Portugal Camp


Portugal Training Camp 2022

After 2 years Ennis Track athletes head off to Portugal, more specifically Falésia for their warm weather training camp. Many nights organising has gone into making this a reality and much appreciation is given to Pat, Marie, Ita and Ger for their hard work. Thank you to all the parents for their patience, understanding and help as well.

Why do athletes go on a warm training camp – its only a holiday some say, well anyone who has been on a warm training camp will attest that holidays come in different forms and this is definitely focused on training and recovering. Warm weather as the pictures will show the sun is shining, and the athletes are enjoying training in the sunshine (while we still light our fires and stare out at the rain here). Secondly the days are just spent on training, away from home distractions, days of just focused training being watched and analysed by their coach. Along with the running, time for recovery is most important, stretching, yoga, sleep, this goes hand in hand with their training.

Each day pictures, vblogs etc will wing its way to us from Portugal showing us a snippet of how the training is going over there, not to mention the haircuts, meal successes/disasters etc.


All dressed up and out for their final meal.

earlier on heading to their favourite haunt


The training sessions continue to grow with athletes from all over Ireland joining in.

Easter Sunday

After the long run which saw our athletes joined by friends and guests from a a range of other clubs, the athletes headed off for some fun at the Waterpark


The temperatures are rising but not slowing down these athletes. 8:45 saw the morning Track & Field session and 10 a.m. for the Cross Country Session. Everyone receiving great encouragement


The training continues with plenty time for the beach and pool, bringing the day to an end with the famous Quiz Night

Day two

The day starts with sunshine and training and ends with laughter and pizza.

Day one


Day 10  – 23rd April 2019

The Highs & Lows of the last 10 days – comments ranging from “brilliant 10 days, everybody has worked hard, no drama, everyone working together, mighty camp altogether, bringing something with us that we can use back home, Landers taking the mick, lot of effort in organising camp, best camp without a doubt, everyone got on well together, great vibes, Brian taking us for ice-cream, getting to know everyone, weather not great but good, kids amazing everyone of them they worked so hard, will definitely be back, something I will remember, getting 2 weeks of training done properly”…

Liam Naughton thank you from all not at the camp for getting these video clips organised and posted for us.  Conor Devane for organising some hilarious entertainment nights and lots lots more.  To everyone who made the 10 days the “Best Camp Ever” well done and thank you.

This is the link, enjoy https://youtu.be/I10dkQDsMAk

Day 9  – 22nd April 2019

The last session in what can only be described as Irish weather, but they all seemed to be “loving the pain.”  From all the athletes in Portugal they want to say a massive thank you to Pat Hogan for organising this training camp and his time and dedication to each and every one of them.  Roll on the track season.

This is the link, enjoy https://youtu.be/I10dkQDsMAk

Day 8  – 21st April 2019

The greatest achievement so far on this trip – Saving Donal Devane’s life or the very least preventing a leg amputation from a killer wasp, it seemed to like the Mayo Blood, or maybe it was the porridge made from chocolate milk!!!!!

“Ennis track is a geat club, all excellent runners, very good friends, make it a lot more enjoyable the sign of a great running club, ye are doing well and ye are enjoying it and its fun

This is the link, enjoy https://youtu.be/I10dkQDsMAk

Day 6  – 20th April 2019

After someone managed to lose a full recording of the morning session bar an impression of Ger Loughnane, “technical difficulties” were cited…Mark was responsible for the evening recording,  A 25 min session and yoga.  A lovely recording of what the course is like, training as a group, an excellent yoga session bar the dodgy green guy in the middle!!!   Jenny explains the importance of physio for distance runners.

This is the link, enjoy https://youtu.be/I10dkQDsMAk

Day 5  – 19th April 2019

Todays plan was easy 25 minute run, nothing too hard and then two groups went paintballing which ended up reminding them what it is like living in Ireland – getting soaked in the rain!!   Master Hogan has named the Caseys as being the sneaky ones to watch out for in paintballing.  Dylan and Mark have a hit list organised against Jo – nothing like teamwork in Ennis Track!!

