I met with one of my individually coached athletes to discuss his performance at the JK. We had spent a couple of hours geeking the Slieve Croob map, and had also managed to find a small snippet of map from Tyrella, the week before and it was clear to him what the benefits of doing this was.
His Sprint was pretty steady with only minor mistakes. Living where we do it is difficult to get very much training in proper urban sprint areas. This is also an area that I haven’t much experience in, although I have looked at some YouTube videos. This is a good one starring Nick Barrable.
Day 2 was in the very technical Tyrella area. He did pretty well for the first few legs, before getting tired and struggling on the steep dunes. We used an assessment form to clarify what went well with those first few legs. It was clear that geeking the small map section and reading the event details had paid off. He was able to make good use of the obvious thickets and made route choices that kept high, or used the big reentrants.
He caught two others from his course very early on. This affected him, and within a few controls he made a mistake. One of these managed to get away. The other stayed with him for the rest of the course. He described this as very off-putting, as the other runner wasn’t obviously taking the event as seriously. It is possible that this effected his motivation, and left him more tired than his fitness levels would suggest.
The outcome of this analysis was to make him think of ways to handle catching, or being caught by, other runners. His best option is to deliberately ignore them (which is easier said than done). We talked about the use of an appropriate keyword for this situation.
Day 3 was on Slieve Croob and was the long race. This area is very similar to his natural training ground and his fatigue levels were much lower. This leads us to think that more terrain specific training will be important next year. He had “the best race of his life” until he came in sight of the finish, when he lost concentration and made several mistakes. This is a common theme. One thing to work on is to concentrate on orienteering the whole way round, even if everything is going well. The other suggestion, from him, was that he should fold the map so as not to be able to see the finish.
The geeking paid off brilliantly, even to the point of having picked a control site at the end of a long leg. His route choices were informed by having planned legs and discussed route choice options.
We used a different analysis sheet for this course, which identified that he rarely looks at control descriptions (codes are always checked!). We discussed the reasons for doing this in terms of route planning, i.e. always check this out early in route planning so as to plan the fastest route to the control site. There were two examples where he may have changed the final 100m of a leg if he had seen that the controls were at the top/bottom of the reentrants.
He has begun to see the benefits of using the analysis sheets from this session.
His relay run was really excellent, but he didn’t have his map for this.
The last few minutes of the session we discussed the map the the British Champs and he was left with some geeking tasks. The LOC evening event was at Claife Heights which gave some practice at navigating on steep slopes, hopefully similar to Wharncliffe.