Saturday, June 28, 2014

JWOC Middle – What to expect

The Course Setter

Kiril Nikolov is a current Bulgarian Elite orienteer. He has run WOC several times with top 15 placing’s on several occasions. He won silver in the 2012 European champs Sprint. He only started orienteering in 1998 and was selected for the national team the year after.

From my research, he specialises in long and sprint distance races. This may provide an interesting style middle distance course. By looking as his top 5 courses from 2011, Nikolov likes long legs that require decisive navigation the entire way. It also seems that he likes course styles of Long legs broken up by several short demanding legs. His favourite style of course requires active decisive orienteering for the entirety of the course. It must be kept in mind that his favourite 5 courses of 2011 were all sprint and long distance. Nikolovs speciality in sprint and long distance will create a course that is quite different to a classical middle distance, it will be physically demanding, with very technical orienteering (Perhaps even too technical for the course setter – which will be the charm) the entire way. I am really looking forward to having Nikolov as the course setter for both the middle and the long and expect he will set an outstanding course.

Courses are between 3 and 4.2km so it will be jam packed with action, from a long distance course setter.

The Forest

The forest will be a mixture of old and new growth. The flatter areas (if any) will likely have a substantial amount of young growth with the steeper areas consisting predominantly of older growth and very small young growth. The forests are deciduous so there will be lots of leaf litter. This will be physically demanding on the hard ground suited legs of Australians. However, as Australians are used to harsh hard ground, injuries are less likely to occur during training camp and competition times as well as Australians being able to run with a tougher mindset. In Australia, if you fall over at speed you’ll quite possibly break something. In Bulgaria, if you fall over, you may as well drop in to Forty winks and ‘Get a Better Bed!’. Our very own Blair Trewin has informed us that the wet winter and spring will stimulate young growth. So the forest floor will likely be covered with growth about knee height. As well as this, the ground may be wetter than usual continental terrain.

The Terrain

Steep and Unique! The map ranges from 900 to 1000m above sea level.  The ground has lots of contour detail made up of tiny spurs, gullies, high points and some rock. Unfortunately the terrain is so unique that it is hard to say much about it. However, from photos that I have seen, it reminds me of the New Zealand Map ‘Naseby’. In summary, the contour detail is the major challenge, but when mixed with the steepness, the middle distance will be possibly one of the hardest races of everyone’s orienteering experience.

More information about the courses specifics will be released in bulletin 4 in July 2014. For now, enjoy the challenging training task.

Friday, June 13, 2014

Across the Ditch

At the beginning of June I packed my bags and flew across the ditch to Wellington, New Zealand to compete in their Queens Birthday weekend races. Obviously competing in some high quality races was a bigger priority than studying for my upcoming exams...

The first day was a sprint at Massey University in Palmerston North. I had a decent run (16:30) but made four 10 seconds errors that put me into 3rd place behind Tim Robertson (16:10) and Shamus Morrison (16:20), both members of the New Zealand JWOC team. For more details on the race, see the race report by Nick Hann on the New Zealand JWOC blog ( After the race we headed back to our accommodation in Foxton, just down the road from where I stayed in 2012 and the infamous "Croc Bike" (which Steph informs me must have been stolen from the wellington waterfront...). I was staying with Nick's family in a large beach house with about 20 people from their Wellington club, meaning I didn't have to cook!!

Sprint Map with Route Choices
The second day was a long distance at Fusilier, the map that we ran at on the first day of Oceania in 2013. Our course was 14.6km on a 1:15000 map, which was a lot shorter than the 18km that the Kiwi’s had run 5 weeks ago at their nationals. For me this was a good race after control 6, the time it took me to adjust my navigation to the sand dune detail. I really enjoyed this race as it was in fast pine forest with sand dune detail but the ground was also soft which made it tough work. I came 2nd today, 6 minutes behind Tim. Again for more race analysis see the New Zealand blog. After the race we headed to the dunes for some needed post-race dune jumping (see below for a short video of some of the action).