This is the link, enjoy https://youtu.be/I10dkQDsMAk

Day 4  – 18th April 2019

Todays plan was morning run, circuits and relax (recover).  Ben in charge of the content today….A little cold pool work followed by talented games of connect 4 and an evening of discovering a little bit about everyone…who said tattoos????

Kevin and Darragh have both wrote a little summary of the first four days:-

Portugal Trip:
Kevin Chesser:
Day 1:
I flew to Portugal on my own on Friday the 12 th of April, before the main group, on arrival I was
collected by the hardy men of Donal and Conor Devane, Darragh Lynch and Mark Hanrahan. The
guys were here for three days already and it was easy to tell by the colours of their skin what the
weather was going to be like.

We got to bed at 1 a.m., because my flight was late in the evening, but work never stops. In our
paths was a session of 8 x 4 mins off 2 min recovery designed by the great Pat Hogan. We all tried to
stay together as we ploughed through the trails of Monte Gordo, myself and Landers ended up doing
the 8. It was tough and very hot. In the evening we all did a recovery run and a circuit session in an
abandoned marquee on the beach.

Day 2:
I woke like the rest of the guys with tired bodies but a focused mind to complete each run and
session as best I could. We set off on a long run, some doing 60 mins and others deciding to get
more time on the legs and doing 80 mins. Then the rest of the day was used for rest and some
exploring of the beautiful seaside town of Monte Gordo (full of retirees and competitive athletes, a
strange combination really.) We were all fit for bed that night, let me tell you.

Darragh Lynch
Day 3:
It was time to meet the rest of the gang back at Faro airport and make our way to the familiar local
village of Praia da Falesia (15mins from Albufeira). Our accommodation as per usual was great, thank
you Pat. As eager as some of us were to get down to Pedro’s and out in to the sunshine, we had to
tune in to the guidelines set out in a meeting before kick starting or camp. The first activity was to
get a short run completed on the xc course. Some of the group doing 2 laps, others 3 laps and for the
brave 4 loops. After the day’s activities, it was time for a bit of grub that evening. Soon followed by
bed and dreams of Olympic gold.

Day 4:
Day 4 was session day for some, the session was set for the evening. This made it important to
entertain ourselves throughout the day without expending unnecessary energy.  This is a key skill to
learn, as with a lot of track competitions this summer, races can be on late in the evening. Pat has
made it clear to learn this skill so that athletes will get the best out of themselves on the day of

The two sessions were a Fartlek session on the cross-country course and a track session. Both
sessions were very tough with all athletes working hard together. After all the days exploits people
chilled out, recovering both their bodies and minds.

This is the link, enjoy https://youtu.be/I10dkQDsMAk

Day 3  – 17th April 2019

Kicking off with a bit of flexability, I Spy, The “Everest” of books, Pedro’s Recovery Food, a bit of Baaaaa company on evening run, and rounding off with some HaHaHaHa evening entertainment.  They are looking like they have things in order.  This is the link, enjoy https://youtu.be/I10dkQDsMAk

Day 2  – 16th April 2019

They have settled in, the plan for the day is Morning Run & Strides – Supermarket Shop – Evening Session.  “The weather is smashing, not too hot but warm enough.”  And with Brian Murphy “going to educate the young lads, egg them on to be the best they can be!!!”  What could possibly go wrong.   This is the link to their 2nd day enjoy https://youtu.be/I10dkQDsMAk

Day 1  – 15th April 2019

They jetted off amid wind warnings but nothing was going to stop these athletes from their training.  They landed to sunshine and all arrived safely to their accommodations.  Lots of very excited smiles which were then brought out for a 40min run in the Cross Country Course.  This is the link to their first day enjoy:- https://youtu.be/wUqLa7Z9zD0

They are jetting off today and keep an eye on this page as we keep you up to date with events unfolding in Portugal!!!


Some of Ennis Tracks  junior and youth athletes are experiencing a training camp that they will never forget in Portugal.  Each day a report will be sent to keep us current on how things are progressing over there.  For our athletes who are too young yet, this is what you can be working towards…

Blog Post 1   by Shona Power & Stephen Maher 

(Wednesday 28th March 2018)

The group arrived at the airport tired but excited for the tough camp to come. Coach Hogan herded everyone through security and towards the boarding gate. From the view of an onlooker the foam rollers and yoga mats may have seemed strange but to us they are absolutely vital. We were quickly bundled onto the plane and soon on our way to sunny Albufeira.

