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Attackpoint - performance and training tools for orienteering athletes

Training Log Archive: MCrone

In the 7 days ending Jul 15, 2017:

activity # timemileskm+m
  Orienteering11 7:14:07 31.97(13:35) 51.45(8:26) 2406
  Strength1 30:00
  Running2 5:16 0.57(9:10) 0.92(5:42) 14
  Total12 7:49:23 32.54 52.37 2420

» now

Saturday Jul 15, 2017 #


So I've kind of given my sprint race report so I'm going to briefly talk about my long distance and middle.

I didn't have a great long race. I messed up the route choice to 2 and lost about 10-15 minutes. At that point I was considering ditching it... But I thought that I might as well finish. I wasn't in the race channel which is what cost me when I made the mistake. I tried to remain in the channel for the rest of the race and it seemed to work.

It was really tough going and most of the time the best option was to run hard along the road and pick a solid attackpoint before going into the control. There wasn't much going straight, it just wasn't very runnable at all and the vegetation and marshes were very physical. Physically I was actually just fine. I had quite a bit of energy going into the final loop and I received multiple comments about the amount of energy that I had left. But that usually means that your orienteering hasn't gone so well!

What was great was that it seemed like although I hadn't done many long runs I had the race fitness from doing some long races. Ideally if we want to compete in the long you really have to train specifically for it though. I haven't done enough terrain running and the orienteering over the past three weeks has been extremely physical.

I was quite anxious for the middle distance... I had a slightly better start time which I was hoping to use to my advantage. I also knew that there would be nothing strange like a butterfly. I started conservatively and picked the road route choices wherever I could. This actually cost me significant amounts of time where straight was a lot better. The safe route choices may have prevented me from making big mistakes, but at the same time I lost a lot of time on short legs where I could have just navigated from feature to feature. It's something to learn from. I just didn't feel very confident in the terrain! An Irish guy and I worked together really well though and I felt like I had a reasonable race. This didn't really show position wise though, just reflecting exactly how out of my depth I am in the forest.


So I'd like to start a public discussion on how we move forward. I had initially published something late last night, but I didn't want it to affect the junior's relay preparation so quickly removed it.

What is the best way forward for elite orienteering in South Africa? My own opinion may be one that is a little controversial for the purists... I believe that we need to focus our efforts on only sprint orienteering. We do not currently have any financial support from the federation which means that training camps in terrain are pretty much out of the question. Some orienteers do have extensive experience in different countries, but we're yet to really perform in the forest. So is it worth beating a dead horse? In order to really compete in the forest we need someone to move to Europe solely for orienteering. And that is just competing, say maybe placing in the top 50 at WOC. I still believe that it will take, and Coni confirms, around 2-3 years of living here solely to train and compete to actually get to that level. We're yet to find someone who will make the move, but if we do maybe that will also inspire others to take the same path.

In the meantime, we haven't managed to find the very technical terrain in South Africa that can prepare us for overseas competition. And even then, we're competing against the New Zealanders and Australians that spend years in Europe just to improve their orienteering.

We may be able to compete at JWOC. Brad pulled off a great result to qualify for the A final for the middle. But that is also JWOC. You're racing against people your age. You don't compete against people like Daniel Hubmann, Olav Lundanes, Maja Alm and Tove Alexandersson.

So why should we race in the forest races at WOC? I find it incredibly interesting that even the juniors enjoy the sprint the most. It's pretty disheartening to race in the forest and do badly... I wonder why we enjoy the sprint so much? Is it just because we're relatively good at it?

When it comes to sprint orienteering things are completely different. We have the terrain, we have excellent maps. There's also slightly more competition. This means that when compared to other nations we are actually better technically prepared. It was really strange coming to the UK where park races are far more common than urban sprints. And most urban sprints are actually longer urban races. I've actually maybe suffered from the lack of technical sprint orienteering that I'm used to in South Africa.

So please, I am really interested in the opinion of my fellow South Africans. I think that we should stop messing around in the forest at the WOC level. Until we can compete at the top of the field in 5 days events we are simply not ready.

