Wednesday, 13 August 2014

Sprint-discussion II

Thanks for all the comments on my last blog, some more constructive than others, but still it's important to get all views on this topic. One of the purposes of my blog about our massive preparations was to provoke a bit, because sometimes you have to push the limits of the rules, to be able to make some changes...

Most of the first comments discussed sprint in general, and I must say that I agree that the sprint has developed to be a totally different disciplin than normal forest orienteering, with different demands, and shouldn't try to replace it. Still I really like the different challenges a city-sprint gives, and I like the idea about splitting up WOC into a Sprint-WOC and Forest-WOC. Then it would be possible to find the areas suited best for both of the disciplines, and hopefully also make it more attractive to organize a WOC. I also don't think that the sprint is better suited to make our sport more popular than forest orienteering, but it's a good supplement, and we should make use of every possibilty we have to make our sport bigger. I don't think that fx cross-country skiing got smaller when biathlon was introduced or volleyball got smaller when beachvolley was introduced. And all the sports are now a part of the olympics.

The comment about us cheating and comparing us to Lance Armstrong (!) was maybe too much, but the comment about that we should have been disqualified according to the rules, because we had more knowledge about the terrain than others, is what this is all about.
There is no doubt that all particiapants are trying to get more information about the terrain and possible courses than the others, to get an advantage. In both sprint and forest-disciplines. Like all participants are trying to train harder and more specific than the others to get a physical advantage.
Did I forget to mention that the Danish Team also trained very specificly on the physical demands in Venice?
Interval-training on a route with stairs up and down,  a lot of sharp turns and control punching. Explosive strength-training and speed-training on stairs and flat. Heat-training every day the last 3 weeks, to get used to the hot and humid conditions in Venice. Several days with two sprints in full speed, to get used to perform the best in the final, few hours after the qualification. Is that cheating as well?

The difference between sprint and forest-disciplines is that you have much more tools to get information about the sprint, and it's even possible to make a pretty accurate map, without even having been there. And if someone should be in doubt, I'm not the first who have made a map of a WOC-sprint terrain. Every year different people and nations are trying to get an advantage by doing this and amongst most elite orienteers it's just considered as good preparations, not cheating.  

Since my last blog WOC 2015 Bulletin 2 has been published and now everyone knows in which towns the Sprint-relay and Individual Sprint will be. The areas are different than Venice and even though the Google Streetview is quite good in both towns, making accurate maps would be more difficult. But "luckily" the organizers (or IOF) have permitted access to the towns (why?), and even though you are not allowed to carry a map in the embargo, my guess is that I can still memorize most of it with some touring around. And making a map should be quite easy even though it would take some time...

I don't understand why they organizers are making it so easy for us to prepare and know exactly what the challenges will be.

First of all, why are they permitting access to the towns? I have no idea why it's necessary. Anyone who knows? And can you go anywhere, or is it just on paved roads? You don't really know because it doesn't say in the bulletin. Like in Palmela (EOC 2014 sprint town), my guess is that someone will stay on paved roads, others will just go everywhere, eventually others will find out that someone went everywhere, and so on. Even some nations lived inside the embargo at EOC, getting a possible advantage of others.

Someone suggested that the areas of the sprint should be kept a secret, and it's a interesting idea, but I don't really know if it's possible to keep it a secret? I would rather embargo a lot of areas, even different kinds of sprintterrains (forest, town, park etc), and maybe not announce the locations until the last bulletin some days before WOC. If 10-20 areas are embargoed, I would maybe look a bit on google street-view of the different areas (if possible), but I wouldn't try to make maps. Instead I think my preparations would be more general, trying to be good at all possible challenges.

At least we need some more clear rules both for the organizers, but also for the athletes, of what is allowed and not. And I don't think you can make it a break of rules to look at google streetview?

Just make it more difficult for the athletes to prepare...


Wednesday, 6 August 2014


Many things have already been said about the individual sprint in Venice and about how the Danish success was possible due to massive preparations. Some people have questionned if these kind of preparations are taking away the essentials of orienteering: "navigating in unknown terrain", and it is a good question. 

