Wednesday 18 November 2015

2015 - Summary of training

Here comes the traditional summary of my training in the previous season.  

The year consisted of 678 hours in total training, whereas 428 hours of running (4111km), 125 hours of alternative traning (cyckling, crosstrainer) and 131 hours of strengthtraining. The total amount of training hours is not much different than the previous 3 seasons, but the amount of running (hours and distance) was 55-70 hours (500-1000 km) less. Alternative training was more than usual, and at the same level as when I lived in Oslo (2008-2012) and went cross-country skiing during the winter.

The reasons to the lower amount of running can be explained by 3 observations in the weekly distribution figure. In November and December I carried out the practical part of my master thesis, comparing 4-min and 30-sec intervals, in which I took part in the 30-sec interval-group myself. Very different way of training with reduced volume (6 hours running/week) and different kind of high-intensity training, but also quite interesting results compared to the 4-min interval-group. More about that later (after I have handed in the project in February).
Next thing to observe is a quite big break from running from the middle of February due to a broken rib. The rehab went well though, with a lot of alternative training, and I was still able to get in good shape for WOC. The last thing is the training in the autumn, which has been disturbed of small injuries and sickness, and when I dislocated my shoulder 4 weeks ago. 

This year I haven't been able to do as much high-intensity training as the previous year (10-20 hours less). Especially the amount of of I5 (>92% of HRmax) has been lower compared to last year. I haven't trained very different than earlier, and the 3 explanations to less running this year, can explain a lot of it again. Important (but not surprising): Avoid breaks from running due to injuries and sickness!

 The amount of orienteering has also been lower this year.

The season ended early this year because I dislocated my shoulder 4 weeks ago. The rehab has been going well though, and because of surprisingly good strength and mobility around the shoulder, I  started running again only 9 days later. It has been running in very controlled surroundings, with as little risk of falling, or bad movements as possible (treadmill, roads), and with my shoulder taped. I haven't been having any pain at all, and I have been making progress in my running over the last 3 weeks (duration, intensity, surface etc). My body has been responding well, and because the break from running from was quite short, I am now almost back in normal training again (11,5 hours running last week). I'm still not running that much in rough terrain, and especially not with a map, because the risk of falling is biggest here. But I have been focusing more on running on hard surface and working with my way of running, and I will continue that during the winter and spring.

The training group in Århus has been getting stronger this summer, because several of young talented orienteers have been moving here, and it has really increased the level on the trainings another step. It's great for us "old" ones, because the energy and motivation the new ones bring, is essential for the group, and it pushes me in the daily training. And I'm sure it pushes and motivates the new ones as well, to be a part of such a strong training group. People (especially orienteers) tend to underestimate the importance of the group in our individual sport, and what benefits it can give to train and socialize every day with people who have the same goals (WOC and EOC).
The Elitecenter in Århus has existed for 4-5 years now and is just getting stronger and stronger. The national coaches are doing a great job, making small adjustments to the set-up continuously, trying to adapt to new demands in our sport and being one step ahead of our competitors. Everything is changing all the time, and if you don't accept that our sport and our society is changing, and what we did succesfully in the 1980's and 1990's, not necessarily is the the best way anymore, you won't be succesful anymore.
One thing I like about the work being done in Danish Elite Orienteering right now, is the constant analysis about how things are working and constant search for new knowledge, trying to optimize things, even though many things are going well right now. Some changes have worked well, while some other changes didn't work as expected. But you will never find out before you tried.
My way of training and living is very much like this. I'm constantly analyzing my training and performances, always searching for knowledge about how to optmize my weaknesses and never afraid to try out new things. I'm convinced that this way of thinking will keep me improving as an athlete and human being.


Sunday 25 October 2015

Too early end of season 2015

The last couple of years my motivation after WOC has been quite low and the shape hasn't been good during the fall competitions. This year I wanted to be in better shape, but...

The training went well after WOC and the shape was good, but in the beginning of september a fall and hit on my knee started a long period of injuries and bad training. It meant that I missed 1½ week of training and had to skip the Danish Champs in relay and long distance. I started running again and was optimistic that the shape would be ok before the World Cup races in Switzerland. But the morning before leaving for Arosa, I woke up with quite big pain on the outside of my other knee. I got some very painful massages (big thanks to the Swedish and Finnish physio), and was able to race in the middle distance (decent 24th place) and the sprintrelay. It was very uncomfortable to run in the high altitude (1700-2000m), and I was really struggling in the end of the sprintrelay. Even though no one in the Danish Team were in WOC-shape, it was just enough to secure the overall World Cup victory in sprintrelay.

After coming back my knee was ok, but I had to take some easy days due to some soreness in the knee after a kiropractor had loosened my fibula/tibia-joint.
Last week the Elitecenter from Århus went on a training-camp to Fredrikstad, Norway. The training went well, but the day before Blodslitet my knee got a bit sore again, and I didn't want to provoke it more, so I stopped half-way through Blodslitet, when I started feeling soreness. The knee was good the following days and I was looking forward to do the last races of the season and starting winter-training in better shape than the previous years.

BUT... Then this happened...

On monday morning I went to a strength-training session and during a quite easy and harmless exercise I dislocated my right shoulder completely. It shouldn't be possible, but the joint has most likely been weak and instabil already. Some years ago, I dislocated it a bit during a fall (2006) and playing softball on the rest-day of EOC in Latvia (2008), but I was able to put it back myself instantly both times.
I sure wasn't this time... And was the most painful hours I have ever experienced before I got painkillers and anesthesia at the hospital. It wasn't easy for the doctors to get it back where it belonged, but in the end it came back.

So now I'm pretty handicapped. It's not easy to do everything with only one hand, especially when it's the left (bad) one. But the biggest problem is that a dislocated shoulder is something that often happens again if your not careful. And it will be a long period of rehabilitation both for the shoulder and the rest of the body.
Luckily I have been having almost no pain since it was put back, and I have been able to sit on a indoor-bike and also training on a crosstrainer with the arm-sling without problems. That way I can make sure that I won't start at zero when the shoulder is good enough to start running again. The experts don't agree on when I can start running again (going from 2 weeks to 2 months), but when I start it will surely be under very controlled conditions on treadmill and roads. The way back to the forest will be long, but it's also long time until next season.

