Monday, 15 August 2016

Last countdown

Now it's only 5 days until WOC 2016 will start with the sprint in Strömstad. It will be my 10th WOC in 10  years and I am very excited but also nervous to see if I will be able to perform my best.

It has been a long period of hard training since Jukola. After EOC I had to realize that my sprint-routines somehow wasn't good enough. I planned a pretty intense 4-weeks period of a lot of sprint-training leading up to the national teams 3 weeks WOC-training camp in Sweden/Norway. Simply just to repeat, repeat and repeat my sprint-routines again and again. In 4 weeks I completed 20 sprint-courses on more or less WOC-relevant maps, with 15 of them in competition speed (the majority without markings). Many of the courses have been prepared by my teammates in Århus, which have been great and given me a lot of high-quality sessions. It has been tough work and also a challenge to keep focusing on the right things on all sessions, but I have increased my technical and tactical level during this period.

One week Ane and I toured around the part of Denmark where I grew up (Fyn), and enjoyed some of the many good sprint-towns (Svendborg, Rudkøbing, Assens, Glamsbjerg, Odense). The clubs on Fyn have done a great job during the last years organizing Fynsk Sprint-Cup and maping most of the towns, which has given me excellent training opportunities.

The last week before our training camp Ane I went to Norway, to visit a part of Norway we have never visited before (Sør-Vest Norge). We went to Kristiansand where I did 2 sprint-sessions. Different sprint-areas than Denmark, hilly and with forest parts, which gave different challenges when deciding routechoices. From Kristiansand we drove to Lysefjorden and went on a run to see Kjeragbolten. Unfortunately the weather was classic Norwegian summer(wet and windy), and we couldn't see much...
The we went to Stavanger, to have some "easy" days. I had contacted Stavanger OK before going, to find out if there was any sprint-maps there. I was surprised to find out that a lot of sprint-maps excisted around Stavanger, and I got a lot of help from the club getting the best and most relevant maps. Big thanks! I did 4 sprint-sessions in Stavanger, and we enjoyed the city a lot (the weather was also good). Norwegian Sprint-Champs will be organized in Stavanger in 2018, and I think the runners can look forward to some very good competitions there.
Then we went to Preikestolen and tried to run (walk) together with thousands of others, and then further north to Odda and Hardangerfjorden. We wanted to run the 10km and back to Trolltunga on the edge of Hardangervidda, but the weather was too bad. Instead we saw the Buer Glacier and the beautiful waterfalls in Husedalen, before going to Göteborg to join the others at the WOC-training camp.

The training-camp consisted of 2 weeks in Göteborg and then 1 week in Strömstad. It was a long camp with ups and downs, but mostly ups and a lot of good trainings. I could see that my sprint-abilities was at a high level after my intense bout of sprint-sessions, and generally I did very well on the sprint-competition-trainings we had, winning most of them. I was hoping that I could have some fresh legs during the camp, but I was struggling physically on most sessions and didn't have a good feeling. Only very few sessions I felt strong, but I was still happy to see that I was still able to perform well technically. The camp consisted of 4-5 sessions/week of high-max intensity, some easy and moderate training, and some strength- and speed/jump training. Besides the sprint-trainings I also did some middle/relay-competition-trainings, and I was glad to see that I could perform very well without having focused much here this year. Especially the last tough middle-distance in Munkedal together with the Norwegian Team I did a good job. I was 3 minutes behind Olav on a 40min-course, but he was in his own league and I was not far behind Carl, Eskil and Magne in their home-terrain.

All in all the 7 weeks of WOC-preparation have consisted of:

98 hours training:
- 85 hours running (828 km)
    -36 high-intensity sessions
- 12 hours strengthtraining
- 1 hour biking

Coming back home and starting the 2 weeks of tapering I have been struggling to recover fully and get a good feeling. It has been difficult to find the right balance between high-intensity sessions and recovery to get the balance right. Still I have done some good physical tests this week. On tuesday I did 15:03 on a 5000m, which is close to the 15:01 I have done earlier (2012). I was hoping to go below the 15 minutes, but intervals the day before and still trying to recover from the training-camp meant that I didn't have the extra push on the last 1-2 km. I can't expect to run faster on this kind of race, when I only run a track race 0-1 times a year and when my training is not more focused on track-sessions. I'm not trained for track races, but highly trained for Sprint-O. I know that many of my competitors on the sprint are faster on a 5000m than me, and it will be interesting to see how the WOC-sprint will end...
On thursday I did a treadmill-test to see how my physiological data looks like now. Even though I could still feel the training-camp and 5000m in my legs, I did a good test. My heart rate and blood lactate levels were lower on all speeds than last year and I could run 30sec longer on the last speed, compared with last year before WOC.

Overall I feel well prepared for WOC again this year, and I think that I am even stronger on all levels this year. I will run the individual sprint on saturday, the sprint-relay on sunday and the relay in the end of the WOC-week. In the sprint-relay we are reigning champions, but this year Emma is not running. Still, everyone in our team are in good shape and well prepared, and especially Maja is maybe even stronger than last year. Our goal is a medal, but we can win the gold again if everything goes our way. In the individual sprint I hope that I can be able to fight for medals again...

The last couple of days I have taken it quite easy to recover after the tests last week. Later today I will do a full speed sprint-session and then some short intervals tomorrow before we will travel to Sweden on Wedensday.

Let the games begin!