Orienteering Thoughts

Finding my feet

I haven’t done so much orienteering in the last year, so I’ve been aware of the need for a technical focus if I want to achieve my goals this year. I feel like orienteering training works best in focused blocks and so I’ve planned one in the run up to European Champs and one in the run up to World Champs. I don’t want to use up all my holiday time going on training camps in February when World Champs is in August. I know that this approach leaves me slightly behind the curve in the early season but that is something I’ll just have to deal with.

To try to get something in before the start of the domestic season, my first orienteering block started two weeks ago with a weekend training camp in Stockholm. This weekend was geared around the terrain for Tiomila 2018 and organised by my Norwegian club Lillomarka. The first steps in the forest felt like I was re-learning how to orienteer but thankfully this feeling faded fairly quickly. Over the weekend I ran six orienteering courses, totalling 50km of orienteering (see in my Training log for the weekend).

Snowy fun

The terrain was very interesting but covered in snow. This was probably a blessing in disguise, slowing your progress and ensuring that the navigation was at more comfortable pace. I ran two harder sessions, a night mass start relay training (GPS/Results) and an interval start long distance (GPS/Results), and came away from the weekend with more confidence in my ability. Not having orienteered for a long time, I had feared the worst. Thankfully, I found my orienteering skills were still there, if a bit rusty.

Last weekend I stayed much closer to home and competed at the Scottish Spring races in the Scottish central belt. This was a chance to practice my orienteering at a faster speed before next weekends JK orienteering festival. I wanted to find the right balance between safety and speed for my current skill level. I competed in the Middle (Results/Route), Sprint (Results/Route) and Long (Results/Route) and had a very tired attempt at night orienteering also (Training log for the weekend).

The weekend was a bit of a mixed bag in terms of the navigation but I’m satisfied with where I am before next weekend. I’ve tried to focus on the basics in my navigation, on the good habits which should provide the base to work off in the next few months.

Scottish Spring Middle – Photo by Crawford Lindsay
Next weekend I will be competing at the JK orienteering festival. There are four races over four days (Sprint, Middle, Long and Relay – in that order) and these races are the last opportunity for people to secure a place on the GB team at the European Championships. I am sure that the competition will be fierce. My selection to the team for the sprint distance is already confirmed, but I’d like to start the season on the right foot and make the most of the opportunity to put my orienteering skills under some more pressure. I’m excited to see where everyone is at after the winter.
For those that are interested, a new website has been set up to follow GB elite orienteering. Here you will find updates from the GB orienteering team (including myself) over the course of the season. Hopefully, it will make elite orienteering a little bit easier to follow! Check it out if you are interested.