And when it comes to sprint there are no excuses to not perform. I was a good sprint orienteer even before I moved to Europe. We have technical training in South Africa. There is also no excuse to go to an international competition when you are not fit. That is something purely within your control. Representing your country shouldn't just be a cool holiday where it is ok to travel across the world when you haven't put the physical preparation in.

Of course, I do not mean to overemphasise elite orienteering in any way. We have made some great strides when it comes to development. But it also helps to have fellow orienteers to look up to and aspire to. It can drive the conversion from the school's league to the club level.

So what do you think?
9 AM

Orienteering 23:58 [3] 1.7 km (14:06 / km) +70m 11:42 / km
shoes: Inov8 Oroc 280 0116

11 AM

Orienteering 25:35 [3] 3.99 km (6:24 / km) +131m 5:30 / km
shoes: Inov8 Oroc 280 0116

Friday Jul 14, 2017 #


So here is maybe another post WOC reflection. I've been spending the past week with OLV Zug at the 5 Days of TyrOL in Austria. It has been really great to be a part of two absolutely awesome European Clubs. SLOW is maybe a little less social than Zug but that is probably because this is the first time that I have been on a training camp with a club. In general I have just been with SLOW to events all over the UK.

I think that I have been extremely lucky, but I think that it also says a lot about the sport of orienteering. It is so much more than just about running in a forest or a city, the people that you meet along the way always seem to be absolutely incredible people. And the community that we have seems to transcend borders as well. Orienteers in other countries are always willing to help out, even when they have never met you before. It's part of the magic to the sport.

When arriving in London I didn't really know what to expect, but I was really lucky in that I already knew Paul and Dorte and they have been incredible from the start. It's always tricky moving to a new city. And I didn't move for orienteering, but rather to study, and so it was great to feel at "home" even when I was so far away from my friends. I've been to far more events than I had ever hoped for and this year I've also been lucky to travel with Matt around Europe, exploring Italy and Denmark. I'm now on the verge of moving to a new country, leaving many of my orienteering friends behind, but I also know that they'll remain my friends forever because life is far too short not to go orienteering with the people that I've meet.

I have one day left of my training camp with OLV Zug and so I'd like to start reflecting on that as well. We did a short training the day after we arrived in Steinach a.B. and then we did the first 3 days of the TyrOL before another 3 days of training. Coni has been fanstastic at organising all of the sessions. The focus is slightly different to the traditional SA training camps because the terrain here is far more technical. You are no longer limited by what terrain is available and so you can choose the best areas for specific training. We've been quite lucky in that Coni has also managed to get courses from other Swiss clubs that are also in the area.

So what is it like training with a Swiss club? Well, firstly, there is a bit of a language barrier, but they have been great at including me wherever they can. It's a lot like Big 5 in a way. You spend days sharing meals and running in new places. You get to talk about orienteering. And of course there is the usual gossip that seems to follow everyone around! The orienteering stories are also very special, those coming from one M80 in particular.


I also managed to be "member of the day" today. Coni was concerned that I may change my mind about coming to help after I had been invited to go to WOC. I suppose that it comes down to not letting people down... But I'm really glad that I still ended up coming...
9 AM

Orienteering (Igls Nord : POC) 27:18 [3] 3.71 km (7:21 / km) +148m 6:08 / km
shoes: Inov8 Oroc 280 0116

Orienteering (Igls Nord No Paths) 26:12 [3] 4.19 km (6:15 / km) +118m 5:29 / km
shoes: Inov8 Oroc 280 0116

Spoke to Coni and the idea was for me to just go as fast as possible. Slight error to 5 where the forest had been felled so the feature was now in the open (Coni's response was just that I should have realised :P). And then a small parallel error to 17 where I ended up in the green... was horrible.