This also ends the season 2015, and I must say that it has been a bad and weird injury-season for me. A broken rib in February and now a dislocated shoulder. Really common injuries for a runner...
Despite the injuries, I can't complain about my results of this year though. Not all manage to become a World Champion!

Now the focus is on next year and the long way back. I have decided that I will go for the sprints at EOC and WOC again next year, and one thing I need to improve is my running speed on hard surface. So the rehabilitation-period the next months, which will contain a lot of running on treadmill and road, fits well with my goals. Several times I have impressed Team Denmarks doctors and physioterapists on how fast it's possible to heal fractures, so hopefully I can impress them again this time...

I'm also supposed to hand in my master thesis this winter, so maybe this break from training is not that bad at all, even though typing with only left hand has been difficult this week...

See you next year!

Thursday 3 September 2015

WOC Sprint-preparations 2015 (and 2016?)

Like last year I will tell you about how the Danish Team prepared for the WOC-sprints. I want to be open about it, because I hope it will be important inputs to make sprint-orienteering even better and more fair in the future.

But first some words about sprint in general.

I really like to do sprint-orienteering. It offers some challenges you can't get in traditional forest-orienteering. People who say that "sprint is not real orienteering" are somehow right, it's just very different orienteering...
In "real" forest-orienteering you have to make a plan for each leg (including routechoice (macro and micro) and simplification) based on experiences of the terrain of what is the fastest and easiest (from map to terrain). But often you go quite straight, and the difference from the best to the second-best, is the skill to understand the terrain when you run through it, adapt and maybe be flexible in your micro-routechoice (from terrain to map). Because often you change your micro-routechoice during the leg, when you realize that the runability and visibility were better somewhere else than planned. WOC-longdistance this year is a good example. You didn't know exactly how the terrain would be like, and had to adjust your origanal plans many times during the race. White and yellow on the map in Glen Affric had quite different runability on different parts of the map and compared to white and yellow in different parts of Darnaway. The kings of forest-orienteering (Guergiou and Hubmann) are masters to understand and adapt to all kinds of terrains, and that's one reason why they are amongst the best everytime. 
In sprint-orienteering (urban areas) the biggest challenge is to be able to see the fastest routechoice (often the shortest). It's not that easy as it sounds, and it takes quite much of practise to be able quickly to see the shortest and fastest routechoice every time. The fact that it's a matter of few seconds if you win or is 10th, demands very fast decisions. Complex and varied routechoice-legs on a sprint, really test your skills in fast map-reading and taking fast, but right, decisions. I guess that's why sprints are often held in urban areas, because it's easier to make many complex routechoice-legs here. Of course the execution of the leg is also important, but urban areas are often very similar, so it's much easier to do the execution than forest-orienteering, because the terrain seldom differs much from what you expected looking at the map.
As I see it, these two different "way's" of orienteering is the biggest difference of sprint- and forest-orienteering (including the surroundings). And I really like both of them!!    
The "problems" sprint-orienteering are facing right now, is the fact that technology and weird rules are taking away the original challenges of sprint-orienteering. Because the skill of picking the right routechoice is decisive, the advantage of knowing the area (the map) and possible routechoices, is quite big. If you don't have an old map, the internet often makes it quite easy to make your own, without even being there (like Venice last year). That is surely taking away some of the technical challenges.
But when you allow access to the embargoed area (like this year), first of all you make it very easy to make an accurate map and to prepare for all possible routechoice-legs. But the biggest difference is, that suddenly it's not unknown terrain at all, and the challenge of execution your routechoice in high speed is removed, because you can do it with your eyes closed.

As an example I will tell about the Danish Teams preparation before the WOC-sprint-relay 2015.      

Since the organizers this year made it legal to "tourist" around in the sprint-embargoes of Nairn and Forres, we knew that the advantages from the massive preparations last year wouldn't be as big this year. We had the first "tour" in Nairn and Forres on our trainingcamp in September last year, to get the first impressions of what to expect and train for. My first priority this year was the Sprint-relay, and since no map existed of Nairn, I started to make the map of the town in January (after the practical part of my master thesis).
I could do most of it from the internet like last year, with google streetview etc. The difficult part this year was the size of the embagoed area, being quite big (approx. as the background map I used - see below), and too time-demanding to map. So I had to take a guess and I started maping the "Fishertown", as I thought it to be most suitable for a sprint-relay. Luckily my guess was right... After that I mapped the town-center, and in the end I mapped the park-areas.

I was almost done in the end of March, and when we had our trainingcamp in the beginning of April, I spend 4 hours, walking/driving around EVERY road/alley/private backyard/garden etc, to check if it would be possible to go through. Some passages/gardens were very private, and I had to take guess if the organizers could possibly use it. As you can see from my map below, my guesses were not far from...

All winter and spring we have met once a week having competitions about drawing the best routes fastest on different sprints, like we did last year. Also on the existing map of Forres, and on early editions of my Nairn-map. After bulletin 3 was published in the end of May, with information about arena-locations and course-details, we started making possible courses to each other. Since the main-road from Inverness-Aberdeen was going straight through the town with a lot of traffic and no over- or underpassing, we excluded that the course would go south of the road. That narrowed the possible area down quite much... The course below, was a suggestion to a WOC-sprint-relay-course I made in the beginning of July, on our 3 week training-camp in Scotland 

And this was what the real map and course looked like. See some similarities? I didn't map the contours and the vegetation in the sanddunes, as I didn't expect it to make a difference to the routechoices.

On our 3 week trainingcamp in July, we made courses to each other, and went to the towns afterwards several times, walking around and discussing routechoices in the real conditions.  The area of the first part of the course (Fishertown) was quite straightforward. The tactic was to look for artificial fences, new passages (not many possiblities) and keep the map-contact at all time, because it would be easy to loose map-contact in the small streets. We discussed a lot if they would use the sanddunes, because it would be very difficult to map the vegetation  fairly there. We went one last time to the sanddunes-area after the model-event, because the modelevent and information from Team Leaders Meeting told us that we would go there. The tactic was to keep it simple and know exactly where you entered the sanddunes, coming from the town. After the arena-passage we entered an area with few streets, but with possibilities to open some passages through private backyards/gardens. I knew that my map most likely wouldn't be accurate here, and we had to be very careful in our mapreading here. The organizers had done a good job opening up some gates in private fences, making good routechoice-legs, but we were aware of that (Switzerland and Sweden made mistakes here on the last leg, loosing the medals...) In the park areas in the end we knew that it would be quite simple technically and very physical.
We discussed a lot if they would put up artificial fences, but actually we didn't expect them to do it, because it would maybe be a bit chaotic in a mass-start. Still we agreed that the incoming runner should shout "fence" to the outgoing runner, if they had put up fences. That was a good idea, at least I was very aware of extra black lines on the map, and avoided mistakes.  

