Junior Training Weekend Fun

We recently held a training weekend in Garvagh and Portstewart at the end of August.
With the JHI’s looming, both Stephanie Pruzina (My NIOA counterpart- and partner in crime) thought two days of training would be great to get the new minds focused, and sharpen the older Juniors into competition mode.


Of course, one of my cornerstone aims for ALL training weekends is to get the Juniors together.  I know from experience of Junior Training weekends, for many years, that Junior orienteering is more than just the competition on the day.  And those that come, train and stay with the Squad on these weekends benefit hugely.

As parents we get to mix, and help each other out with ideas and suggestions, and Juniors get to know those that they will be, hopefully, on teams with, someone to chat to on those long walks to the start.


We started the weekend by attending the event kindly run by the NWOC, and it was lovely to have tents and goodies after the run in the lovely forest.  After a brief training exercise in the afternoon we retired to the hostel.


It was a great evening, the Juniors spent time chatting- and washing up, while the parents swapped stories and analysed maps! But it was great to meet new families and the squad members of the future.


Stephanie, Paul, Helen and Sophie were instrumental in putting together a fantastic set of short exercises that were technical but achievable for all levels.  I won’t go into the details, as that’s not my area of expertise.  But completely hats off to all those who attended the training as the weather was not quite as good as it could be.  Testing those fair weather orienteers among us.  The Juniors were so enthusiastic, and it was great to see all the happy faces coming back after the runs.

Many thanks to the Pruzina family, and to the parents who attended, shadowing, feeding and supporting the Juniors.

Any offers of help for the next weekend will be very welcome!


Training Report from the Time Trial 2018

Phoenix Park Training Day – 10th March 2018
After a morning spent sliding around the infamous TT route in the Furry Glen (speaking from experience, it never gets easier) and a talk on some of the finer points of orienteering by Swedish athlete Josefine Klintberg it was back into the park for a second training of the day to try and put some of these into action. The trainings were planned on both 1:10000 and 1:15000 to cater for the needs of each specific age category.


Map 1 – 1:10,000 Training SessionTime Trial
The M/W 12/14/16 all used the 1:10000 training session. The M/W 12s were shadowed and advised by some of those experienced orienteers with a few more years under their belts. The main aim for this age category was to move off the paths and into some slightly more technical control locations than they would be used to. Some of these group also impressively completed the technical Line-o aspect (see map above).
For the M/W 14/16 there were some more exercises, and distance, with options to cut the course short depending on levels of tiredness. In training like this it’s important to remember the importance of quality in what you are doing not just quantity (which has its time and place). There was the option of a long compass leg to control 10 (see map above) before testing their compass skills further with a section of the map missing on the route to 11. Those in the older categories or with fresher legs were greeted with a route choice decision from control 5 to 6, a simple above or below the line choice. Those that ran the northern route choice had to run ~60m further than the southern alternative.

Time Trial

Map 2 – Route Choice 5-6
The next aspect of the training for the Juniors was to solve the maze. The focus of this is on spotting routes, smooth lines, evaluating a few options quickly and then committing to the one you see as being the best for you and the executing it cleanly. Below are the two legs that needed solving within the maze.

Time Trial

Map 3 – 1:10,000 route 7-8
Leg 7-8 presents 3 route options. B is the shortest of the 3 while also giving the least switching back on yourself and smoothest lines to run. In this case the difference between the shortest and longest routechoice is ~340m. If you assume running at 6min/km (on both routes) taking routechoice C can cost in the region of 2 minutes or so. At the same pace A would cost ~35-40seconds.

Time Trial
Map 4

Map 4 – 1:10,000 route 8-9
On route 8-9 there are only 2 clear options, right of left. Wide to the east is a nice smooth route but involves running >100m further on the leg.
It is important to stress that in the maze, as in orienteering, there’s not just one route choice, take an extra second to look at the big picture and see all the alternatives, it’s better to lose 5-10seconds leaving a control slowly than the 2 minutes that route 7-8 could cost you for example. The more experienced you become the faster you get at seeing these options and making pressure decisions without hesitations.
Legs 9-10-11-12 were testing use of the compass. The shortest distance between A and B is the straight line, and in areas like the Phoenix Park it is possible to run on the compass bearing.

The 18s and 20s had the treat of a 1:15000 Long Distance training. This started with a fast section before the line in the same areas as the younger Juniors but more complex. The line forces map contact, control of when to run fast and slow down and if you keep your head up it gets much easier.

Map 5 - 1;15 course


Map 5 – 1:15,000 course
They were then presented with the same 5-6 route choice as mentioned above. The maze route choices are discussed below.

Map 6 - 1;15k route 7-8

Map 6 – 1:15,000 route 7-8
The above route shows 2 alternatives. The B route choice is ~60m shorter and allows a smooth line through controls 6-7-8 while the A option has less climbing and descending.

Time Trial

Map 7 – 1:15,000 route 8-9
8-9 shows in theory 3 routes but only 2 viable options. B is the shortest by ~60m. Selecting route C, despite offering easy fast running sections does require >300m extra running, which is 33% longer.

Time Trial

Map 8 – 1:15,000 route 10-11
Again this leg presented a simple left and right option with both legs being almost the same length. A is ~10m shorter. The time spent trying to decide on the correct route would be roughly the time lost on the incorrect route.

Time Trial
Map 9

Map 9 – 1:15,000 route 11-12
In order to find the shortest route on this leg requires leaving the control in the “wrong” direction to the leg direction, this can be especially common in sprint orienteering.
2 of the next 3 controls had no detail in the circle requiring a clear attackpoint and good direction followed by a ~2.5km compass leg with emphasis keeping on the line. Below is my own GPS for this section.
Map 10 – 1:15,000 route 15-16, the compass leg (with GPS data for whole course)

Hopefully everyone took some positives from the day and learned some aspects which they can now take forward and improve on in their own training sessions and Sunday orienteering events. If anyone from yesterday’s training ran with a GPS watch and wants someone to look at the routes and give some feedback then feel free to get in touch with me and I’ll help as best I can (
To finish with a word of thanks to Jeni for organising the training day ably assisted by Ruth and Mike. Thanks to John for sorting map print, to those parents who shadowed some of the younger Juniors and finally to 3Roc for the use of their map for the day.
Just under 3 weeks to the JK and just under 8 weeks to the IOC so get training.

Train hard, race hard and smile while you’re doing it!

Orienteering in Ireland
Orienteering Ireland, Irish Sport HQ, Blanchardstown
D15 DY62, Ireland