The third day was a middle distance at Osgilith, the same map that we ran on for the second day of Oceania in 2013. The course was 4.4km on a 1:7500 map so quite a change from yesterday. The start of the course had some fast forested dunes and then moved to an adjacent coastal block with a mix of light green and open dunes with both low visibility and runability. My aim for this course was to concentrate on three aspects of my orienteering that I struggled with yesterday; identifying strong attackpoints, slowing down to get a good bearing from my AP to the control and recognising what feature the control was actually on (which can be hard to notice on a sand dune map). In relation to these three goals my race was very good, the sort of race that I think would put me through a middle qualification. I had to slow down a lot in the coastal block however and think that I should have attacked the start of the course (which was easier) a lot harder. I came 3rd, about 1 min behind Shamus (who I was beating until he got caught by Tim) and close to 5 minutes behind Tim. Tim had a ripper of a race and was just attacking the terrain a lot more than me, taking time off me on nearly all of the controls. With a race like that at JWOC I could certainly see Tim making the podium again!!!
Competing in the Middle Distance
As I was unable to fly out Monday afternoon I got to fly out Tuesday instead. So Tuesday morning I took the opportunity to run on some awesome trails in the hills behind wellington with Tim (including a 18 minute climb with 350m climb). After a successful weekend of some technical orienteering against some world class competition I returned home to enter the horrible world of exams...
Scenic Run in Wellington

 2 weeks later..
I have finished 3 exams and only have one more exam (next Friday). The last 2 weeks have been fairly easy training wise but the training will ramp up again next week, followed by my second JWOC preparation week before I fly out to Istanbul two weeks today!!
An example of some of the terrain in NZ

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Eat, Sleep, Train, Repeat (Part 3)

Chapter 6: There is no route choice, only weakness (by Matt Doyle)

I had a really great Easter, putting together some of my best races in recent memory, and this has put me on a bit of a motivational high from then on. The team vibe from the camp and other stuff has been awesome, and I have been cranking straight back into my training, as well as managing to utilise my good shirt from camp at school’s free dress day, bringing plenty of ‘mirin’ looks. I train pretty much by myself in Kilmore, so it was a welcome break when Brodie showed up for our 3km TT after a tough, and infamous, JWOC Prep week (which went well – tough as advertised). Laying down a new PB is a bit of a highlight of mine, as my previous PB was set in late 2011 and it lets me know that my training has been paying off. I manage to get out to at least one event pretty much every weekend, thanks mainly to the Bendigo Orienteers, and the State Series also provides a good opportunity to see where I am at against some quality runners. I have done some tough long distances lately, and while I have struggled to go particularly well at these in my mind, it’s been good to just get some time into the legs while looking at the map.

I wasn’t able to get up to Dubbo for the QBIII, which was disappointing as it looks awesome, but there are going to be a couple tough races this weekend held down here in Victoria, utilising Mt Tarrengower and a big race out near Saint German for State Series 7, 15.6km which should be good, a good opportunity to get some real big races in before I fly out in a few weeks. Looking forward, I plan to incorporate some more speed work into my training as I sharpen in towards JWOC, while still maintaining the hills component of my training, as I felt this was one the biggest things I was lacking in last year’s long (apart from the ability to make good route-choice decisions). Another JWOC prep week is looming next week, but I am looking forward to it.

Example of a bit of training on my home map. It might not be too technical, but it is steep!

Training stage 3 has been a vital component of my training since Easter and is progressing a treat. I will be well and truly ready for Stage 6. One of my most noticeable achievements of late is reaching 31st in the world in Catching Features rankings, something which I have been working towards for a while. It has been really good to see the team getting into their training too, I am really looking forwards to this year’s JWOC. A great way to see what I’m up to in my forays into training is to hit up my attackpoint, , and feel free to drop any comments you like.

Chapter 7 - Going to Plan (by Henry McNulty)

After returning from a great trip to NSW I was riding a new high of motivation, and with coach Hanny’s training plan in hand, I got stuck into a solid block of training. My goal was to keep the training consistent, and 5 weeks in everything has been going to plan.

The focus in training has been on endurance over the longer distances, which means tough tempos and longer runs on the weekends. Training with my running group has been great, as some of the other boys gear up for their marathons, there are plenty of opportunities to jump on big sessions like 16km tempos and 2x5km hill sets.

The JWOC prep week was an eye opener for me. After a good start to the week, running a sprint course on a great new map, followed by a Mona fartlek around the river I was feeling fine. However, after two hard days orienteering over the weekend, I was feeling shattered, and took a good few days to get feeling strong again. Definitely needed to get on top of my nutrition and recovery.

Since prep week training has been building up well again, track Tuesdays have been in full swing, although with the temperature dropping they have become shirts-on sessions. Exams are coming up for me next week, so training will take the back seat for a while, but as soon as they’re done I will be on a plane to Sweden, where the final stage of training begins, with a few weeks of solid nav work. Looking forward to giving JWOC my best crack! Cheeky attackpoint plug:

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Eat, Sleep, Train, Repeat (Part 2)

Chapter 4 - Smooth Sailing (By Ashley Nankervis)

The last 5 weeks have been some of the best training I have been able to put together. Other than 1 week where the intensity had to drop down a lot due to catching an annoying cold along with 80% of my school it has been smooth sailing. For me to have no injuries at the moment is amazing and I put that down to proper recovery techniques and good use of easy days/rest days.