All in all we were very well prepared, and knew more or less every possible challenge we could face, already before the race. The challenge was to spend enough time to take the right routechoice, and the execution I could do without looking at the map. I know that other nations made a map as well and spend many hours walking around in the town, but I guess it wasn't as much as the Danes. Of course we were all very well prepared physically, and with general sprint-technical and mental skills. But the specific preparations in Nairn gave a lot of self-confidence, and surely was one important reason for our success.  

A even better example of a sprint with no real challenges (other than running fast) was the Sprint-final:

I have already told my opinion of the terrain and courses of WOC Sprint-final, but I can tell you how we prepared for it. An old map of Forres already existed, but we (mostly Andreas Boesen, since he was only running the individual sprint) updated the old one with new passages etc. Here is a suggestion to a WOC Sprint-final course I made in July on our map. Note the two artificial fences closing the main street on two places. Quite easy to make a more interesting sprint....

I spend many hours in Forres as well, because I knew that knowing the small town would be very important, if I wanted to have a chance for a medal. The area was very small so we were walking up and down the streets/alleys/backyards/parks many times. Before the race I could walk down the main-street in my head and visualising every small passage and where it would lead. I had some key-words and pictures in my head for the most important passages like "Coop", "Clydesdale Bank", "tackle shop" etc. Unknown terrain and challenges? Yeah right...
But I would be a idiot if I hadn't done it, because the others are most likely doing the same?
I remember a discussion about the course with the Swedish medal-boys after the race. We could discuss routechoices without even having the map. Tue: "To first control, which passage did you take? Søren: "I wanted to take the passage with the wooden fence", but missed it and took the stairs instead". Jerker: "I took the passage at the wooden fence". Jonas: "I went through the passage at Coop". Tue: "Yeah, I also took the Coop-passage"...
At least the Swedes were well prepared, but I guess that most other WOC-sprinters reading this, know exactly which passages we're talking about here??
It was also quite funny that almost every time we were in Forres walking around, me met some of the French runners. I don't know if it was just a coincidence or if they just were so amazed by the big tourist-attractions in Forres, that they just had to spend every possible minute there?? :)


So is this kind of sprint-orienteering what we want? I'm pretty sure that I speak for all runners when I say NO! None of us runners want a course with no real technical challenges. Sprint-orienteering has the ability to be an very intense, different and cool way of orienteering, but as it is right now, the rules about open embargoes are taking away all the technical challenges. It's kind of a joke...
You can't blame the runners and coaches, because they are a naturally doing everything they can, inside the rules, to be as good as possible. But do I like to walk around in small Scottish town hour after hour remembering every little corner? NO... I would rather spend more hours training or resting, but I don't really have a choice...
I can't find any reasonable explanation why Forres and Nairn wasn't full embargoed. Is it more fair to allow access, because maybe some runners or coaches have visited the areas earlier, and then it's not fair for those who haven't? Maybe it's more fair, but you have the same problem with the forest-disciplines, when you use areas which have been mapped earlier. Of some runners have been there orienteering earlier, but you don't open the embargoes because of that. Why are sprint-areas any different? And don't tell me that some potential WOC-runners/coaches live/study in Nairn or Forres and that's why it was open. That's a part of the game you won't get around.
The best option is to choose sprint-areas which are not mapped before (and haven't much Google streetview). If you can't find suitable sprint-areas like that (like in Strömstad?), then make sure that you make the preparations as difficult for the runners as possible by closing the embargo fully, and make very challenging courses. If you can't do that (like in Strömstad?), then put up some artificial fences or forbidden areas, to keep the technical challenges high. Look to Finland where they have managed to make very tricky sprint-courses in very boring towns... (Sometimes a bit too much in my opinion, like the World Cup in Imatra).
Another solution (besides full embargo) is to embargo a lot of potential sprint-areas (a bit like they have done in Estonia at WOC 2017). Even though it's possible to make maps (or update old ones), it will be a lot more difficult to prepare for the runners.      

WOC 2016

The sprint-embargo in Strömstad has been open like Forres and Nairn, allowing everyone to walk around as much as they want. It seems like we're facing another preparation consisting of many hours walking in Strömstad and sitting in front of the computer updating and enlarge the existing map. And most likely we will also be facing another easy WOC-sprint/sprint-relay with no technical challenges, because we know it all before the race.
But bulletin 2 was recently published, and I don't know if the organizers have actually been listening to the runners or just thinking themselves, but now the sprint-embargo will be closed from Nov 1, and until WOC (Except 3 hours the day before the first race)
We can discuss forever if this is a fair solution, because it might be an advantage for the runners living close by, and unfair to the smaller nations/runners who haven't planned a trainingcamp before Nov 1.
Everyone agree that it would have been better to close it from the very beginning, but I don't think it's more fair to keep it open, because the runners living close by (which this time are the big rich federations) would probably still be better prepared than the others if is was open all time. That's just how it is, living and training close to the WOC-areas will always be an advantage (or having money and time to go on many training camps). That's no different from the forest-disciplins.

For me, the fact that the WOC-organizers and the IOF-controller is doing something actively to put back the technical challenges in the WOC-sprint, is much more important. Hopefully this is also a sign that the courses next year will be great and WOC-worthy again, and that coming organizers of WOC and other international events, will give us back the type of challenging sprint-orienteering we want and love.

Over and out!  

Thursday 27 August 2015

WOC 2015 - Summary and analysis

1 - 11 - 15 - 21. That's the cold fact of my 4 starts in WOC 2015. The highlight is of course the GOLD-medal from the sprint-relay.

Warning: This is a looooong blog...