The flight went off without a hitch, and we arrived perfectly on time in Faro airport. There were four minibuses waiting for us on our arrival and took us all to our final destination of Praia de Falésia.

After settling into our apartments Pat had arranged a meeting to outline the rules, aims and plan for each day. Training would begin at 9am with yoga, circuits and a possible second running session in the afternoon.

The groups first training session began the same afternoon at 3 o’clock with two groups doing an easy run on the cross country course and two other groups doing a more challenging progressive run on the roads. After everyone’s work was finished circuits were grinded out by the pool. For our yoga sessions the group is split in two groups; Group A and Group B. Yoga helped clear any grogginess left from the flight and refreshed us all for the next days training!

We decided to go out for our first meal to a local pizzeria where big plates of pasta and pizza were eaten to fuel the next days workouts. The tiredness that had built up over the day started to take its toll and more and more people filtered away to catch up on some much needed sleep!

If the rest of the camp is even half as good as day 1 it could well be our most successful trip yet.

Blog Post 2 by Kevin Chesser & Paudi Cahill

(Thursday 29th March 2018)

The group rose early this morning with tired heads from the hard training session on the first day.

Most had a nice healthy bowl of porridge, whether they liked or disliked the taste of nutritious oats.

A meeting was scheduled for 8.45, Pat took the floor to outline the day’s events.  Everyone listened tentatively to sensei Pat.

Kevin Chesser took the warm up, the idea was to loosen out for the early morning run.  Each group of athletes proceeded with a 40 / 30 / 20 min run.  To our surprise Pat took the group for more stretching routines after the run.  Everyone was delighted about this 😊.

After the morning session, two people from each apartment went to do the shop for the next nine days. In the meantime, everyone split into groups. Some went for food and a café com leite at the infamous Café in the village. Owned by our long-time friend Pedro. See the photo below that illustrates this:

While others partook in a game of cards with a beautiful view at their side:

In the evening came the second session of the day.  This is not a regular for most in the camp, but they invited the challenge. Once completed, the next stage of training was an hour session of yoga. The group was split into two groups, the idea of the yoga is to loosen out the body and calm the mind after a strenuous day of activities. Pat’s hair is looking luscious in this pic.

Day 3 by Conor Mulchrone & Elise Mulcaire

(Friday 30th March 2018)



Day 4 Vlog by Dara Chesser & Leah O’Neill


Day 5 by Jo Keane & Darragh Lynch

Bon Jovi (we’re half way there)
“The world ain’t all sunshine and rainbows. It’s a very mean and nasty place and I don’t care how tough you are it will beat you to your knees and keep you there permanently if you let it”. Yep that Rocky quote we’ve all heard for a little gentle reminder.

Running is no easy feat and out here on camp that’s something that most of the group already know and others will inevitably come to realize. There will be more bad days than good days. Injuries, sickness, you name it something will come along and interrupt your running routine.

Sometimes, Camp is not all it’s cracked up to be, you can be put in tricky situations and you have to learn to cope with it. Yes , A slap in the face for us competitive persons.

So what have we learned?
“Growth mindset” and “positivity” get us through the sessions, ham and cheese sandwich’s fuel us and Coach Hogan has brought a great bunch of lads together again!

Day 6 by Rianne & Liam Naughton

6th day of camp, and a pseudo day of rest was well received.  Instead of the usual routine of training, yoga, circuits and more training, 16 members of the group travelled to a shopping centre in Faro after an easy morning run.

A break from camp was welcomed and so was the chance to pick up some bargains.  There were many sports stores for athletes to search for some new gear, after popping into Pull & Bear of course. The trip also included many trips to the food court. When you have an afternoon free from training it is great to get plenty of food in for any upcoming training.