But as I see it, actually these opportunities to prepare via pictures from the internet, are making the competitions more fair than usual, because then the aspect of "home-advantage" is not so big anymore. Everyone have the opportunity to prepare for the challenges, not only the ones who have been in the terrain earlier, or even lived there as we have seen earlier.
But why not then open the embargoed area for "tourism" as we have seen several times (including WOC 2015 in Scotland)? Another good question, but then it would just benefit the nations who can afford to send their runners on several "tours" (or even stay) in the embargo = not very fair. Everyone can use the tools on the internet without costs, and I can inform that the Google Street-view pictures are quite good in the 4 Scottish towns... :)
In Scotland next year they have embargoed 4 different towns, which is good because it makes it more difficult to know exactly what to expect. But it's more fair for everyone. I think they should also have closed bigger parts of Venice, or even other town/cities to make it more difficult to prepare for the runners.

Still everyone are permitted to enter the embargoed town in Scotland, just not with a map, running or routechoice-testing, and I don't really understand why it's necessary. It will just give the big and rich federations and runners living close to a bigger advantage, because they will probably travel more to Scotland than the smaller federations...

Anyway I like that the organizers now have tools (artificial fences), to make the challenges bigger and more different from what the runners have prepared for. Actually I would have liked more fences in Venice, because a lot of legs were quite boring, and I already knew the best routechoices. Of course everything has it's limits, and the limits were tested in World Cup Sprint in Imatra, where the use of artificial fances was too massive making some legs too difficult, and the question of succes more based on luck than skills.

What do you think?

Thursday, 10 July 2014

From flat, wet and crowded streets in Trento to very hilly and rocky terrain in Campomulo

Tomorrow I will run the WOC-middle distance, one of the highlights every year. But first, some words about the Danish silver-medal in the Sprint-relay.

The sprint-relay in Trento was a crazy experience because of a lot of things. Of course the format of the sprint-relay with many people racing around in narrow streets combined with challenging courses with forkings is creating a lot of extra nerves before and during the race than I'm used to. Add a lot of rain, making the streets slippery as hell, and a lot of locals in the streets, making it difficult not to run one person or more down during your race. But the most difficult thing for me during the race was the fact that we had a map-TURN and not map-CHANGE...
Emma did a good job on first leg sending me out in the lead some seconds before the chasers. I did well in the beginning, but was very careful in my running, trying not to slip when I was turning. Going into 3rd control through a small passage, I crashed into 2 men blocking the passage because they didn't move, even though I was shouting. They were very angry and shouted after me, but what the f... can you do besides continuing, when your running for WOC-medals? Actually I took a routechoice to 4th control going a lot around into the park, but I wanted to avoid running and turning in the narrow streets.
At the arena passage I was still alone in front, but even though I was well aware that we should have a map-turn, I didn't turn my map. Instead I threw it in the map-boxes designed for the finish and kept running looking for my new map, like in the sprint final in Venice. But nothing was there and suddenly I realized my mistake, and turned back to find my old map. Luckily two organizers was looking for my map in box, and they found they right one fast, and I could continue the race, without loosing more than 8-10 seconds. But I was pretty chocked, that I was able to do something that stupid, and I was struggling to find the control again. Towards the end I was caught by Yannick Michiels and he was running much faster and being more offensive in his running around corners, and I realized that maybe I was going too slow. He had the same forking in the end and I was able to follow him the last controls, finishing in 2nd place.
Right after the race I didn't know what to feel about my performance because, beside my stupid mistake, I had run a clean and very safe race, and were still in front of our biggest opponents. But maybe also too safe race and not offensive enough? I thought that maybe I have had the some short forkings, and when I followed Sørens race on 3rd leg I realized that he had the long ones. He did a good job though, still being  in front of Switzerland towards the end, but then missed a passage, loosing 10 seconds, and then having a long forking in the end, loosing 8-10 seconds.We had been in front all the relay but then suddenly, due too some mistakes and some long forking in the wrong leg, we were 18 seconds behind Switzerland.
Maja did a fantastic last leg, being clearly the strongest in the end. But she had long forking in the beginning and the gap to Switzerland was too big, so even though her finish was extremely strong, we were poor 2,8 seconds behind the winners.
Still a great results for us, taking the first Danish relay-medal for 10 years, but we were so close to the gold...