I was facing a quite tough program starting with 3 sprint-races in 3 days, and then the relay and long distance in the end of the week. The order of the races was also reflecting my priorities, with the sprint-relay and individuel sprint as most important, and the long distance as lowest priority. My training all year has also been focusing a lot on the sprints and the forest relay and not so much on the long distance, as the terrain and distance were almost as different as it can be.
The last couple of weeks with tapering went well even though I was not getting the good physical feeling as hoped, but that's just how it always is... I knew that my shape was very good and that I was well prepared.


The qualification was a nervous and not very good race for me. I didn't adjust the speed well in the beginning of the race, and did several small mistakes in the first part. After the long leg I was finding a better rhytm, but in the end I made 2 small mistakes. The speed was good though, and even with 25-30sec mistakes, I could finish 4th in my heat.
The terrain was quite suitable for a Sprint-qualification, and it was a good intense course. We didn't use much time on preparations for the sprint-qual though, as the focus was more on the sprint-final and sprint-relay.


Last years silver-medal, only 2,8 seconds from the gold, have been a big motivation for the Danish Team this year, to see if we could win it this year. The 4 of us have been running almost all the World-cup sprint-relays together, being in top 3 every time, so we have quite much experience in how to succeed. But the sprint-relays are often very close, and the small mistakes we did last year were fatal. So we wanted to be very well prepared this year.

I think I will make a blog later on about our preparations for the WOC-sprints, as they have been quite massive like last year. But this year my biggest focus has been on the preparations for the Sprint-relay. And since no map of Nairn existed before WOC I spent a lot of time during the winter and spring to make it. This year it was allowed to "tourist" around the sprint-embargoes, and I have spent many hours in Nairn (without a physical map of course - only in my head :)), to make the map as correct as possible. But it will be too long if I should write about all preparations now, I will do that later. Let's just say that the Danes were extremely well prepared before the Sprint-relay...

As a team we did an almost perfect relay, and it looks like we were the only one of the big favorites, who managed to complete the whole relay without big mistakes (more than 5 seconds). I guess that's also why the winning-margin was bigger than ever before in a sprint-relay.
Our tactic was quite clear, because we knew that Maja was in incredible shape, and if she would be in touch with the leading teams out on last leg, most likely no one would be able to beat her. The plan was to avoid mistakes and spend the time needed to do so.
Even though Emma had problems with her akilles since the World Cups in June, and didn't run much sprint on hard surface before WOC, I knew that she would probably get a gap on the first leg. At least I was preparared for it. The gap she made was luckily quite big, which meant that the chasers wouldn't get my back and make an advantage of it. Still, it's very difficult to run alone in front, because you know that running together is an advantage, and that everyone (including yourself) expect you to keep the lead. And I have to say that I have never been more nervous before a race than this one. I was shaking, and it was a relief to get the map and get going, even though I knew that 15 very uncomfortable minutes were waiting. But somehow I managed to keep it together all the way, and technically I did an almost perfect race. I was running very controlled and investing much time to look for artificial fences and other "changes" to my map. I had no idea if I was running fast enough, but passing the arena I heard that I was keeping the lead, and it was a good message to get. In the end the course was just about running, but even though I knew that it was simple, somehow I wasn't able to "let go" of the total control and just give everything, like in an individual race The chasing teams caught some seconds in the end, but it was a very good feeling running to the finish knowing that I had done a good job for team.
When Switzerland caught us in the end of 3rd leg, I was thinking that it was still open for the gold, but I assured myself that Maja would fix it on the last leg. And she did...
What a magical last 15 minutes of the relay, watching on the big-screen with Emma and Søren, how she got a gap and the gap just increased more an more. And being able to do the run-in together as World Champions, when everyone was cheering, is a moment I'll never forget.

Again I think the organizers had done a good job with the choice of terrain, and they did "surprise" us with some new passages and some artificial fences to make some good routechoices. The course was good and very varied, and the use of the sanddunes was actually quite good, because it was totally change in orienteering. Of course the last part of the course in the park was simple, but good for the TV-production I guess. The forking system also worked well and this year the course-setter had done a good job making the distances of all possible courses the same. So when you had a long forking in the beginning you would get a shorter one later on the course. That's the right way to do it I think, so you won't get the advantage of having the long forkings on the first two legs.

I knew that it would be a challenge to run the sprint-final the day after the sprint-relay, because the relay often is linked to a lot of nervousness and emotions, and it can be difficult to let go of that afterwards. Especially because we ran in the evening and didn't really have time to analyze the race fully before going to bed. We got a lot of attention after the gold-medal (including a doping-test for me), and it would have been easy to get carried away with the success. But I was prepared for this situation and already on the drive back my focus shifted to the following days race.
The feeling was good before the race. Actually my body and mind were feeling more ready than the day before and I was really looking forward to race again. We had done good preparations and I knew the town of Forres in and out, because the area was quite small (the organizer had early announced road-closings).
The sprint-relay was 4,3km with 45m climb and some slow surface in the sanddunes. The winning-time was set to 14:30, but the fastest times were a bit slower. In the sprint-final the last bulletin said 4,1km, 25m climb and mostly road, with a winning-time of 15:00.
So shorter, less climb, faster surface, no advantage of running together, but still 30 seconds slower. And when the organizers put up quite many artificial fences in the sprint-relay, where mass-start and forkings should make enough confusion, we were expecting (or at least hoping for) a very tricky sprint-final. Everyone knew every corner of the quite simple town, due to the open embargo-rules, so it wouldn't make any sense not to make some changes (put up some fences). Otherwise it would just be a running-competition?

