Although Winter does have it's merits, for an orienteer being warm and not having to feel the ground slide from beneath your feet in every training is a smarter option! I've had a couple of tough Winters struggling with injury since I moved to Finland, but now for the first time everything seems to be working as it should (touch wood). It's a bit easier to get out the door for a recovery jog when you only need to wear a pair of shorts as opposed to 12 items of live-preserving clothing, so to be on the safe-side I've decided to 'get the hell out of dodge'.
New Zealand is once again my destination. Many athletes got to experience a slice of NZ summer with the world cup races and Sprint The Bay in the beginning of this year. Though competing at a such a high level before the season began was not particularly ideal, I think most who made the journey were happy with the training opportunities, or at least being able to thaw their bones out.
I look forward to a really good training period in Hawke's Bay, while preparing for another Sprint The Bay. Once again we've got a bunch of exciting new maps and will have our first knock-out race at Stage 1. We were pretty stoked to see our Splash Planet (Stage 2) map from this year recommended by many and in the running for the worldofo course of the year - thanks to those who voted! There are still "cheap" flights available (compared to other years - around 1100€ return from Europe), if you do a little hunting online. For those who didn't make it to NZ this January (or for those that did but couldn't get enough!), I welcome any training partners to join the mini-camp I've got planned with my younger brother. Check out the 2nd of our STB promo trailers for next year's races for a glimpse of what to expect:
After New Zealand, I plan to ease back into the cold. I will go to Spain for a short period then Portugal for a Rajamäen Rykmentti training camp (about 3 weeks in total). This will give me a chance to get some low intensity technical training under my belt and hopefully some good WRE points at a couple of events. I've now decided to skip the first World Cup race in Turkey (though I was really looking forward to it) - I suffered the effects of the long season this year and I would like to focus my efforts over a shorter period of time. Things will be a bit different this year as far as WOC goes. I am really aiming for the sprint and relays, but I hope to run another distance as well. It's going to be a bit tricky with New Zealand's seriously limited start places in Long and Middle, but hopefully there's a spot for me there.
Right now I've been focusing on my studies and training quite often with the local athletics guys from Jyväskylän Kenttäurheilijat. I am focusing a lot on strength at the moment, something I have previously avoided (for reasons unknown). I have quite a different approach to training than a few years ago, and I'm looking forward to seeing it's effects now that I finally have some 'clear skies' and can train properly without injury.
Have a great Xmas and New Years everyone! :)
PS. Vote for NZ's own Lizzie Ingham for the worldofo orienteering achievement of the year! (before 11th of December)