I think when you have a sprint-relay one of the most important things is to have forkings that don't differ too much in time. Or at least that the time difference on all the used combintions for one leg is very small. Because it is clearly an advantage to have long forkings in the 1st and 2nd leg, being able to run behind catching time on all the people with short forkings, fx when they slow down in turns and avoid people, or do small hesitations/mistakes. The advantage of being behind in the 3rd and 4th leg is much smaller, because the runners are much more "spread out"
, and you can't "run on backs" in the same way. We saw that in Imatra, when we were lucky with the forkings, and we saw it now, when we weren't lucky...
Also I didn't enjoy running in Trento at all! Slippery streets are something which are difficult to avoid sometimes, but the fact that it was almost dangerous to run with all the locals in the street, is a thing that could and should be avoided. It is not good promotion for our sport that we run down the locals, but you can't really blame the runners, because they are trying to run from start-finish as fast as possible, and they should.
Either you should close the city for people, or otherwise you should have hundreds of organizers in the streets, guiding people to avoid these dangerous situations. Or maybe you shouldn't even organize it in a city-centre like Trento, because it wasn't comfortable to run around a corner at all...

Well, I can't really complain about having 2 WOC-medals in two races here in Italy, and still more chances to come.
Because tomorrow I will run the middle-distance and saturday the relay in the tough terrains around Campomulo. I know parts of the terrain, because I have been running on the old map 2 times (training camp with the national team in 2006 and 2009). I remember in 2006 I thought it to be some of the most challenging and difficult terrain I had ever tried. I also remember that the local orienteers called it "Symphony of broken ankles", because of the very rocky underground with holes and trenches from WWI...

The last couple of days I have been feeling really good in the model trainings and I'm really looking forward to race again the next couple of days. The middle-distance is maybe the distance I enjoy mostly, and if I do a good performance my goal about top6 is realistic.


Sunday, 6 July 2014

A dream come true

An individual WOC-medal has been a dream for me for a long time. Maybe I didn't expect it to be in the sprint that I should reach this dream, but nevertheless it was wonderful finally to be at the podium after the sprint in Venice. And in my first WOC-sprint!

I had been looking forward to yesterday since I decided to focus on sprint instead of long distance this year. I have always loved real forest-orienteering and if you have asked me 5 years ago if I should some day take a WOC sprint-medal, I would have laughed. But the sprint has developed and is now more or less always placed in urban areas, which makes the challenges quite different from forest orienteering. And over the last years I have also fallen in love with this kind of orienteering, and have discussed with myself several times if I wanted to focus more on it. Now it was time, and I haven't regret the decision.

One thing I like about the sprint is that a lot of the technical training can be done at home. In general looking at sprint-courses and learn how to see the fastest (and often shortest) routechoice in high speed is an important skill. But also looking at old maps from the embargoed area, and if there is no old map, maybe make your own and make courses, so you learn how to navigate in excactly this area.

In this case the old orienteering-map of Venice is in 1:7500, and even though most of the streets are on the map, it's not very accurate.
So to be perfectly prepared I decided that I wanted to make a new map to help me, but also the rest of the Danish Team. I have spent several months of this map. Most areas were quite easy to map because of good overview-pictures and extensive google street/canal-view. Going around Venice from google street-view and learning how the different passages and streets would look like have also been a great help to be able to navigate faster through the city. But some areas didn't have this feature, but from pictures of fx museums and the Arsenal taking by tourists, I have been able to map every corner of the embargo. It was very unlikely that we would go into these areas, but I wanted to be prepared for everything.

