Some Alternative WOC Preparation from GG

After 12 WOCs it becomes more challenging to find motivation to prepare and to continue. Last year I dabbled a bit in hill and mountain running, and was lucky enough to get selected for the GB team for the World Mountain Running Champs which were held in Bulgaria (where I finished 31st). This year I decided to put more focus towards my running, and less on the orienteering, with the aim of running the European and World Mountain Running Champs instead of WOC.

My winter training went well, and I was able to win the JK and the British Champs whilst maintaining my running training. I then came 2nd at the Inter-counties for hill/fell running in May, which was a strong indicator that my preparations were going well. Unfortunately then I got sick for a couple of weeks, and wasn't completely recovered when it came to the British Mountain Running Champ (doubling as the trial for the European Champs), where I finished a disappointing 5th, agonisingly close to place in the GB team, but not quite close enough.

2 weeks later it was the trial for the World Champs, and luckily I had recovered enough to finish a strong 2nd place - hopefully enough for a place in the GB team for the World Champs in Italy in the end of June. The silver lining of missing out on selection for the European Champs was that I suddenly found myself available for WOC, and with more motivation than earlier in the year - probably due to running fewer competitions - such as skipping the World Cups and Jukola.

The plus side to this is that I have probably never been aerobically fitter than I am now due to my hill running training, although I haven't done a lot of orienteering this year relative to previous years, and I haven't done any relevant training for WOC in Estonia. However, I have run both JWOC and the European Champs in Estonia, and I have experienced many terrain types over my years in the GB team, and I will travel out early before the races start to remind myself what a map looks like, so I am hopeful of some top performances!

I would highly recommend hill and fell running as training for orienteering (and vice versa). There is a similar feeling to the races, and it certainly does the fitness no harm!


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