Many of the GB team travelling to Latvia have a single race at the World Championships that they are training for. This situation will influence the preparation and training for the weeks beforehand. The ideas below may help when you are thinking about an important race for you, be it the forthcoming World Masters, a home internationals, your club championships, or looking ahead at a particular championship race next year.
If you have an important race that you want to prepare for then there are a few extra things you can do beyond reading the final details. By preparing well you make the situations that will arise during the race less surprising, and you will be able to deal with them with more confidence. This will lead to a better orienteering performance.
Remember every race is unique. It is on a specific area, is a specific type of course and is planned by a specific person. There are ways to deal with all the things that make a race specific - by preparing yourself for them.
You can get an old map of the area, look at photos of the area on the internet and talk to people who have run there. Then you might want to try to answer these questions:
From the map and the details of the race you can make some predictions of what you think the course might be like. This will help you identify what sort of problems you might face. Some things you may end up considering include:
The planner is there to set a course that will challenge your orienteering skills. You are trying to outwit the planner by orienteering round their course very well, and they are trying to lure you into making a mistake. Looking at a map of the area in the mind-set of the planner can help you prepare for some of the challenges you might face. A planner often tries to:
Prepare well, so that when the big race comes you can be focused and in the moment. When you are in the moment you should be able to do everything you have practised.
As I prepare this month for my WOC race - a specific type of terrain and a specific type of race - I will try to simulate that as much as possible.
On The Red Line Editorial. We wish Alasdair well in his continuing preparation for the World Champs Middle race (provisionally 5.6km, 250m climb) which is on 7th August at Sigulda in Latvia.
Ali's previous articles: