Tuesday, 30 December 2008

Training camp with Radek Novotny

Last days (26th to 30th) I've been in a training camp in the region of Marinha Grande. It was supervised by Radek Novotny, the Czech coach. I loved it, learned a lot and was exhausted in the end...

We did some types of training that we're not used to. It was mainly focused in the fast orienteering capability and the management of a precise map reading in diverse competition situations.
In the 1st day, a map with many kinds of orienteering: line O, fiding controls in an area and a sprint.
We had another training session that consisted in Middle Qualification and Middle Final. In the Middle Q I was one of the lasts to qualify to the 4,9km Final A but I was able to make an almost perfect race in the final (in the map below). You may check the results here and the Splitsbrowser here.

Here a 10km re-localization session which I did with Paulo, my everyday training friend. His map had the other half of the controls.

In this morning we trained the starting process. We made 8 different short courses in the forest (around 500m each) at maximum speed. The total time of the 8 courses would decide the chasing start to the afternoon session, a 7,7km butterfly run. In this session I made almost all my course with Diogo Miguel and Tiago Romão (even if I had different loops) and I was 2nd overall in an emotive final sprint. You may check the results here and the Splitsbrowser here.

This session consisted in a two-man relay. Me and my teammate (Catarina) went along the road and each one punched one control and came back to the road to return the map (when we reached the end we had to return to the start, punching the controls that the other had previously punched). There were lots of teams and it was a really tiring session with 3 different maps.

In the end we had a long session. Radek planned a fantastic course with lots of interesting route choices. I went straight in some controls where the best option would be by paths. My result was not what I expected once I did some major mistakes that costed me some time. You may find the map here.

In the end, I loved this training camp. The night theorical sessions with Radek were really interesting. I was able to identify some of my biggest problems in orienteering:

1.- I have to start slower at competitions. My mistakes are always in the first controls.

2.- I usually loose too much the contact with the map (mainly in the middle of the legs where I simply run). I have fixed this problem in some training sessions and ended making a better control attack, saving some precious time.

The next days will be though. I'll have my exam season and the most important national O'competitions... We'll see...

Sunday, 21 December 2008

Christmas trainings...

We've been training well lately. After the last 10k race I didn't rest. I was able to do a new PB average at the Tuesdays windy 14x400/I:1' - a 68''average. Thursday I was too tired and ran the 5k course with my teammates. Saturday a 3x7' fartleck with a friend of mine, Nelson Silva, a Duathlon athlete, in my Hometown. Today a 18,5k easy run at 4'40''/km. After Christmas we'll have a nice training camp from 26th to 30th in S.Pedro de Moel with one of the bests world O'expert, Radek Novotny who will teach us everything he knows. In the middle I'll have to study hard to the next exam season that will start in February, we'll see....

After all, I wish all my friends and readers an Holy Christmas and a Happy New Year... I'll post the training camp news and maps as soon as I can.

I leave you with the fantastic "Year in pictures" by NBC (SPORTS and NEWS) that is worth seen and an amazing Christmas movie card.

Sunday, 14 December 2008

31'40 at 10K!

Today was the Christmas Grand Prix in Lisbon. Once again, there were all the main national athletes once the prizes money where high. I wanted to do a strong start, once my old "slow start strategy" that was used in Pontével was not a success. I started in the frontline and was able to do a 31'40 race - average of 3'10/km (less 2min from my last PB, 33'20).

The weather conditions were not perfect (a rainny and windy day) but in the end I was really happy with my new achievement. I think the fact that most contributed to this personal record was that I ran with the pack all the time instead of starting slow and running all the way by myself. I was able to finish before some good athletes of the main national clubs.

I have been searching for a cause for this lately personal records. In the 5K course on dirty at the university stadium I've already taken 1' in 2 months (17'15 to 16'19). Now this new personal best, taking almost 2' in 2 weeks in the 10K (33'20 to 31'40). I think the cause is my later devolpment and a better training method now.

Last year I did a meniscal fracture and did a magnetic resonance. The orthopedist (the chief resident of a famous hospital in Lisbon and also my uncle) that examined my MR was curious about why my cartilage plaques (that are responsible for growing up) were still open at 20 years old (and the fact that they were still open caused me some pain in the past due to the hypermobile articulation syndrome that is found in teenage athletes who push hard on articulations that are still growing up). I was never an excellent athlete neither in swimming or running during my teenage years; maybe my development was later, who knows...

I was 20th, overall. You can find the results with times and the list of athletes here. (Select "Prova de 10km (2008))

Sunday, 7 December 2008

Iberian Championships - The report

This weekend were the Iberian Championships in Idanha-a-Nova.
DAY1- middle distance 5,3km (225m) 57'58''- I started slowly without many mistakes. However to the 4th control I was following the path and suddenly missed it. I tried to pass the valley but it was impossible. Too many rocks and too much vegetation. I tried to go up the valley but couldn't too. Usually, a yellow area with a light green should be easily passable. Tommy Tolko did an huge mistake in the same area; In my single opinion the map was weird in that zone. I gave up and went around the rocky hill. I spent 17min to that control. After that, if I could find a path, that would be my option =) I ended making a more less regular course through the end. Unfortunately, that 4th control, was too much!
DAY2- long distance 11,2km (245m) 65'07'' - I started slowly too, and in the "path mode" imposed by the day before. However the terrain was much more open and easily runnable. I did a regular course with some time lost to the 3rd and 9th and a major error to the 5th.
Beside the mess in the 1st day, I was 3rd overall after Ionut Zinca (Romania) and Patrick Hofmeister (Germany). I was also 4th in the long distance race, an World Ranking Event.
I enjoyed this foggy and rainy O'weekend. I was already missing this orienteering spirit!

Tuesday, 2 December 2008

Athletics race in Pontével

Last monday I went to Pontével, near my hometown to a 9km athletics race. It was really cold to the portuguese weather, around 4ºC and raining. The money prizes were high so there were lots of high level athletes (some Kenyans, Olympic athletes and other strong teams represented). I started slowly, afraid of the high paces of the frontline. However It was too slow and I ended making almost all the race with a Kenyan that had the same strategy passing the tired ones in the last 4km. In the end, I was able to finish with an 3'18/3'19/km average in a course with some climbs. I was 10th overall and was satisfied. Next race I'll try to find a consistent pack in the first meters and will try to stick till the end.

3x3km course = 9km TOTAL

Last week, in the 5km course that we always do on thursdays at the University Stadium, I did a 16'27 time, beating my last record from the week before of 16'50.

Next weekend I will compete in the Iberian Championship in Idanha-a-Nova. After a 8x400 today, we are already loading-off. I'll face this competition with a lack of technical trainings with map.. We'll see!

University Sports Federation's Gala

Last Friday was the Gala of the National Sports University federation at te Hotel Zurique in Lisbon. It was cool to have an happy dinner with my O'friends (Tiago Romão, Jorge Fortunato e Paulo Franco). Curiously, we were placed in the swimmer's table, next to an everyday friend of mine from faculty (in the right).