This is how my map looks like:

And this is how the competition map looks like:

So if you want to know how the Danes managed to do so well, this is a part of the answer. Since the beginning of the year, we have met every monday evening, and looking at different sprint-courses from all over the world. And we have been having competition about drawing the best routechoices fastest, to teach the eye to see it. After I finished the map in the end of May, we have been making WOC-sprint-final courses to each other every week. 

My race yesterday was close to perfect. I took all the best routechoices, except loosing 1-2 seconds to 13th, and lost 5 seconds on 15th, searching for the control too early. And I was able to execute my routechoices well, because most of the places I knew how the streets and passages would look like.
Of course the extra fences from control 5-8 very tricky, and the fact that the course went out of the embargoed area 2 times(!), but otherwise I knew exactly what to do all the time.
I wasn't my best physical day though. I have always been struggling to run in hot conditions, and yesterday was no exception. But I fought all the way and even though I wasn't strong enough in the end to fight for gold, I'm very pleased with my performance. Of course I was only 4 seconds from becoming World Champion, and it's impossible not to want more when you are that close. But I will get other chances...

And when your not able to take the gold yourself, there is nothing better than to see a team-mate and a very good friend on the top of the podium. We have pushed each other very much this spring in training and competition, and hopefully this will be the start of a new generation of Danish male-orienteers taking WOC medals.

Already tomorrow is a new chance for the Danish Team with the Sprint-relay in Trento. We have a very strong team, and with Maja on last leg anything can happen!

Saturday, 28 June 2014


I like to test myself. Especially when I'm getting closer to the most important championships, I like to see how good my physical shape actually is. I have done this for many years now.

I guess my interest for the physiological aspects behind the numbers is what's driving me, because I have been studying this for years. And I like to experiment with my training to see if I can improve my physical capacity. Normally I do one or two treadmill-tests and maybe also a track-test, but this time I did only one treadmill-test, not to disturb my other preparations too much.

The test is divided in 2 parts, one part with incremental submaximal workloads of 5 minutes to estimate the anaerobic threshold (the speed you can maintain for 30-60min), and another part with incremental maximal workloads to estimate VO2max (how much oxygen your body is using).

The test I did on thursday was done with 15% incline on the treadmill, an attempt to better simulate how orienteers work during terrain-running. Usually I get a higher VO2max during this test, compared to a test with no incline, probably because I use my muscles more effectively this way.

The test on thursday went well. Actually the results were not only better than ever, but also much better than I have done before. Especially I had improved my anaerobic threshold with one step in the test, which means that I can maintain a speed which is approx. 1 km/h higher than before (before EOC and earlier years). Also my VO2max was the highest ever: 80,4 ml/kg/min (I had 80,2 from before).

I know that good physical shape isn't the only way to success in orienteering, but it's very nice to know that the physical part won't be limiting in reaching my goals in WOC.

Tomorrow the Danish Sprint-team is heading for Italy. I'm better prepared than ever, and can't wait to get started!


Thursday, 19 June 2014

Last preparation

From very good performances and results in the World Cup sprints in Imatra to bad performance in Jukola. Now it's time for last 2½ weeks of prep before WOC.

I got sick in Norway and decided not to run the World Cup races there, to avoid a longer break. But travelling back to Denmark on sunday I started coughing, but otherwise I felt better and decided to travel with the sprint-team to Imatra, Finland. The coughing has continued until now, but even though it wasn't an optimal situation with my physical shape, I was still able to perform well at the sprint and sprint-relay.

The sprint qualification went well, I was in good control of my race all way and was running in a steady pace without pushing max in the end. I was very surprised it was good enough for, because the physical feeling wasn't perfect. And I even took 3 bad routechoices (control 2, 15 and 16), loosing in total around 10 seconds, but the artificial fences made it difficult to see the shortest route. All in all very good result and promising before the final and WOC.