But we were dissapointed... When I looked at the control descriptions 1-2 minutes before my start, the last 8 controls looked a lot like being in the park, so maybe it would be a fast last part in the park? Anyway, my plan was to look for extra black lines on weird places on the map I knew. Not to 1st control, not to 2nd control and not to 3rd control? On the longer leg to 3rd control I realized that maybe there would be no changes at all, and this would just be a matter of running speed?
But no, to 5th control one of the passages was closed, I realized it too late and had too turn back, loosing 7-8 seconds. Otherwise I did a quite good race, but the course was easy and often the routechoices appeared not to differ much in time. It was just about to choose one,  and put the map in the pocket, because you knew in your head where to go. I can't remember a sprint where I have looked so much on the map before the race and so few times on the map during the races...
I was especially dissapointed about the last part of the race in the park. Often it's on the last part of a sprint, you see differences and people making mistakes. This year it wasn't really possible to make a mistake on the last 1/3 of the course, out in the park...
The winning-time was estimated to be 15:00, but was won in 13:12... How is it possible to estimate so wrong? Or was it just to trick us?
If you look at the speed Jonas ran the course with an average speed of 3:13 min/km. Compared with last year, which was a quite fast sprint, the winning-speed was 3:33 min/km. This year we used touch-free punching though, but the speed still says a lot about the technical challenges of the course...
Maybe the organizers just want a close competition, by minimizing the challenges more or less to just running speed? If that's the case, they succeeded! But if you ask the runners, I think the majority would say that the course was too easy and boring, and not really suitable for a WOC.

But the course was as the course was, and I just wasn't good enough. Without the one mistake and two slow routechoices (12-15 seconds timeloss in total), I would have been close to a medal. But I'm simply just not fast enough on a course like this, compared to the 10 runners in front of me on the result-list. I was hoping for a better result, but I have to be satisfied with my performance which was quite stable.
If I'm focusing on the sprint next year in Sweden, I either have to be even faster or hope for a more challenging course, which often suits me better. Swedish sprint-courses are not exactly known to be very interesting and technical though (like the World Cup in Lysekil), so let this be a call to the WOC 2016-organizers. Now when you decided to open up the embargoed area, like this year, please do something to make it a WOC-worthy sprint.

Relay and Long Distance

I won't say much about my last 2 races. I was running the last leg on our relay-team and we were really looking forward to this because we had focused a lot on this during the spring, knowing that it would be the best chance for a Danish medal for the men in the forest-disciplins. That's also why Søren S didn't run the middle and that I was running the long instead of the middle, to be as fresh as possible. Unfortunately Søren B had to withdraw from the first leg after the middle distance, and Thor had to make his WOC-debut on the first leg... not an easy job. He struggled physically, and wasn't able to follow the best, sending out Søren more than 4 minutes behind. In a fast terrain like this and with short courses, you can't afford that, and even though we did our best, and did quite good races, it was all over before it started...

Before the long distance, my last long distance race was at Swedish League in the end of april, and I hadn't prepared much for this kind of slow terrain and climbing all year. When doing forest-orienteering in my preparations, the focus has been on the last leg on the relay, due to clear priorities.
So before the start I didn't really know what to expect, besides looking forward to a long tough race in a beautiful terrain.
I did a good race, with 2 mistakes (1½min + 45sec) and a bad routechoice to 9th (loosing 1½min). At the mistakes, I didn't understand the way of maping white, yellow and marsh, and made parallel-mistakes. To 9th control I'm surprised that I lost so much time not going left on the track. But the terrain was very different to anything we had tried before, so it was difficult to prepare for.
Otherwise I'm satisfied with my performance and that I was able to do most of it correctly. The only thing I wanted to change was my running in the first half of the race. I was quite comfortable and didn't push much in the up-hills, to keep the energy for the whole course. But I didn't feel much tiredness before the last long leg, and from there it was just going downhill. Maybe I could have pushed harder in the first part, but when you haven't preparared for it, it's difficult to know.
I was actually a bit surprised in the end of the competition that I wasn't higher ranked than, and more than 10 minutes behind. But it's also fair enough not to be higher, when you haven't prepared for it at all. My early starttime hasn't been an advantage either since the tracks got quite big in the end. I need to be higher ranked on the World Ranking if I want to have a chance of a top-position.

Even though the sprint-final course and terrain dissapointed me, I must say that all the forest-distances were of very high quality. The fact that none of them had spectator-controls is maybe not interesting for the specatators, but its nice for the runners because the courses don't have to comprimise with that. Especially the middle and relay would have been ruined with a spectator control. Also the long distance was a great choice of terrain and course. In total I ran 20m on a track, on the whole course, the rest in the terrain (I should have done more to 9th control though...), and its very rare to do 110 minutes of orienteering without running on a track.

And of course it was a great WOC for the Danish Team and it was a pleasure to be a part of the success. And the team is still young (except me?), so hopefully more to come...


Tuesday 21 July 2015

3 weeks WOC-prep in Scotland - success!

As a new thing on the Danish National Team this year, we have had fewer but longer trainingcamps. 2 weeks in Spain in February, 2 weeks in England/Scotland in April and now we had 3 weeks in Aviemore, Scotland as the last preparations before WOC.

I have been supporting the idea about longer training camps, instead of the classic setup with several 1 week-camps, to have better time on each camp to do quality training AND quality recovery. On a 1 week camp you often have a tough program with 2 o-trainings most days, and not much time for analysis and recovery in between.  

Since 3 weeks is quite a long time and this period is very important before WOC, the planning of the camp has been crucial and I have been excited to see how it would all work out, both for me and the team.
On this 3 weeks camp we didn't have that many o-trainings (16 for me in total, 7 sprint-trainings and 9 forest-trainings). But then again most of them were adjusted to each runner to be as relevant and with high quality as possible, and most of them (11) were in competition speed. Beside the intensive o-trainings, we have also done some interval-training, strengthtraining (+ some jumping and speedtraining for me), and some easy running in the beautiful Cairngorm Mountains.

The first week was the last week with a bit volumetraining for me (16 hours), and the two last weeks have been with less volume (14 hours) but with more high intensity training. 
The feeling has been getting better and better during the 3 weeks, and I have felt a big motivation for every hard training. I didn't perform very well in the simulated competitions in the first 2 weeks, but the last week has been good, and especially on the last sprint, my technical performance and physical feeling were very good. Also beating the Sprint World Champions from the last 2 years with 38 and 40sec was a nice confirmation, that the WOC-shape is very close.

In general the camp has been very good and we have had a good spirit on the team. It has been very nice to have so long time to do the last hard preparations, and especially also time to do high quality recovery. 

And I must say that the level on the Danish WOC-team looks very promising. Almost every runner is in my opinion better in most aspects and better prepared than last year, and it will be very interesting to see how they will perform in 2 weeks time.   
For me this season has been difficult since I broke a rib in February. But the healing of the fracture and the re-training went very well, and since I started running again (19-20 weeks ago) the training has been working almost perfectly, which have never happened before. So I'm very optimistic and looking forward to kick some ass in Scotland soon.

