I made some really good progress last week in dealing with my injuries and have had a hard weekend of training to get myself back on track with my trip to Europe less than one month away.
I started the weekend with a running mechanics session to focus on my technique. My running coach, Michael Adams, introduced these sessions into my training years ago and they provide continuous insight into my body and how I can use it to run faster. This is always my favourite way to start a hard weekend because it really engages my brain for the sessions ahead and helps me to get more out of those sessions than I otherwise would.
On Saturday afternoon AOTC ran a tough training from Muriwai focusing on techniques that would be most important for my racing in both Sweden and Czech Republic. The most significant of these is navigating around vegetation because my habit of running as straight as possible is hard to break when making quick decisions in a race. So to work on this I set the training to include some areas of the Woodhill Forest coast strip with dense vegetation and also put in some fake obstacles to avoid. The fake obstacles are the sharks on the map below and on my DOMA page and expect to see SHARK ATTACK declared in training in the near future.
My GPS shows that my compass work early on in the course was pretty good but I had some trouble in the denser vegetation where I was losing my sense of direction and struggling to pick up on some key features – I think the map is quite out of date in this area so not all of the errors were my fault. The contours only section (north west side of the training) was also very challenging especially without using my compass and you can see my direction was quite poor. I will definitely be incorporating compass-free sections into some of my next sessions. This brought Saturday up to 3 hours of quality training.
On Sunday Michael and I hit up the mighty Waitakere Ranges from Cascades for my long run, which ironically was only just longer than Saturday afternoon’s “extra orienteering training”. We ran a relatively fast loop and included some nice hills. Check out my GPS here! My heart rate was quite low overall and I think we were running a bit slower than I usually would. Despite the rain over the past 2 weeks the tracks we ran on were in very good condition so I’m even more excited to get out in the Waitaks for training on Tuesday night!
I also took my new Salomon TX Wings 3 out for the first time and really enjoyed them. They were a little hard to manage on some rooty sections of Wainamu Bush Track but were perfect for the clay and gravel of the Smythe Ridge and Fenceline tracks. I am hoping that the added support of these shoes will aid in my injury recovery by allowing me to build up some distance without stressing my Achilles or my peroneals as much as I have been from wearing more light weight shoes better suited for orienteering.
I am planning on doing lots more orienteering before I leave to Europe so watch out for some cool training!