Rest of the map was absolutely fantastic. Rather sobering after a few weeks of the "green hell".
12 PM

Orienteering (Igls Nord : CC) 20:55 [3] 2.41 km (8:41 / km) +83m 7:24 / km
shoes: Inov8 Oroc 280 0116

Thursday Jul 13, 2017 #

10 AM

Orienteering (Obernberger See : POC) 9:15 [3] 1.3 km (7:05 / km) +209m 3:56 / km
shoes: Inov8 Oroc 280 0116

Orienteering (Obernberger See : Picking) 35:51 [3] 2.42 km (14:49 / km) +31m 13:56 / km
shoes: Inov8 Oroc 280 0116

Control picking in a very technical area of the map. Coni had initially planned to put out controls in the area, but she came back and said that she wasn't confident in putting them out so felt that it would be silly to send the less experienced orienteers out. I went latter with a member of another Swiss club who had been there before and we went from control to control and just confirmed with each other that we were in the right place.

Extremely technical area that reminds me of France. Crazy amounts of detail on the map and tricky to pick what to navigate by. The fact that we had seen Tove in the morning is probably also an indication that it is probably a good area to train in.

And the view...
2 PM

Orienteering (Obernberg Waldesruh) 12:01 [3] 1.5 km (8:01 / km) +27m 7:22 / km
shoes: Inov8 Oroc 280 0116

Short course. Everyone put out either one or two controls and we then visited them. Ended up being kind of a sprint on a 1:10000.

Wednesday Jul 12, 2017 #

11 AM

Running 1:02 [3] 0.23 km (4:31 / km)

Orienteering race (TyrOL Stage 3 : Long) 1:37:52 [3] 11.89 km (8:14 / km) +671m 6:25 / km
shoes: Inov8 Oroc 280 0116

Nössachjoch 1:15000

The course was very tricky. Contouring along the slope again was often quite difficult and it also became difficult to pick up the features along the way. No very big mistakes so much better than yesterday. Legs are very tired at the moment. It has been a very long 2 and a half weeks (and I am looking forward to a rest).

Silly mistake to 13 which was at the end of the long leg... grrr... parallel error.

Also completely pointless butterfly. All the controls were within 400m of each other or so, very strange.

Tuesday Jul 11, 2017 #

12 PM

Orienteering race (TyrOL Stage 2 : Middle) 1:01:20 [3] 6.12 km (10:01 / km) +410m 7:31 / km
shoes: Inov8 Xtalon 212 0216

Very steep! Also very tricky to contour in this kind of terrain, I was slipping everywhere. Thought that these shoes would be better than spikes but now I'm not so sure. Hoping for a better long tomorrow and I'll use my spikes.

This is what happens when you send a sprinter into the forest. But I did enjoy it :).

Bergeralm 1:10000

Monday Jul 10, 2017 #

6 PM

Running 4:14 [3] 0.69 km (6:05 / km) +14m 5:33 / km

Orienteering race (TyrOL Stage 1 : Sprint) 14:12 [3] 3.89 km (3:39 / km) +57m 3:24 / km
shoes: Flite BW 0612

5th place, 1:05 down on Martin Regborn which I am pretty happy with. Quite a few route choices where I didn't have the most optimal route... Just need to get in some more technical training for sprint. I'm definitely getting a lot more consistent. I never have big mistakes anymore and I can always pull off reasonably good races.

Steinach a.B. 1:5000

Sunday Jul 9, 2017 #

Strength 30:00 [3]

Time to get strong. I am planning to incorporate three core sessions into my normal training when I get to Switzerland. This is what Simon and Andi do (core after each normal week day run). Session with Coni and the OLV Zug members. I was the only young man there...

Core, legs etc.
10 AM

Orienteering (Serlesjöchl) 50:07 [3] 5.51 km (9:06 / km) +312m 7:06 / km
shoes: Inov8 Oroc 280 0116

Just running around the map and went to some of the fixed controls along the way. Crazy steep. I'm really not use to this kind of orienteering on a slope.

Orienteering (Serles Sprint 1:5000) 21:38 [3] 2.11 km (10:14 / km) +104m 8:13 / km
shoes: Inov8 Oroc 280 0116

Shocking... Didn't really get into the map. Felt further than 1:5000.
1 PM

Orienteering 7:53 [3] 0.7 km (11:18 / km) +37m 8:56 / km
shoes: Inov8 Oroc 280 0116

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