The Portugal O Meeting became my season opener because of its fast and open terrain, making it the perfect preparation for this year’s Junior Worlds in Hungary. Thus, I came into these races with a high level of intensity, hoping to simulate as much of a JWOC situation as possible.
Preparation started about a week before with some map reading while running intervals on the treadmill. Here Marius (my training partner from Norway) and I took alternating controls and explained how we would navigate to the control after a short glances at the map.
We then flew into Lisbon a few days early to practice on some sprint maps and bring up the intensity before racing. –after running through the twisting streets of Lisbon my orienteering technique started to wake up and I finally felt like the 2018 orienteering season had begun!
PDFs of the two maps courses we ran:
After settling in for one and a half days we drove to our hotel in the beautiful town of Evora where the first race of POM was situated.
That day we ran on two model maps. We quickly found out about how fast the terrain was. I realized that a large determining factor was going to be how well I could flow in and out of complicated areas.
The second training of the day was in even faster terrain! The flat forest lead to clean orienteering and the frequent use of far away checkpoints. After a few tiny mistakes I realized how important it was to cleanly navigate through the labyrinth of green patches.
After analysis over three days of trainings I began working on goal setting for the upcoming races. Because these were my first orienteering races in over two months I felt a little bit jittery and wasn’t quite sure where I was currently situated against the other juniors. In the end I decided only slightly focusing top 10 overall and instead concentrating on improving off of each day in the hopes of piecing together better and better races. 🙂
Day 1 – The Sprint
The first race was a demanding 8.1km sprint. After a walk through the town the night before we saw how streets were relatively clear and easy to navigate around and knew right away that this would be a runner’s race. Because of that I focused on building up my race with the goal of trying to have a strong, clean finish.
Things started off well, but after the third control I settled in a bit too much. This lead me neglecting a turn while on route control 4 from which I then had to backtrack, which became a 25 second mistake. Right afterwards another mistake occurred from not reading the map closely enough, causing me to me miss a small extra turn on the way to control 5, costing me another 50 seconds.
After those two mistakes I refocused, increased the map reading and intensity, and completed the rest of the race at a strong tempo, which helped bring me up from 23rd to 3rd.
Day 2 – Long
The sprint reminded me of how important it was took keep up my intensity while orienteering. In order to try and do that all while allow myself to run cleanly I set myself two goals: to have frequent map reading and to fully understand the control circle before entering it.
The race started out with a smooth first control, but I started messing around as soon as I was dumped into the more technical terrain. This early-race mistake was something I had hoped against having and I became a bit disappointed in myself. But I reminded myself that there was still a long race ahead of me and I refocused and much like I had in the sprint, started orienteering with more intention.
I was able to put together a relatively smooth rest of the race. But the accumulation of a few too many 30 second mistakes caused by a relaxed focus lead to me only making it back up to 10th place. After analysis later that night I happily realized the potential race I had inside of me, which was demonstrated by the allocation of top 6 splits throughout the race.
Note: By the end of the race my upper back muscles were spasming in pain and I had accumulated two very nice blisters as shown above 😉
Day 3 Middle Distance (plus a bonus sprint)
Because of how much the long distance had taken out of my body I decided to only focus on the middle distance race today and use the extra night sprint as a shake out jog. For the middle my goal became to focus on using my compass more often by checking it on the way in and out of controls and to continue with visualizing the control circle before entering.
The race started off really well and after a series of 8 controls I was leading the race. But once the technical potion came around (between 8-10) I started to run faster than I could orienteer and that lead to several 15 second mistakes. I was able to put myself back together for a few controls but as fatigue rolled in so did a few more mistakes. By the end of the race running above my orienteering speed and sloppy mistakes throughout the final portion of the race had caused me to lose two minutes to the lead and I placed 7th.
Day 4 – Long Distance
Coming into the final day of racing I was ranked 5th overall and my dad calculated the times that I would need to win by in order to move up based off of a 52min winning time.
- Move to 4th – beat Haberkorn by 12 sec
- Move to 3rd – beat Prygma by 1:51
- Move to 2nd – beat Skyora by 4:06
- Move to 1st – beat Guilhem by 11:30
I new that if I could put together a solid race the podium was within reach. With that goal in mind I shifted my focus towards technique.
The previous races demonstrated that my largest struggles had been running ahead of myself in technical areas and relaxing too much in the easier ones. Therefore, I decided to focus on visualising my plan for technical controls and on reading the map like a book while running throughout easier areas.
The race started off controlled and fast, and after losing myself a bit on the way to control 4 I refocused and prepared to continue pushing.
Coming into control 14 I knew I was going to struggle. Even though I slowed down and made myself aware to be careful, I forgot how much just stopping and planning out the control would help. This lack of patience lead to a foreseeable 1 minute mistake.
This mistake sparked me to refocus and push hard to the end, helping me come top two in five of the last seven controls and win the race.
My result here moved me up to third overall, and helped me achieve my goal of making the podium! Overall these races gave me lots of insight into how I can continue to improve my orienteering this season and proved that I am already started from a strong position.
I will now continue increasing my base training for about a month and a half now and then head to Hungary for my second JWOC training camp before starting phase 2 and 3 of my season (interval and speed time). 🙂
Overall Results: Link
Podium Pictures coming soon 🙂
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