The training camp was very professionally run by Janni Salmi and Goggi. We turned up to each little town, given a really well planned course, on a great map, SI punching and good international competition to compare splits against. Each evening there was some interesting analysis on the tricky legs of the day and I learnt a lot, not just from Janni but from the other athletes as well.
|Monte St Angelo - the map and the town|
Sprinting around Italian mountain towns felt like a different sort of sprinting to the stuff we usually do. Although Britain has some quite 'technical' sprint areas, there is nothing quite like these places we visited. Tiny alleyways, lots of them, junctions everywhere and then the stairs. The stairs proved to be more of a problem than I had first thought, not only working out route choices, as you can often cover twice the distance on the flat to that on steep stairs - but it was also trying to read the map on them that was the difficulty. I felt like a beginner again, I was standing still on road junctions trying to work out where I was and whether that meant right or left or back where I had come from. But things improved, I can't say that I have 'mastered' that sort of stuff, but I do think that I got better, and I had a lot of fun doing it.
Murray followed me round the last training exercise - a sprint relay in Vico de Gargono - with a video camera.
Murray also made another video with all the other footage of the relay
After the training camp we came back to Rome for 3 days of the Mediterranean Orienteering Champs. A nice combination of rapid park orienteering and sightseeing. Although the orienteering was much more simple, the quality field meant that every second was shown up and so it was still worthwhile running. Technically I wasn't perfect, but nor was anyone, and I do think my sprint technique has improved, particularly flowing through controls smoothly. Physically I felt like I was lacking something all week. I can't tell exactly what that is - it could be still struggling for race fitness after injury - but I have had some encouraging training sessions so I'm not convinced it is that. Anyway, I was really pleased with the results as I managed to edge into 3rd overall, though there were only seconds in it every day. The results are on the event homepage here.
The JK is now only 2 weeks away and I'm looking forward to putting up a fight to defend my title. After that, I've planned a 2 month block of training through April and May to put me in good shape for the selection races and hopefully some World Cups/WOC to follow. I also have some other plans and aims and more news of them to follow shortly...