Image: Map Extract: 2017 World Cup Latvia Middle Race
At the beginning of the year I applied to the athlete support fund for a grant to spend an extended period of time training in Latvia prior to the World Championships. We already knew that the terrain would be similar to the World Championships 2017 in Estonia. Having raced the Long there I felt I could have done much better if I had gone and spent some time learning about the terrain beforehand. Looking to other members of the team who had got better results than me, and other top athletes, it became clear that all those winning medals at WOC spend considerable time training in relevant terrain. The athlete support fund very kindly gave me a grant and I was selected for WOC middle so I was all set to go. I must also thank the North West Orienteering Association for their support on this training camp as well.
My plan was to spend two to three weeks in relevant terrain. This would give me the opportunity to get good quality orienteering sessions done whilst also maintaining some consistency in my training. The terrain is really physical so it is important to have time to recover properly between the hard sessions.
I felt I needed a bit more racing prior to WOC so I actually started off my training camp in Lithuania competing in Takas 2018. It's a four day competition which I attended last year, so I knew the races and terrain would be good quality. After that I travelled to Latvia where I am staying for two weeks. I am just coming to the end of the first week where I have just been by myself. I have spent the time learning about the terrain and working on various specific bits of my technique.
My impressions of the terrain so far is that it is physical and green. There are some lovely bits of the terrain - pine forest with good bits of visibility and blueberry bushes on the floor. However I don’t think the races are going to just be in the nice bits. In the green it is very hard to hold a straight line, due to so many things knocking you off course. A lot of the time you feel like you are barely moving, crawling under and over fallen trees. Often there is no option round. I think staying calm and persevering will be as important as the technical challenges the terrain presents.
7.30 - Breakfast and physio exercises 8.00 - Get maps together for days training and set aims for training. Admin. 9.30 - Get ready for training and go
Training example - Orienteering intervals at race pace. Several short orienteering courses of ~1.5km each. This training is good for practicing various skills at race pace with full focus. Whilst allowing a short time for review between intervals.
12.00 Back to accommodation for lunch, analysis and a bit of rest.
15.30 Set aims for afternoon training, get ready and go.
Training example - Orienteering at about 50% race pace with a specific focus ~40mins. Sometimes some running intervals at the end - 5x(30s fast/90s easy, 30s fast/30s easy).****
17.30 Shop for food, make dinner, analysis, stretching and relax.
21.30 Bed time zzzz.
I am now coming up to my third and final week where I will be joined by some other members of the British team. We will be working with the Swedish team who are also here on training camp. The programme has various training races planned so this will be a good opportunity to begin transferring the skills I have been working on and all my learning so far to a racing situation. At the end of the week there is a sprint, middle and long race organised by the WOC organisers. Lots of teams are using these races as their selection races so these will be some key races the British team WOC preparations.