Last week the GB Talent squad travelled to Denmark to help prepare themselves for the Junior World Orienteering Championships 2019.
The athletes spent five days training on terrain that they will expect to endure in next summer's competition and GB Athlete, Tom Lines very kindly kept a diary of the tour.
Day 1- Monday 13th August
8:00: Wake up and breakfast which consisted of a buffet with a good spread of food for the day ahead.
9:30: Team meeting followed by a short travel to Vesterskoven for long training, an area with fast terrain and visible features mainly seen in its large contour slopes. This suited many of us as it resembled areas similar to the South of England. There was a course for the boys and girls, which took us through very relevant parts of the area to the long at JWOC next year.
14:30: Return to Silkeborg Vesterskov for middle training. Although we were in the same area as the morning the course was planned on a smaller section of the map, with a 1:10.000 scale. The area was again fast, with time being lost to who was straightest on the red line and who wasn’t!
19:00: Team meeting after a buffet-style dinner with a review of the middle and long- a classroom discussion of the day’s area. Everybody had uploaded their GPS to 3D re-run and a discussion followed looking at the areas features, from its vegetation to its path networks and then route-choice, having live trails of the fastest and slowest routes on each leg to analyse. This helped to uncover which route was best to take in this style of terrain, mainly a path option or not.
Day 2- Tuesday 14th August
8:00: Wake up and breakfast.
9:00: Depart for relay training at Sonderskoven alongside the Danish, Norwegians and Swedish.
10:15: 1st leg simulation using SI with around 40 people mass starting. This really tested our concentration as large packs formed from the beginning going head-head around 8 map gaffles. The area again had steep contour detail and lots of patchy green/ light green vegetation. It was very interesting to run at a harder intensity alongside so many other people in relay style and similar terrain to JWOC next year.
14:00: Depart for sprint training at Aarhus University. This afternoon had an emphasis on running easy, as the morning session was hard and there wasn’t a great amount of relevance to the sprint next year at JWOC. The area had a lot of dead running but good route-choice options on most legs.
19:00: Similar hour meeting to the previous night after dinner, mostly discussing the relevance of the morning relay training. There was a lot of learning generated from people’s error in route-choice and the courses gaffling.
Day 3- Wednesday 15th August
8:00: Breakfast as usual.
9:30: Depart for long training at Marselisborg (South of Aarhus) and by the sea. As this was our ‘rest’ day there were options to cut the training short and keep the intensity very easy throughout. The area had a different mix of vegetation and visibility in comparison to the previous long training but was very fast underfoot and had a lot of similar contour detail in the north to that of the previous long. A refreshing dip in the sea followed, even if it was very cold!
12:30: After lunch, the cars convoyed around the outside of the sprint embargo. These were two areas in central Aarhus adjacent to each other and although we couldn’t see much from outside of the embargo it somewhat resembled a housing scheme with lots of intricate building and ground detail. This gave us a vague feel for what the sprint might look like and what to prepare for.
19:00: Team meeting after dinner looking at the morning session and discussing what we could see from outside of the sprint embargo. The discussion of the morning area again uncovered allot of good and bad route choice options, comparing what certain features looked like on the map to the ground and how to navigate best between the steep contours and hills.
Day 4- Thursday 16th August
8:00: Wake up and breakfast.
9:00: Depart for Sletten, again With the Danish and Norwegians. Today looked more at a 3rd leg simulation with two separate groups (an easy and a hard) starting at different times. There was allot less pack running and the interesting gafflles stretched the groups leaving much more self-navigation than the previous relay training.
14:00: Depart for Hjortsballe Kort for middle training. The area was very different to anything we had run on previously in the week, with a very grotty feel- very low visibility in the green and lots of open gorse. Although it wasn’t very enjoyable to run, the early section had the steep contour detail and hill shapes that are relevant to next year’s JWOC.
19:00: Dinner followed by a team meeting, similar to last night with more 3D re-run routes and discussion of today’s maps/courses.
Day 5- Friday 17th August
9:30: A small group departed for some sprint training around the botanical gardens in Aarhus whilst the majority stayed for the morning, playing table tennis and relaxing before the afternoons final training session!
14:00: Back to Vesterskoven to carry out the final training session - a long style course. The boys and girls split into two training groups so that certain legs of the course could be run alongside each other, regrouping at points throughout to give some immediate feedback of the leg and discussing which routes we were going to take on the next. After the training we went down to swim in the lake next to the area, rounding off a very positive week in Denmark!
19:00: Final team meeting of the week, firstly addressing the long training in the afternoon. Again, GPS routes were discussed and comparisons between the area and that of the previous WOC 2006 long distance near Aarhus were analysed. The past week was discussed and reviewed, mainly focussing on how we can use what we have learnt in Denmark to best prepare for next year’s Junior World Championships.