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Discussion: WOC 2008 preparatory info

in: Team Canada

Apr 14, 2008 4:49 PM # 
I found the two documents available on the web ("Guide to WOC 2008", available from as well as the World of O writeup at
to both be quite interesting and useful reading.

We didn't get the chance to get into the spruce terrain with the subtle rock features that were discussed in the articles - so I can't comment on that. But it would seem that it will be possible that the middle distance will be surprisingly tricky if they really want it to be. I have understood the middle to be a net downhill course to increase running speed and navigational difficulty, and based on what the articles say it could then be tough.

The route choice analysis on the World of O page is quite interesting - it was very hard to simply look at the map and quickly decide on any "good" route, let alone the best route. Clearly, they are saying that the fittest athletes who are able to climb well will do the fastest. However, they do note that some of the routes with less aggressive climb (in this case the southernmost route) might be good choices for either those who are less fit, or those who want to conserve energy for later in the race.

Any which way you slice it, fitness (and in particular the ability to run on flat hard surfaces in the sprint, and on uneven trails with loads of climbing in the long/relay) is key.

Decide on which discipline will fit you the best, and train like hell to maximize your performance on that discipline. It might mean leaving a little bit out of your training for other disciplines, but it will be your best shot to make it into the finals against a whole horde of continental-based runners who are hungry for victory on terrain very similar to their own.
Apr 14, 2008 8:48 PM # 
Thanks Wil. Good articles. Anything that you noticed over there that isn't obvious from looking at the maps.
What were the light green, green, green stripes like?
Apr 14, 2008 9:20 PM # 
Actually, the greens were less green than what I'd have anticipated at home. The green lines were sometimes slash, but other times were undergrowth (like low bramble/blackberry-type vines). This early in the year they didn't impede progress much, but I suppose by July they might. Still didn't really seem as if they were very slow though.

The green was a bit variable - sometimes even the darker green could be gotten through relatively easily, while other times it didn't look all that inviting. Those times when it was terrible, though, it was obvious from a bit of a distance.

By looking up and ahead, it was quite easy to spot the vegetation changes, which are generally quite distinct (and generally man-made from forestry practices). These allow you to maintain a good direction line and keep some speed and confidence up.

The tiny yellow clearings I was a little less impressed by. However, these may change from year-to-year and it simply may have been that the maps we used were out of date enough that the little clearings weren't always the greatest.

The visibility in the medium green (which was often coniferous plantation) was decent when you crouched down low - but of course it's harder to run in this position.

The biggest surprise would be the rock features, I'd think. For one, they are much smaller than what we would generally have mapped over here, or in Scandinavia. Similarly, the cliffs are a bit less distinct - more like a jumbled rocky outcrop at times, rather than the wall of solid rock that often exists in our woods.

I agree with the guide where it implies that some of the rocky features would be easier to see from below. They can be subtle, and a couple of times I didn't really see the cliff or the control from above, but it was plainly visible from below (partly the cliff shape, partly the long-range visibility in the forests).

Anyone else, please feel free to join in. Further comments, advice, and observations would be much appreciated.
Apr 15, 2008 1:59 AM # 
I asked your bro to weigh in too. Maybe I will post something on Patrick's log
Apr 15, 2008 10:46 AM # 
Hi guys. I was starting to do a write-up of the camp as well, but Wil beat me to it, so here are some of my thoughts on the terrain, our week, and what I think we can expect in WOC this year.

1. Write-ups and other documents:

Here are two other links to previous training camps. I think it would be good to make an inventory of people's write-ups of Czech training camps. It is interesting to have another person's take on the area.



2. Middle Terrain/Rock Features

Wil is right that we didn't really get any of the subtle rock that we expected from the embargoed maps.

This training stands out in my mind because of a few controls in rock features. They weren't particularly challenging though.

I think it is a good exercise to think hard about how you would attack those difficult controls in the WOC Guide - contour, simplify, compass, etc.

3. Long Terrain/Fitness

Long terrain and fitness go hand in hand. In my mind, we were blown away in the long. With a perfect race, I would have been 15min behind the winner on Saturday over 16km.
However, I ran almost the entire race alone, but when I picked up Scott Fraser and Ionut on the last few controls, I held the pace quite well. I am constantly surprised by how fast the top guys run on the Long - you can never be too fast and too fit!!! It would be a huge advantage to have the speed and strength to stay with the best if you get caught up.

Wil is absolutely correct - fitness is key - it doesn't matter what distance you will run and where to train. Train to be fitter, faster and stronger, and you will get more out of the races.

I also agree with him that specialization is worth while. Running a 15min flat city sprint is not that similar to the forest and trails in the long. Any improvement in fitness will help you in any discipline, but specific training will bring more specific results!

4. Technique

The green wasn't too bad. In a middle race, it is rarely worth going around. In the middle, it might be safer to go around, but I don't think you will ever lose time going straight.

This training was a good example:

Also, to #16 below, OKO went around and I went straight for the same time in this training. My impression is that if you are unsure of a route, straight is never slower.

Another example is exiting #3 here:

The vegetation boundaries of green and yellow were extremely visible - look up!!!

Watch your compass on the bland hillsides. It is easy to get sloppy and just run.
Apr 15, 2008 5:32 PM # 
Thanks Patrick. good comments
>>>>specialization is worth while.
so what are you guys hoping to run?:-)
Apr 16, 2008 3:56 PM # 
Further useful WOC links:

(VERY good website. These guys would also have been a good group to hook up with, if we hadn't had the Norwegian connection. I like the middle distance comments and map clips, but there is some long and sprint info as well.)

(Eva does a good job of getting useful information across as well. Look for the news entry entitled: "2008-01-04 A few tips for you coming to Czech republic")
Jun 6, 2008 12:06 AM # 
I am posting the link here that Adrian emailed out - the translation by FWOCer Tomas Navratil of the analysis of the WOC terrain written by Radek Novotny, the Czech national team coach:



(The translation doc is 6MB)

This discussion thread is closed.