The last hard trainingperiod is done. Now it's time for 2 weeks easy training with a few hard trainings to get the last power and energy for WOC

Monday 8 June 2015

World Cup - Not good enough...

And I'm not even talking about the SI-system, but mostly about my own performances and also about the locations and courses of the sprint-relay in Halden and the sprint in Lysekil. "Classic Norwegian and Swedish Sprint", someone said to me, and that's a good summerize.

The training has been working quite good in the last weeks, and I was optimistic about the competitions, and excited to see what my level is right now.

My program was the long distance on wedensday, sprint-relay on friday and sprint on saturday, since these are the distances I'm aiming for in WOC.

Long in Halden:

Unfortunately my long distance was ruined my stomach-cramps during the race and it was not possible for me to push hard enough because of that. Halfway through the course I realized that I would be far behind if I finished the race under these conditions, and since I had some important sprint-races the following days, I decided to quit.
It's never a good feeling to quit a race, but the long distance is the lowest priority at WOC, and most probably I would have tired out myself a lot if I had continued. Otherwise a good and tough course and terrain.

Sprint-relay in Halden:

The stomach was better the following day, and the legs were feeling quite good at the model-event for the Sprint-relay. We (and everyone else I guess) were preparing for a tricky course in and around Frederiksten Festning, but instead the organizers let us run a forest sprint-relay. Very different from all other international sprints we have done, and hopefully not very relevant for WOC2016??
A forest-sprint is fun, but not suited for international events I think, because the advantage from running behind is much bigger in forest (especially in the steep and rocky areas in Halden). We saw it on first leg, where no one was able to run away, and it was a big group coming to the changeover in a long line, including runners who normally can't follow in a city-sprint. The courses still offered routechoices on some legs, but often you had to decide if you would take the "safe" long routechoice around on tracks, or if you would take the "risky, but potentially fastest" straight routechoice through some light yellow with cliffs etc. Maybe some earlier legs went straight and made some tracks in the grass? It's almost impossible to see from the map which is the fastest, and then it's not suitable for sprint in my opinion.
I ran the 2nd leg and started out in 3rd spot. I did well in the beginning, and took the best routechoices to the first controls. But the group made a mistake on 4th and took a bad routechoice to 5th, and suddenly the group was quite big. In the middle of the course I took 2 bad routechoices and I was suddenly in the back of the group. In the end I was struggling to follow, but managed to keep it together, and finished in 8th spot, 18 seconds behind. I was a bit dissapointed that I wasn't able to follow in the end, and had hoped for a better physical feeling. In the end we finished 2nd, after an incredible last leg from Emma, and that was a good result from us in a kind of sprint we're not used to.

Sprint in Lysekil:

When I looked a bit on the sprint-area of Lysekil the days before, I found good areas for a tricky sprint, and when the organizers announced that they would use extra fences, my expectations were high. But I must say, that I was dissapointed again. Some good legs, but also so many legs with no routechoices and so much running... They didn't use much of the interesting areas in the town-center, an the extra fences were put in weird places, not making a difference in routechoices. The long leg was ok, but when you use 1/5 of the race on a leg where the difference in all routechoices is not more than 5-8 seconds and all are easy to execute, it's not interesting in my opinion.
But even if the sprint was easy and boring in many places, I still managed to make some mistakes.
I didn't see some passages on the map in the beginning (control 3 and 4), and did some bad routechoices in the second part (control 5, 8, 10, 13). I'm not good enough to take the best routechoice when the choices involves climbing and stairs. A total timeloss of approx. 30sec is way too much, and simply not good enough if I want to copy last years WOC-results. Physically I was hoping for a better speed, and also here I have some work to do before the beginning of august.

One more thing I need to train before WOC is the SI-touch free punching. Because even if the race was cancelled due to problems with the system, I still managed to miss one well-functioning control in both my SI-cards, and would have been disqualified anyway. I think it's a shame that they are taking away the old SI-punching from the individual races, because I think that it was an important part of them. With the touch-free system you don't have to slow down, but that also means that before you have checked if you got registrered by hearing a low beep or watching a light from your SI-card, you are several meters away from the control. With the "old" system you know you're not registered if you don't hear a high beep from the unit. It also involved more "stop-and-go technique", which is a good part of sprint, I think.

I would have liked to run the middle because it looked really cool on the map, but now my focus is first on Jukola and then on good and hard preparations for WOC.

  Foto: Tutzon

Friday 17 April 2015

It worked...

It's now been 9 weeks since I broke my rib. 3 weeks without running, and then building my running up again slowly for the last 6 weeks. 1:27 - 5:11 - 8:19 - 10:43 - 8:37 - 13:30 hours of running has been the result, including an increase in intesity as well. So I'm almost back at normal traininglevel now. Besides the running, I have done a lot of alternative training, cycling, crosstraining and strength-training during the 9 weeks.

On tuesday I did a test on treadmill, to measure my actual physical level. I was supposed to do it in the end of March, but because of my rehabilitation, we decided to do it now instead, to give me some feed-back on "how bad" my physical level is after the injury and break from running.
The test was different than usual, starting at lower speed (13 km/h), and increasing the speed with 0,5 km/h) every 5min (4 min running - 1 min break), and continuing until exhaustion. I was aiming to run at least at 18 and 18,5 km/h and maybe 19 km/h. But I felt quite good and relaxed during the test, and even at 19 km/h, I was still in control of my breath, being around my anaerobic threshold. In the end, I couldn't finish 4 minutes on 20 km/h, but it was still a very surprising and satisfying result. And not far from the best I have done before. I didn't reach my VO2max, because my legs were exhausted after running 70-75 minutes.

After it was discovered that I had a fracture in my rib, my goal with the coming period of rehabilitation was to do everything I could, to minimize the reduction in my physical level. And I'm pretty sure my physical level now, is even higher than it was just before I got injured. How is that possible?

I haven't been running very much for the last 9 weeks (48 hours) and the progression in volume and intensity has been slowly. But I have done a lot of biking and crosstraining (54 hours) and strength-training (24 hours), keeping the training-load high. And it's very nice to see now, that all the hours and sweat on the bike and in the fitness-centre has been worth it.