My first week after JWOC started well with our Tasmanian Juniors camp which included a mini rogaine, contours only exercise, a relay race (Oisin and I battled around a course together), some awesome sessions at the famous Pittwater and finally finished up with a tough long race at Bluff River.

Following this was 2 and a half weeks of solid training with some long runs getting up to 100 mins comfortable and some killer hills sessions which completely killed me. The cold Tassie winter air burns the lungs on the last rep of a hills session. Also had a visit to Melbourne which was good fun and a good break from my constant school routines. I have been using my compressions tights as recovery to sleep in most nights along with introducing electrolytes into my post training replenishment.

The next week was supposed to be my JWOC Trial week but this is when my sickness hit which completely took all energy away for a few days. Hit the bike a bit just to give the legs a bit of movement. Also had a race a Windfalls (near area used for schools in Tassie 2012) which I was bummed I couldn’t get out and do the long one but still got around a 6.5km course with < 30 seconds of errors. Good to see Jarrah Day in some good form giving me a good person to race against amongst the large numbers of Tasmanian men’s elite. (Joke intended)

Now I am currently coming to the end of my first JWOC Trial week which I think is a really good preparation for at least getting some tiny feeling of what the upcoming week in Bulgaria may feel like. Also finally got convinced to finally get back onto Attack point so you can check out my recent training here. Upcoming I’ve got a 3 day event on the east coast of Tassie next weekend and then just finishing of my training lead up to JWOC before heading to Venice to watch the WOC Sprint.
Chapter 5 - Getting prepared (By Olivia Sprodd)
Looking back at these weeks since Easter, I feel as though time has flown! The training camp was great to get into a good mindset and plan the weeks leading up to JWOC! Unfortunately, coming down ill only a week later wasn’t the great start I had planned for… but I soon got on my feet and my training has involved the weekly interval sessions on the local running loop with a focus on improving speed, as well as hills, tempo runs, long runs and the orienteering events around in South Australia. Something new for me this year is the Southern Arrows runs on Thursdays in the national park, which is done at night with head torches.  With the first hard week / JWOC prep week under my belt I was pleased to improve on my 3km time trial time, and push out some hard hill sessions that I know are definitely needed for running in the Borovets!
The following week I headed up to Melrose (about 270km out from Adelaide) with Kay Haarsma to help out with some orienteering activities she organised for a school camp. It was awesome to spend those two days with an orienteering focus... well three days actually, as the car decided to break down on the day we were meant to leave. Despite this delay, I had a great time listening to Kay and to think about orienteering from a coaching perspective. To try and explain navigation techniques to beginners is harder than it seems! It was also a good mental (and physical!) exercise to run on a map with 10m contour intervals.
So with a few weeks to go until JWOC, I am keen to take on this challenge and feel honoured at the opportunity to run in a foreign country for the first time. I certainly feel a great deal of excitement as I know it will be (and has been so far) a great learning curve.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Eat, Sleep, Train, Repeat (Part 1)

Our JWOC team has been very busy over the last 5 weeks. The following is part 1 of the story I am calling, eat, sleep, train, repeat.

Chapter 1 - Strength and Speed (By Michele Dawson):

One of my goals coming out of Easter was to continue to build up my strength and speed in the terrain. My training in the past 5 weeks has largely focused around this.

Perhaps my favourite session to do has been short terrain intervals, navigating at speed. With the help of Dad putting out control flags and the pressure of racing against both Dad and my brother, Aidan, I have been able to focus on minimizing navigation errors. I have had the opportunity to complete these sessions on complex granite and intricate erosion gully terrains.

Another focus for my training has been intense hill sessions, often completed at Sydney Olympic Park, as pictured below.

My upcoming focus is the Queen’s Birthday 3-Day Carnival in Dubbo this weekend. I am thoroughly looking forwards to running on the JWOC 2007 maps with courses set by some elite Stingers. It will be a good opportunity to put into practice everything I’ve focused on in training in a race context.
My aim for my last three weeks in Australia, before heading off to compete in the Alpe Adria in Italy, is to ensure consistency in my training sessions and focus on recovery between sessions to allow for maximum effort during sessions.

