Training Camp Diary by Alice Wilson
Club: Clydeside Orienteers
Age Class: W16
Badaguish British Orienteering Talent Squad Pre-Season Camp.
The focus of this final training camp before the racing the season begins was to put together the orienteering techniques that we had worked on in detail during our previous weekend camps and practice them under race conditions.
On the first day, we were based at Inshriach. The first exercise was practice for running the first Leg of a Relay, so we all started in a mass start and, like in a Relay, we had different gaffles.
In the afternoon we moved to a different part of Inshriach where the contours are much more complex. There, once again like in a race, we were all given different start times and it was our responsibility to be fully warmed-up and to get there on time. This exercise itself was a Middle distance course and was all about orienteering like you would do on race day.
At British Orienteering Talent Squad training camps the evening review session is just as important as the physical training itself. We normally upload our GPS traces onto websites that allow us to put our routes directly onto the orienteering map so we can see exactly where we went.
Mark Nixon Talent Squad’s Technical Coach usually gives a presentation debriefing us about the day’s training. Also, depending on what phase of training we are in, Mark talks about the orienteering technique we were practising, and if we have made a mistake, we can look at the Leg and identify where and why the mistake happened.
In the morning of the second day, we went into Aviemore for a Sprint exercise. Once again, like on race day, we were issued start times. As always in Sprint Orienteering this course forced us to focus on route choice. This was really interesting as later when we reviewed the session in the evening, we measured the lengths of the different routes we had chosen, taking into account turning sharp corners or zigzagging in and out of buildings, and could work out what the best routes were.
After lunch we did exercises at Loch Vaa with a combination of longer and shorter Legs, practising for Long races. This was helpful as it gave me a better understanding of how many decision points I needed to safely get me to the control, and how that can differ in an area of vague or complex contours. Also, it helped me to understand when marshes and open areas are useful to navigate by - just in case you’re wondering in Loch Vaa they are.
We drove up to the Moravian coast, and in the morning attended a local Moravian event at Darnaway East, where they had especially planned male and female Middle distance courses for us. This was great as we could use this event, even though it was small, as practice for what it would be like at a bigger event, in the sense that there would be more distractions – such as more people in the forest not on your course – and proper SI punching. Distractions in the forest are something that everyone struggles with on some level, so using a real event was good practice for coping with this.
Afterwards, we headed to Culbin for more Relay practice, except that this time we did it as if we were heading out on the final Leg; meaning there were staggered starts and once again different gaffles.
For our final exercise, we went to Uath Lochans and did a Long distance course. This was a good exercise to finish with as it gave you a good idea of how your navigation had improved in the last four days.
Overall, the training camp was great fun, and I think it was especially helpful that over the four days I was able to practice all of the different disciplines of orienteering: Long, Middle, Relay and Sprint. Also, this camp taught me to properly analyse my routes and choices after racing, which is a skill I will be able to put to good use whenever I go orienteering in the future.
Thank you, Alice, for providing this insightful account of your time at camp. British Orienteering would like to take this opportunity to wish you and all the members of the Talent Squad all the very best with your training and preparations for the 2018 season.
Read Angus Harrington's Badaguish Talent Squad Pre-Season Camp: Training Diary here.