The rehabilitation has been good, but not without problems. After Danish Spring, we had a 2 week WOC-trainingcamp with the National Team, starting in Denmark, then going to JK in Lake District and ending with 1 week in Scotland. I hit my knee at Danish Spring, and besides I got quite exhausted after some days with training in Denmark. Even though it was a tough decision to make, I had to skip the JK-races, to make sure that both my knee and body would recover. It turned out to be the right decision, and I had a very good last week of training in Scotland, being able to run full program.

I was tired coming back on sunday, and after the test on tuesday, my calfs has been very sore. I still have to make precautions in my training, and my legs have to get used to running fast on hard surface again. But it's nice to know that my general fitness is good, then it's easier to be patient in my training, and take the right decisions.

And what about the broken rib? It's not 100% healed, but I haven't felt any pain for 4 weeks now...

Tuesday 31 March 2015

Danish Spring

Last weekend I ran Danish Spring. I tried to race at the Danish Night Champs one week earlier, but had to realise that my body wasn't ready for that yet. So I was quite excited about the competitions as I had no idea at all, what my shape, both physically, technically and mentally, would be like.

But I was surprised in a good way, and I did good perfomances in the sprint and middle-distance, finishing in 4th and 2nd position. Søren Bobach dominated all the competitions, but since it was my first races, and my first running session in competition-speed for 6 weeks, I'm very satisfied that I'm not far behind. He is in really good shape, and it's great to be able to compete against him, to see where my level is. I skipped the long distance on sunday as my legs and mind were tired, and to recover a little before our training camp.

I know that I have trained a lot (82 hours in March), and that my general physical level is good, but I still need some more running and especially running in high speed, to be able to get use of it. It was obvious on the sprint, where I had this feeling of not being able to coordinate my legs to move in the frequenzy I wanted. But it will come and right now I'm just happy that I'm actually better than I expected.

Right now we're in Hillerød having some days of training with the national team, and thursday we will travel to England and the JK easter races. There we will have some some good competitions with a good line-up. I will do the sprint on friday and middle-distance on saturday. After that we will go for one week WOC-training camp in Scotland. Focus for me will be on high quality orienteering-session and to increase my volume in running even more.

Friday 20 March 2015

Pushing the limits

It's been 5 weeks since I first started to feel soreness around my right ribs on our training camp in Spain. The conclusion was a stressfracture in on of my ribs, but there still are no really good explanations to what caused the fracture. Most likely I will never get an explanation. The fact that I got a stressfracture in a bone which (almost) never break just from running, potentially could make me concerned. Should I change anything in my training or just train less, to make sure that it won't happen again?

I have confronted with these questions from myself and others the last weeks, but the more I think about it, the less concerned I get. I know that elitesport is about training hard and pushing your limits to get better. Sometimes (often when you're younger) you go too far across your limit and often your body will respond fast by making you sick or injured. It's like balancing on the edge of a cliff. If you're training to push your limits and get better, you will be close to the edge and sometimes when you're training too hard you will fall down. That's a fact all eliteathletes know. The risk of injuries and sickness is a part of the game, and if you're never sick or injured, maybe you are not training hard enough. The best simply just know their limits better, and what signs the body give when they have reached them (etc. sore muscles, exhaustion, different HR-pattern, ...). Then it's easier to make small adjustments in the training, to make sure that you won't get injured or sick. And next time maybe it will be a bit longer to the edge, because you have pushed the limit of what you're capable of.

I have always been training like that. Trying to push my limits all the time. How many hours can I train? How long can I run? How much high intensity training can I do? How fast can I run my intervals? How much can I squat? How high can I jump? How much orienteering can I do?
And at the same time try to listen to the signals my body send when I'm pushing limits, and make adjustments if it's necessary. Often it goes well, and my capability will improve, but sometimes I train too hard, or try to improve too much at the same time, and I will get injured or sick. I'm well aware of that risk.

During the last weeks I have realized that I don't want to change that. I don't want to train less than I know that I'm capable of, to make sure I won't get injured. I don't want to run a good WOC-sprint 2015 and finish in 10th spot, if I know that the result could have been better if I had trained as hard as possible. Maybe I will still be in 10th place this summer, but it's okay, if I know that I did all I could to be as good as possible. Then the others were just better than me.

So I keep training to my limits. Of course I know that I have a broken rib, so after I started training again I pushed my limits on the bike and in the gym, doing whatever I could to minimize the decrease in endurance and strength in muscles, tendons and bones. After a week I could start to train on a crosstrainer and start to train with higher intensity. 2 weeks ago I started running again after 3 weeks without running. 15 minutes of running on treadmill resulting in sore thighs and calfs afterwards (quite low limit), but at the same time pushing my limits on long bike-trainings, or crosstrainer-intervals, or in the gym. Around 20 hours/week of training the last 3-4 weeks, and many hours spent in the fitness-center... 2 hours of running the first week, slowly running every other day, increasing from 15 to 45 minutes, and going from the treadmill to outside on roads and tracks. 6 hours of running last week, every day the last days, and up to 1h15min, going also in the terrain and doing orienteering again. Ended the week at Nordjysk 2-dages trying to push a little harder on the middle distance on sunday. What a good feeling being back doing the thing you love the most, orienteering.
All the time I have tried to listen to the signals my body have sent (pain and soreness), and maked adjustments to the plan if necessary. Because the rehabilitation have been far from painless, but I have done whatever I could without pain, and slowly the things I have been able to do painless, have been more and more all the time.

People have asked me why I'm training that much, and that maybe it would be better just to rest more and not risk anything with the healing process of the fracture. But I want to be at my best at WOC in Scotland, and I know that I won't get any WOC-medals if I don't do all I can, to get back in normal training as fast as possible. So far in my rehabilitation I have pushed the limits, knowing that I'm risking to interrupt the healing process or to get other injuries. But so far it has been going well, and now I'm stronger, in better shape and more used to a lot of training, than I would have been, if I hadn't taking any risks. It means that yesterday I did my first hard interval-session, and tomorrow I'm back competing again (Danish Champs in Night-O), 5 weeks after I broke my rib. This week will be 9-10 hours of running and hopefully soon back to full training again.

