This August, I headed to Silkeborg in Denmark with the British orienteering team, to run in the Junior World Orienteering Championship 2019 terrain ahead of next year. It was an invaluable experience as I learnt the different skills needed to tackle this terrain. We spent the week in a hostel which was situated near all of the areas for training (and lakes for swimming!)
The day after we arrived, we got stuck into the Danish forests. The woodland consisted of large rolling spurs and re-entrants, with patches of light green, which was usually easy to get through. Some of the flat open forest plateaus reminded me of southern areas in the South Downs, whilst the areas of spurs and steep re-entrants were similar to areas of Cannock Chase.
Throughout the week we completed three long, two middle, one sprint and two relay style sessions. All these training sessions involved various exercises and different techniques to focus on which were important in tackling the challenges of this type of terrain. One of my favourite sessions was on the final day, where we ran long legs in groups, each taking different routes (or slight variations in routes) and matching the running intensity. This allowed us to compare paths options to forest options and options of going around the top of a re-entrant compared to running straight, often down a steep gully and up the other side. Often, if the forest was white, it was quicker to go straight.
Another good training session was the relay training as there were other national teams taking part too, like Sweden, Norway and even some of the Danish senior squad who had just returned from the World Champs. The training was set up like a mass start, with over 40 runners on each of the boy’s and girls’ course. This training turned out to be almost as competitive as a JWOC relay! Overall, it was a great week with some great people and I’m grateful for the opportunity to go to Denmark for a Pre-JWOC camp.
Thank you to The John Taylor Foundation for their support.