With the last of my university assignments completed today and exams in the upcoming weeks, the anticipation of JWOC 2014 approaches!

Chapter 2 - On Track for JWOC (By Olle Poland):

Since Easter, my training has been going great. I have seen physios to minimise potential injuries and have really focused on building hill strength. Two weekends ago I had some great runs in the ACT champs, especially the sprint, and feel as if I am on track to a great result at JWOC.

Chapter 3 - On the comeback (By Nicola Blatchford):
Training since Easter hasn’t gone exactly to plan for me unfortunately, the classic ‘pre-winter cold’ got to me when I was getting a bit run-down and unfortunately I missed out on a week of training and some good races in ACT. However motivation levels were at a peak following the Easter camp and definitely haven’t decreased!
Hills and intervals have been a big focus in my training program, with strength and speed being two things from Easter that I noticed I really needed to improve on before we head off to the Bulgarian Maps. Track Intervals of a Wednesday has become a weekly session with the Newcastle Orienteers, and it’s definitely made getting through those tough sessions a lot easier. An attempt to improve my running style (Many Thanks to Coach Tracy and Paula!!) has been really good to focus on especially during these sessions, and has definitely improved how I feel about my running recently, and I think has had a good impact on my speed recently as well.
As always I’ve made sure I get to all of the club events and state leagues I can. A club event at Belford, one of my personal favourite Newcastle maps, was a really good chance to get the legs moving in open terrain and really practice my compass technique. Last week’s mass start club event was also really good for some race practice. The course was designed as a pairs relay with multiple pivot controls so it was a good chance to focus on exit direction and control flow, with the pressure of other people around at the same time.

Apart from specific Orienteering training of course, the highlight of my training week of late has been mixed indoor netball with the Newcastle Orienteers. “MACEY’S ANGELS”, named after the one and only Alex Massey himself, are sitting in an impressive top of the ladder position (division 3, but that’s not important)! What we lack in actual netball skills we make up for in our enthusiasm, and the ability to run for the entire 40minute game. Wish us luck for upcoming the finals!


The next competition on my program is the QBIII this weekend in Dubbo, two days of which are being organized by the NSW Stingers so it’ll be a good weekend of races on some quality maps. Really looking forward to some multi-day race practice!

Monday, June 2, 2014

The Road to JWOC

The last 5 weeks have been very busy for all of the JWOC team, trying to balance training with the increasing pressure of school, work and uni. The following blog posts include reflections of the team of their training since Easter.

For myself, the last 5 weeks have been very busy and the balance between training and studying has worked perfectly, with the usual impact on my social life.... The theme of the last few weeks has been eat, sleep, eat, study, eat, train, eat and repeat. The first two weeks post Easter were moderate weeks for me, where I completed some killer hill sessions and an interesting Victorian State League race on some nice mining terrain (see map below).
My route and map from the State League at Irishtown

Proceeding these two solid weeks of training was the fabled JWOC preparation week (1st edition). Put simply this was a modified hard week where I completed sessions that mimicked the races I will be doing at JWOC. Unfortunately I was unable to get to any maps due to uni commitments but it was good to practise the recovery strategies I will use at JWOC and to finish the week completely buggered.
A highlight of this week was going to two 21st parties Saturday night, having 5 hours sleep and then doing a tough fartlek session on some farm roads at 8am to finish the intense week of training. This occasion was made even better by me wearing my top from the infamous "Gentleman's night" at the Easter camp.
For more details on my JWOC prep week you can see my attackpoint at

$2 from Kandos still serving me well

A well earned rest week followed this and allowed me to finish my first honours assignment (8000 words, 44 pages and over 50 hours of work). This week ended with a hard weekend; a 3km time trial with Matt on a tough course and a Victorian State League race at Chewton Diggings, the map that you might remember from Australian Champs 2009 (see below). It was a good weekend for me, with a PB in the 3km in not optimal conditions (9:42) and a 3rd place at the state league only 2.5 mins behind Bryan.

A young Matt Doyle having a swim at Chewton Diggings

This last week was my last week of uni before exams so it involved lots of finishing things off and fitting in training wherever I could. On Tuesday I joined Ian Lawford and a few other Victorian orienteer’s at Melbourne university athletic clubs interval session. This session was a ripper, 6x1km with descending recoveries (5,4,3,2 and 1 mins). On Friday I jumped on a plane to New Zealand, to compete in the Queen’s Birthday Weekend Competition north of Wellington. A post on this weekend will be up shortly.