My situation has not really improved since my last post. Training still feels not great sometimes and I am at a point where it is starting to get hard to tell the difference between what doesn’t feel great and what is just bad shape. In light of this unclear outlook I already made some decisions about this year’s season.

I want to openly discuss it for a few reasons. This blog in general serves two purposes, it allows me to share my thoughts and journey as an orienteer with others but also ‘forces’ me to write those posts and as a consequence forces me to properly process and rethinking all my thoughts and experiences. So does this post but it also allows me to keep check on myself, as once I click the publish button the post is out there. The people closer to me, as an athlete, already know about my decisions but another thing which is important to me is to be transparent and open as athlete in general, especially to those who support my career. Lastly, I think or hope it helps (one day) some other athletes to process and deal with their situation.

I wanna be clear though, I am not depressed right now. I might had some days where I was more down than normal in the past weeks but I would say that I managed to deal with all it (so far) better than I expected myself to do. Maybe the hard part is still coming up with the races I will miss but knowing that it is the right choice in terms of my health and long-term goals helps. And, I am repeating myself here, but I like training so I am looking forward to catch up on my winter-training in the summer instead, hence the title. I am pretty sure I won’t mind the warmer weather on upcoming long runs and rides. At this moment I am still far away from doing that kind of quantity again but I hope it will only go upwards from here onwards. The plan will be to carefully and slowly increase the training-load, while allowing the body to recover both physically and mentally.

The idea and decision to already ‘cancel’ my WOC preparation came from myself, thinking about the races started to slowly stress me out more than it helped me recover. Even if I would be able to properly train again, meaning not just quantity but also intensity, which I see as quite unrealistic, I would have to catch up on more than 4 months of training. Next to that did the competition within the German team grow, making it also unlikely that I would even make the team for the first Worldcup and especially WOC.

While I welcome the freed up time and stress from fewer/no races over the coming months to focus on things like my studies, I also fear that I might end up in a bit of a mental-low over the summer months when competition photos will appear in my social-media feed again. It feels strange and wrong to give up on races without having even started trying, especially in a year with a sprint-focused WOC. I always hoped to come closer to my goals, show that the JWOC sprint win in 2018 was just the beginning but so far I haven’t come far enough to convince myself that I did. 

This is partly the reason why I recently started working again with a sport-psychologist who I had already worked with a while back, now the obvious goal for these sessions will be to avoid such problems in advance. At the same time am I still planning to join a camp or two with the nationalteam  and more importantly I am planning/hoping to run at 10Mila and Jukola for Ankkuri. The latter of course under the condition that my body is again up for the task of this level of intensity but even if I will just run in the second team I am sure it will be a blast. I also had some of my better performances coming from a point of weakness as it made me more aware of my (physical) limitations and made me focus more on orienteering properly so what is there to loose.

Nevertheless, I am not writing off the complete season. At least the Worldcup in Finland in autumn should be a realistic goal and has relevance due to the WOC next year being exactly in those terrains. EOC in August is also still possible and the race-results of the German team there play a important role in trying to qualify as a team for the Worldgames. Neither has anything changed in my long term goals, it’s a bigger bump in the road, something a good coach of mine said you always need to be aware of that it could happen.

I would argue that optimism is outweighing pessimism right now. Spending time with the nationalteam on Tenerife surely played a beneficial part in that. Although, I only ran a limited number of forest trainings and all of them extensive, it was still great spending time with a map in my hand again, not forgetting to mention the fun times with the team as always.

All photos: private, Tenerife 02.2024

Categories: Orienteering

1 Comment

Moritz · 12. April 2024 at 10:21

Hey Colin,
Ich finde es toll, dass du so offen und mutig über deine Sorgen und Probleme schreibst. Das zeigt, wie sehr du dich selbst reflektierst und mit dem Sportpsychologen auch einen Schritt gehst, vor dem sich viele leider scheuen.
Ich wünsche dir, dass du einen Weg findest, glücklich zu sein. Was genau das für dich heißt, kannst nur du selbst dir beantworten.

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