The remaining athletes opted to stay in HQ for the day having visited the shopping centre in Faro on previous trips. For them, training started at a later time of 10 am allowing for a slight sleep in. An easy run on the trails was followed by the a standard trip to Pedro’s for a coffee, some Portuguese delicacies and time spent shooting the breeze in the sun. Making the most of our rest day, 7 athletes treated themselves to lunch at a tapas bar nearby, enjoying the local produce of the Algarve and the surrounding views from the tapas bar. The rest of the day was spent mooching around, embracing the Algarve lifestyle including coffee, napping and ice cream.

These days are important to help athletes enjoy and also manage during their time at camp. Lights went out early tonight in preparation for the last big workout on Tuesday morning.

Day 9 by Catherine O’Brien

The 2018 warm weather camp is drawing to a close, we’re packing up and getting ready for the last supper.  I write this as the athletes are beside the pool doing their circuit class.  I am not a runner, as much as Pat Hogan has tried to convince me over the years to give it a go, I’ve been one of the few to ignore his advice.  I came on this trip, uninitiated into the parallel universe that is athletics.

What have I seen?

  • Stating the obvious here but warm weather makes us all happy
  • If you see a group of male runners and you aren’t sure of their names, calling out “Chesser” will probably get a positive response
  • The detailed preparation that has brought about this trip is huge
  • Compassion and empathy is alive and well despite what the media tells you
  • Threading blisters is a game changer
  • Aloe Vera is a must every evening
  • Damien Landers managed to introduce a new phrase into our vocabulary without much effort “Hah?”
  • Competitiveness on the road / track solidifies friendships off the track
  • Almond tarts, Almond croissants, Almond cakes are pretty much a staple of our diet (it’s protein)
  • The yoga classes became competitive as reaching for our toes first was set as a challenge (not by me!)
  • SISU (Finnish term for grit/resilience) makes sense to all of us
  • Pat Hogan’s vision to give this group a professional, athletic experience is not only remarkable but has made me proud to be part of this team for the last week.

Day 10 by Ben Deasy & Damien Landers

Daily Routine

The group gathered every morning at 8:45 am for a meeting to discuss the days schedule before we began our stretching routine at 9:00 a.m,  ably demonstrated by Kevin Chesser.  Each individual had their own routine before the pre-workout assembly. While some chose to head to the beach for a swim to get their bodies prepared for the days challenging training schedule, more decided to sleep on a little later to help them fully recover from the previous day’s exercises. It’s fair to say that athletes had no difficulty getting out the bed every morning while on this camp as each individual looked forward with great excitement to each day which was full of activities in beautiful sunshine to be enjoyed with friends. We were living the dream as we got the opportunity to enact the lifestyle of a professional athlete for 10 days.

Everyone awaited the daily schedule at the morning meeting with eager anticipation. The meetings lasted about 15 minutes which was followed by a stretching routine and our morning run. Each athlete was assigned to a specific training group based on their own individual training programmes and goals. After our morning shake out, athletes recuperated and got ready for the evening session by refueling the body with good quality food.  Many athletes went for a swim in the sea to further help with recovery. It was so convenient that the sea was in such close proximity as we could use it to help with lactic acid build up and overall muscle tightness. The athletes that had any niggle or needed a massage made an appointment with the team physio for the camp, Cornelius who dealt with any injury problems to great effect. It wasn’t long again before we had our evening run which was followed by some circuit training and yoga. On this particular day, the run was conducted on the very challenging cross country course followed by some hill sprints.

The circuit training which consisted of core work and plyometrics was delivered by our coach Pat Hogan. This type of training is very effective as it helps improve posture, build strength, power and can help athletes avoid injuries caused by weak muscles. The yoga was another excellent addition to our training programme and it was expertly delivered by our yoga teacher, Catherine. The yoga helped us to recover from our demanding training programme by loosening tight muscles while also improving our core strength and posture. It was also quite fun and it help us to relax and wind down mentally after each exhausting day.

This was followed by a meal that was prepared by two members of each apartment. Two people were assigned to a particular day at the beginning of the camp. Of course there were people assigned to wash-up too.  The day was rounded off in style with an entertainment activity which on this occasion involved a quiz. It’s safe to say everybody had a good laugh.

Thanks to Pat for organizing such a great 10 days of training.

Damien Landers and Ben Deasy