshathletics.org/en/page/endurance?utm_source=Twitter&utm_medium=social&utm_campaign=SocialSignIn
Good Luck in the various cross country and indoor competitions at the start of 2020!