The sprint-final was a race with a lot of different feelings. I was not feeling very good during the warm-up in my head and stomach, but right before the start I felt ready for the challenges and was expecting a difficult sprint, with a lot of extra fences. But I was still surprised how much they had chanced the town of Imatra with black lines on the map in the most non-expecting places and forbidden areas (roads).
First control I did well, but wasn't sure if I took the best route. On the way to second control I ran into a forbidden area on a road by accident, because it was not marked out there with tape as it was supposed to from the map and the bulletin. I realized it fast and ran back the same way, but the risk of a disqualification was lying in the back of my head the rest of the course. I lost 13 seconds to best split here. I did well after that, but on the long leg I had to stop for several seconds just to see a possible routechoice. I started looking right, but saw the two fences across the road and eliminated that. Then I looked left and saw a possible way even though it was around a lot of fences. I decided just to go for it, because it was anyway impossible to see what was fastest just looking at the map (it still is...). It was stressful not to be in control and I missed a little the optimal left routechoice 2 times, and lost again 13 seconds to best split. After that I did a good race, but didn't feel like I was running fast at all. Again I was surprised to hear that I was in 4th position in the finish, and 5th in the end, not more than 24 seconds behind the winner. Hopefully there won't be too many extra thick black lines on the map in Venice and Trento in 2½ week...

The sprint-relay was a big succes for the Danish Team. All the runners did their job well, following the decided tactic, and it was a pleasure to see Maja crusing the Swedish Girls on the last leg. My own race went well, even though I took 2 bad routechoices in the first part of the course. I was staying behind Lysell on the last half of the course, controlling and checking if he did what I wanted to. But he was running well, and there was no idea in trying anything, because we had the same forkings. A good experience before WOC and I'm really looking forward to race in Trento.

Jukola was as always a big event for me and not at least for my finnish club, Vaajakosken Terä. Out team was very strong and with Pasi Ikonen back in business on last leg, anything would be possible.
The team did well during the night, and even though no one on the first 5 legs had perfect races, we were still very close to the lead, when I went out on 6th leg in 3rd spot, 2½ minutes behind.
But my race was far from good enough. I struggled in the beginning finding the good routes, and often went with wrong "jukola-track". After the first 3 control the course went to an area where no one had been before. It was a tough and rocky part with a lot of cut sticks on the ground, and I was still making small mistakes, and had no sight of other runners. Half way we came back to areas where earlier legs had been running, but I didn't find the routechoices with the new tracks and lost even a minute on a routechoice, and I still can't see from the map how it was so much slower. I was caught by Kalevan Rasti and Fabian Hertner after that, still with a good chance to send out Pasi with Guergiou, but then made a crucial mistake to the next control going into wrong forking. And then he was gone. I got the back of Timo Sild, who had passed me in the same mistake, and ran with him the rest of the course. Until 3rd last control, where I again didn't find the jukola-track through the dark green and even got passed by Halden. In finish I was in 6th spot, 4 minutes behind the leaders, but lost almost 6 minutes to best split (Sild).
It was terrible to run to the finish knowing that I had most likely had fucked up our chance of winning, and it wasn't fun meeting the other guys afterwards. Because even though they were understanding and supported me, winning Jukola means everything to a every Finnish orienteer, and this year we really had a chance. But I'm sure it won't be the last chance for Terä to finally take the step on the top of the podium in Jukola. Next year, guys!

Back home in Denmark it's time for the last preparation before WOC. It means a lot of intensive training, but also focus on resting and finding the motivation to kick some ass in Italy in 2-3 weeks!

Saturday, 7 June 2014

In good shape, but no World Cup in Norway

Since EOC training has been going well, and I have been able to get 6 weeks of good and hard basic training. The training load has been between 16-20 hours of training every week, and I trained 74 hours in may. Mostly running but also 2-3 hours of specific strength, jump and sprint-training every week.
I have not been studying since easter, and therefore having more quality in training and recovery. It has been a good experience to be able to focus 100% on my sport, and hopefully it will pay off in a month.

After EOC I have also focused a lot more on the sprint-distance, and besides physical and technical training, I have been running more sprint-races. The preparations towards WOC-sprint in Venice and WOC-sprinttelay in Trento is going well, and I feel I'm improving all the time. We had a WOC-training camp in Italy last week, and even though I still have some technical improvements to do, the physical shape is really good. 

