Warm Weather Training

training Sasha MattFelly Alex Jonny

Spain Warm weather trainng

British squad members Alex Carcas, Matt Fellbaum, Jonny Crickmore and Sasha Chepelin were in the Edinburgh University performance orienteering team (EUOC) attending a warm weather camp in Barbate, Andalucía, España. For a week they’d be switching the rain, wind and snow for the sun, skog[1] and suspicious parents. The Edinburgh University Performance Orienteering team is funded by Winning Students and the University, to help the athletes to produce good results at the British University Championships and at international competitions.

[1] – skog, the Swedish word for forest

This camp kicks off our technical preparation for the season. Our main aims are the JK at Easter, and the World Championship Test Races in Norway. This week the focus was on training the basic skills and techniques, then next month we will have another training camp in Perthshire to prepare to race, followed by several practice races leading up to the JK. Three of us are at the start of our senior careers, so we are only beginning to learn what it takes to compete at the highest level, and we know it will take consistency over the coming years to break into the World Champs team.

Alex’s plan for the week looked like this:

Day Morning Afternoon
Friday Travel Easy O
Saturday Middle Training Technique - Corridor
Sunday Long Training Rest
Monday Sprint Test Sprint Training
Tuesday Middle Training Night Intervals
Wednesday Long Training Easy Run
Thursday Sprint Test Rest

Though this is what he was trying to do, the advice from performance coach Mark Nixon was not to try do anything different from the personal standard week. Training in Spain is great but also a bit of a danger zone. Doing a bit too much or wearing the wrong shoes could result in a nasty achilles injury (due to the increased load and strain from running in sand) so we were careful to monitor how we were feeling and be aware of niggles and pains.


We stayed in apartments next to a huge forest of over 50square km, all of which is mapped and regularly updated. Orienteering paradise, or paraíso de orientación in Spanish. The terrain was fast sand dune forest, littered with bushes and smaller trees to reduce visibility. Contours were often subtle which required accurate compass bearings and solid plans (generally the plan was to stay On The Red Line). All the athletes on the camp had GPS trackers and we were able to do a good bit of analysis of the courses post training.

When we weren’t running, we could walk two minutes to a beautiful beach. It's probably littered with Brits in the summer, but in the depth of winter we had it all to ourselves. Many antics were had, and with temperatures exceeding 16C (that is 16C more than Edinburgh) and cloudless skies, conditions were perfect for some much needed tanning on our poor, sun starved, vitamin D deprived bodies. We also stamped "EUOC" into a little bit of local Barbate history – Jonny and Fay dominated the downhill Strava segment, both achieving the king and queen of the mountain titles, with Jonny taking it from Swedish superstar Johan Runesson. Take that, mate.


On The Red Line editorial note: Johan Runesson won the prologue forest race at the (Norway) pre-WOC round of the World Cup last year - and is taking up the post of coach of IFK Lidingö (for whom Hector Haines runs.)


This camp has been an exciting beginning to the new year and a good starting point to getting us technically and physically up to scratch in time for the JK and the summer, but has also been useful to show the areas we need to work on. Hoping for a good GB season. #FightTogether

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