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Tweet Thursday 1st March 2018

Elite Athlete Winter Training Series - Interview #12: with Jo Shepherd

Winter Training and Motivation: Athlete Focus

The temperature is cold, and the days are shorter. Struggling to maintain the motivation for training or orienteering regularly? You're not alone. Getting yourself out on cold dark mornings and evenings takes a lot more motivation than it might do in July.

Pick up some tips and see what makes up a typical training week for some of our top elite athletes this winter with our elite athlete focus feature series.

Athlete name: Jo Shepherd

Athletes club: Halden SK

Athletes age: 25

Jo Shepherd training
Jo Shepherd training in snow

Athletes biggest achievement?

18th at World Orienteering Championships Middle 2017.

Typical training week over winter (including mileage, terrains, etc)?

Monday: Multi-technique O-training (75min) and Strength training (60min)
I am lucky to have some flexitime at work so I like to start the week with some daylight O-training that will challenge my basic skills. Our evening club strength training includes an aerobic warm-up, drills, core and balance exercises, coordinated in time to music! 

Tuesday: Night-orienteering (75min)
Night orienteering is one of the best ways to challenge your technical skills. There are usually mini reflective kites in the forest and GPS tracking. 

Wednesday: Intervals (75min)
Our club intervals rotate each week between hill reps, running track and undulating intervals in a grassy park. 

Thursday: Night-orienteering (90min)
Night-orienteering from the club hut. At the start of winter we hung out reflective mini kites in the surrounding forest and there are lots of courses to choose from. I often use this session for contour-only practise. 

Friday: Easy run or spinning (60min)

Saturday: O-intervals (75min) and Easy run (30min)
Orienteering-intervals are a great session for challenging your technique at higher intensity. There are control markings, GPS tracking and a start-list.

Sunday: Long run (120min)
Normally a group of us meet for a long run on small undulating forest paths.

Technical training over the winter?

I try to do 4 technical trainings per week: 2 night-orienteering and 2 daylight sessions. Strong and stable technical skills are extremely important for elite orienteers and that is why I moved to Halden in Norway, where there are many excellent maps of technical terrains with challenging courses and top-class coaches and athletes to train with and learn from. 

Top 3 tips for staying motivated in winter?

  • Embrace night-orienteering! Invest in a good-quality headlamp, get out in the forest and even the most familiar terrains become more exciting and challenging!
  • Train with others or share your training plan with a friend. It's much more fun and easier to stay motivated when you can encourage and push each other on.
  • Have fun! The key to good winter training is consistency. When you enjoy what you are doing then it so much easier to get out training again and again.

Athletes favourite motivational quote.

"What the mind can conceive and believe, it can achieve."


Thank you Jo.  British Orienteering and members would like to take this opportunity to wish you all the very best with your training throughout the rest of the year.


Read more

Elite Athlete Winter Training Series of Interviews
More information - here.

Interview #1: with Charlotte Ward - here
Humberside and Lincolnshire Orienteers, Sheffield University Orienteering Club

Interview #2: with Kris Jones - here
Forth Valley Orienteers, Swansea Bay Orienteering Club, Lillomarka OL, Swansea Harriers, Dundee Hawkhill Harriers

Interview #3: with Alice Leake - here

Interview #4: with Alasdair McLeod - here

Interview #5: with Jenny Ricketts - here
Edinburgh University Orienteering Club, Mar Orienteering club

Interview #6: with Hector Haines - here
IFK Lidingö SOK

Interview #7: with Graham Gristwood - here
Forth Valley Orienteers

Interview #8: with Charlotte Watson - here
West Cumberland Orienteering Club
Lillomarka OL

Interview #9: with Jonathan Crickmore - here
Edinburgh University Orienteering Club

Interview #10: with Kirstin Maxwell - here
Roxburgh Reivers

Interview #11: with Megan Carter-Davies - here
Mid Wales Orienteers and University of Bristol Orienteering Club