This week has been with easier load to get some energy before my last important competitions: World Cup-middle in Norway, World Cup-sprint and sprintrelay in Finland and Jukola.

Unfortunately I got a cold yesterday after the modelevent with sore throat and headache, and even though it's better today it was decided that I'm not running today. It's a shame because I was really looking forward to this middle-distance in real demanding Norwegian terrain, but it's not worth the risk right.

I'm now sitting in the couch watching the World Cup race live and hopefully getting better fast, so I will be able to race for full speed in the World Cup races and Jukola in Finland.
Training has been going better than ever and it's no big deal to have some days without training right now, so I'm trying to stay positive.

Friday, 25 April 2014

Disaster in Portugal!

No other words descripe my performance at the Middle-distance final at EOC 1½ weeks ago. 

I tried to be offensive in my orienteering from the start, and did well at the first couple of controls, keeping the speed of the fastest. But in the flater southern slope to 3rd, I wasn't careful enough with my compass and ran straight to the womens control. Not a big mistake (30 sec), and I managed to find the right focus again quickly. But to 5th, I wasn't aware that the slope down to the river would be that high and steep (20-25m), and I lost a lot of time (and power) using all my force to manage to climb to the top at the steepest part. At 7th control, again in the flater area, I collapsed totally and stopped searching too early, loosing almost 3min! I was then caught by Baptiste Rollier with 4 minutes, and I had an inner conversation dicussing wheter I should continue or just go home. I decided to try to keep up his pace to get some physical self-confidence for the relay. He was running well but I managed to stay with him the rest of the course, even though it was very difficult to push hard with my fatal mistakes in the back of my head.
I ended up in 64th (!) spot. What a failure...

Before the relay I was very motivated to do well, and show to myself (and others) that the middle distance was just one of those days where nothing works. Søren Bob did well at the first leg almost hanging in with the leaders all the way, and taking some of the long forkings. Søren Schwartz was tired on second leg, but due to a very short forking in the beginning he was suddenly with the leaders. Unfortunately he wasn't able to follow their pace all the way, and I was sent out in 13th spot, 2½ minutes behind, but only 45 seconds behind a big group.
I felt very good in the beginning and I also ran very well, running away from Bertuks from the start. Executed my controls well and pushing hard, but suddenly I saw him at least 30sec in front of me, and realized that the forkings must have been huge. After 2nd forking I had the back of Bertuks, Boström and Lundanes, and I tried to close the gap, but the tracks in the grass from the first legs made the navigation quite easy. I passed Norway before arena passage,  but in the end I realized that I wasn't able to close the gap to Latvia and Finland. We finished as no.10, and 8 when you take away the 2nd teams in front of us.
My race was very good technically, and also a good speed, even though I didn't have so much to fight for in the end. The forkings were quite decisive, because it was a big advantage to have the short forkings on last leg, and I don't think it's good to have forkings with time difference with more than 1 minute!

Anyway, a good finish of a really bad week for me, and I'm glad I finally felt like myself again. Just too late...

Now the focus has moved to Italy in the beginning of july, and after my failure in Portugal I'm very motivated. The wise guys keep telling me that sometimes you need to these kinds of nightmares to be able to take another step towards the top. I hope that they are right :)

The next 6 weeks will consist of very hard basic-training, to make sure that I will be at my best at WOC. I will run some competitions during this period, but the most important is to train well now, and I won't slow down the training to have a good feeling in these races. My eyes are pointed towards Venice, Trento and Asiago!

Saturday, 12 April 2014

Second chance at EOC Middle!

Last night the jury decided to let all athletes start in the EOC Middle A-final on monday. It means that I will get a second chance to get a good result in the A-final, despite a poor performance in the qualification, where I finished 18th, 10 secs too slow.

The preparations to EOC has been going really well, and even though I have been doubtful of my shape during the winter, it has been feeling good lately. Also a physical test last week showed that I am maybe in my best shape ever compared to earlier tests. I had to take it easy some days before going to Portugal, because of some pain in my calf, just to be on the safe side.