My rib hasn't healed completely yet, and will not be 100% until 3-6 months according to the doctors.
I still can't turn around or get out of my bed without pain, and it will probably continue for some weeks. But I know that I do what I can, and that's a good feeling.

Wednesday 4 March 2015

Training statistics 2014 and new club

Only a few months too late, but better late than never. This is for you Søren!

So, what to say about my training in 2014?

In the weekly summary, you can see that 2014 consisted of 2 important competitions (EOC and WOC). In November and December 2013 I studied a lot and my training varied. From January to April it was a lot more structured towards EOC in April. The volume was high until March and decreased coming closer to EOC, the opposite happened to the intensity in my training, which increased coming closer.
After EOC I started a period of high volume training again and I had 6 weeks of very good training, but got sick at the World Cup in Norway in the beginning of June (week 23). WOC was in week 27/28, and O-ringen in week 30 (with almost 4 hours in the highest intensity-zone...). In the autumn my training again varied a lot because of my studies and also some lack of motivation. Otherwise a good year of training.

Comparing with earlier years:

Looking at the "type of traning". Moving back to Denmark summer 2012 has cut my amount of alternative traning into half (not so much xc-skiing). Amount of running has been the same for 3 years now. I have been running 500-600 km less than the last 2 years, so I have either been running slower, or more in heavy terrain. A bit more strengthtraining in 2014.

"Intensity of training" shows very good that in 2014 my focus was on middle and sprint, and not the longdistance. I have actually been training 45 hours in the highest intensity-zone (>92% of HRmax), compared to 27 hours in 2013 and 24 hours in 2012. These extra hours in I5 have been taken from I4 (87-92% of HRmax). Interesting... (?)

New Club

Also I have not mentioned that in 2015 I will not be running for Vaajakosken Terä anymore, but for Pan Århus, where I live. I have had 2 very good years in Terä, with some great experiences. I didn't know much about Finland and Finns before, but they have been very open and friendly to me, and I have enjoyed the time I have spent there, and the friendships I have got. But I also must admit, that I'm not getting younger, and the eager to go on a lot of training camps and competitions, is not what it used to be. I haven't used the opportunities the club has offered so much as I wanted to, and since Pan Århus have asked me if I wanted to be a part of a new strong Danish mens-team, it was difficult not to say yes.
So now I again represent Pan Århus (as I did in 2005-2007) in international events and still my original club, Faaborg OK, when its national events (according to Danish rules). I'm looking forward to compete in the same team as the people I'm training with every day, and the spirit is high. It's difficult to make a project like this in Denmark, but the club and the runners are doing a great effort to make it happen! Hopefully Danish Elite Orienteering can benefit from this project as well.

Wednesday 18 February 2015

Broken rib

It's been almost ½ year since I wrote something here, and since I'm still continueing my career in orienteering, I want to give some updates.

My master thesis: 

The fall 2014 I devoted to my master thesis and the practical part of my project. Testing 2 different kinds of interval-training (30sec vs. 4min) on the runners in the elitecenter here in Århus. The testing and intervention was carried out in october-december, but I had to do quite a lot of preparations leading up to the pre-testing.
In general the intervention went well, but it was a very stressful time, when you have to keep track of the training and testing of 15 different runners. Making training-plans, motivate all the runners in the training, help the runners register every training-session, making adjustments due to sickness or injuries, keep track of the completed training in the 2 groups so it matches and so on.
But it was also a privilige to have the opportunity to make plans for some of the best runners in the world, and helping them in their daily traning.
The results have been a bit surprising, but they will still be quite useful in our future traning. Also the runners got more experience with different kind of traning than we're used to, and to be more focused on the intensity in their traning.
The last post-tests were carried out just before Christmas, and I haven't spent very much time on my project since then. Since the beginning of January my traning has been main focus, because officially I have a break from almost all my studies until WOC in August like last year.

My traning:

In the fall I wasn't traning very much, most due to low motivation, but I also tried to work more structured with some weak parts of my body (achilles and around my hip).
I took part in the project myself, doing the 30sec-intervals, and it was interesting to see how my body reacted to this pure anaerobic training. I wasn't running that much during the intervention though, and in January I wanted to start a long and hard period of basic-training which is quite important for me, to be able to be in my best shape during the summer.
The training was going well for 4-5 weeks and I thought that my body responded well to an big increase in running-hours. In the beginning of February the Danish National Team went to Barbate in Spain for a 2 weeks training camp in warm and nice conditions.
I was very motivated and the first week went well with 19½ hours training including 17½ hours / 153km running (mostly orienteering).

Broken rib: 

I'm normally training quite much in the wintermonths and pushing the limits of what I'm capable of. But this time it was apparently too much. After a O-interval session on Tuesday last week, I started to get sore around my lower right ribs. Our Team Denmark physiotherapist wasn't so concerned about the pain I had, and thought it to be some kind of muscle stretch, because I hadn't fallen or hit something. I kept traning for 1½ day and it was sore but not too bad when I was running. But the second day after the injury the pain got a lot worse, and I was suddenly not capable of running. Also movements in the daily life was painful, and I started to fear the worst, because one of my ribs where extremely sore. I decided to go home on saturday, 4 days before the others, and the ultrasound scan on monday showed a complete fracture of one of my ribs.

Now it's time for some rest, and rehabilitation of my rib. It's has been quite a surprise for everyone I have talked to, that a runner is capable of getting a stressfracture in a rib. The reasons for the fracture are not clear, but most likely too much breathing (from training) the last period maybe combined with some stress from strength exercises has been too much. The good thing about getting a fracture in my rib is, that it will be easier to get back into traning, compared to stress-fractures in the legs. I have to be careful with pushing my breath too much and with strength-training using my upper body the first couple of weeks. But easy biking is painless now, and if everything goes as planned, I can start running again in 3-4 weeks.
Of course this is not what I hoped for, but I have had worse injuries but still getting back in good shape again quickly. And it's still long time to WOC in Scotland in August. The season plan will be a bit different than firstly planned, waiting with the first competitions until the end of April. Next goal for me will be the training camp in England/Scotland in the beginning of April. I have to learn from this injury and be a bit more careful planning my training better in the future. It's easy to get carried away when things are going well, and you're very motivated. I will now use the motivation to do all the alternative training I can, so I will be as strong as possible when I start running again.