NZ Champs Recap

Last weekend marked my return to orienteering since the secondary effects of my ankle impingement problem became clear 3 months ago. In fact I had only been doing running training properly for 3 weeks coming into this years’ NZ Champs in Hawkes Bay and wasn’t expecting to my on top form, but picked up my first NZ title along with 3 3rd places. Let’s take a look at how.

The unexpected break in training after my European campaign  was needed to rewrite some bad biomechanics, but I turned it into much more than that by developing a successful leg strength routine to help strengthen muscles and tendons for future injury prevention. Along with a few jogs and short cycles per week, this recovery-focused period allowed me regain control of specific problems while preparing to make a smooth transition into my current training block. Only 3 weeks into the block, with 5 and a half hours of running per week, I hit quite good form just in time for race day. To be on such form with so little running in the past 3 months reinforces the importance of maintaining what you can through periods of recovery. There are many components to one’s performance and many methods to train different components while allowing recovery of others.

I think this message is very important for those wanting to maintain consistency through a long season where disruptions are likely. Problems are not black and white and even a significant problem should not necessarily mean a full system shut down. If the problem is understood well then it doesn’t have to end a season or training block prematurely.

Finishing a lung burning middle distance with no recent racing. Photo cred: NZ Orienteering Champs 2017

On to NZ Champs, and I can’t speak highly enough of the quality of this event run by a talented bunch from Hawkes Bay Orienteering Club. The technical details of the sports were spot on with crisp mapping and interesting courses across all 4 disciplines. Event locations and commentary made it a pleasure to spend the weekend immersed in orienteering. I won’t share a detailed analysis of my 4 podiums, but I’d encourage people to check out my GPS routes for the long especially as there is some room to challenge yourself by critiquing my route choices. Success in the other 3 races was more about execution in the moment, but there are some interesting choices also. My one significant blunder of the weekend was embarrassingly the first control of the relay, where I set myself up for a painful chase just to regain the lead pack.