But in the qualification on thursday my body was just not functioning. I managed to keep it together technically without any bigger mistakes, but I was just feeling tired from the beginning, and I was struggling all the way. I have had similar feeling in qualification races before, so I thought my race would be good enough to qualify for the A-final, but in the end it was 10 seconds too slow.

It was a big dissapointment and a total failure not to qualify, and I had a tough time after the race. My mind tried to find logical explanations to my poor physical perfomance, but nothing useful came up, which made it even more frustrating.

I decided with the coaches after the race, that I should run the sprint instead, which was also a good substitution because I'm also focusing on sprint at WOC in Italy. Yesterday I went to Palmela to look at the area for the sprint-final and also did the sprint model-event.

Besides preparing for the sprint I have also followed the hole middledistance-protest-complaining-issue, with a possible outcome of letting all participants run the A-final, because of a misplaced control (which did not affect me). I decided if I got the chance to run the Middle A-final I wouldn't hesitate to skip the sprint and focus all my energy on the Middle (and Relay), which has been the plan all the time.
So when I heard the final decision this morning, instead of running Sprint Qual, I'm now sitting here following the live results.

I can only hope that my shape will be better on monday, but I'm pretty optimistic about it, and propably I just needed a tough race to get my body started again. It has been feeling much better yesterday and I can feel that the motivation is high.

It's not often that you get a second chance, but this time I was lucky, and I will do all I can to perform at my best on monday.

...and hopefully no more mistakes from the organizers!

Tuesday, 25 February 2014

Status before the first competitions in 2014 (World Cup in Turkey)

It's been long time since I wrote something here, since I have been busy with training and studying and nothing spectacular have happened during the winter.

My body really needed some rest after the longest season ever, and I was in really bad shape when I started training again in the beginning of November.
November and December were very busy months, because I had to sign in a pilotproject on my Masterthesis on 2nd of January. It was hard work, but I managed to train ok in that period with 57 and 61 hours of training, and good quality in most of it.

It was nice to hand in my project and be able to focus more on training and recovery in January. The training went well (72 hours) and I was able to run a lot, and also did a lot of orienteering (20 hours) here in Denmark, in good conditions (no snow). In the end of January I got some problems with my on calf though, and had to be very careful not to damage the muscle. I was supposed to run European Cross-Country Club Champs in Albufeira, Portugal in the beginning of February, but I had to be wise and watch instead, even though my calf quickly was feeling better. Luckily I was able to have a good and tough trainingcamp afterwards in Portugal with the National Team, and also my shape was finally getting better.

Last weekend I ran Thy Trail ½-Marathon, a race in the sanddunes along the northwestern coastline in Denmark. Last year I ran and won the hole marathon but struggled with my muscles for many weeks afterwards, so this year, I decided only to run the half. It was a tough race, because it was very wet in the area putting a lot of the trails under water, but my body was feeling good. I wasn't able to win though, since a 17-year old Maroccan boy, living in a child-center in the area, was able to follow me all the way and beat me in the finish. Pretty big talent, and apparently it was his first trail-race...
Anyway, it was good training, and my body hasn't been feeling to bad after the race, except some sore muscles.

I haven't been running any orienteering-races this winter, so I'm pretty excited about going to Turkey tomorrow, to run the first World Cup round 2014. Middle-distance (qualification and final) and a sprint-relay is on the program. Since I am focusing a lot on the middle-distance this year, and have been working good both physically, technically and mentally, the races on friday and saturday will be good tests, to see what my level is right now. In the sprint-relay on sunday, I have not been choosen to be in Denmarks 1st team, since I haven't been focusing much on sprint so far this year. I can't remember last time I was not selected for the best relay-team, but it's good to see that both Rasmus Thrane and Søren Bobach are back in good shape.

Until EOC in the middle of April, I will only focus on the Middle-distance, since the Sprint-final will be held the evening before the middle-final, and that's why I'm not running the sprint. But After EOC, I will also focus on the sprint, and try to get a spot in the Danish WOC sprint and sprint-relay-team.