The biggest surprise of the World Championships in Finland – both for himself and for everybody else – Leonid Novikov’s Gold medal at WOC middle. And topping it with another Gold medal at the relay the next day after a great relay race for the Russian team.
Q: Congratulations on being awarded “The Orienteering Achievement of 2013″! What an incredible World Championships for you. With the surprise you showed after winning the middle distance, this gold medal was obviously far ahead of your expectations. What was your goal ahead of the World championships?
Thank you! For me the World Championships is a psychological challenge, and when you manage the first place, it means that you coped with it. After the selection in the Russian national team on the middle distance, I realized that I can fight with the best athletes. And I understood that if you run in their own strength at the World Championships, you can get into the top six. I did so, but my opponents ran worse than their best, and so I was the first!
Q: Looking at your results from the rest of the season, it looks like you have got up to a higher level after WOC than before? Is your improved results this season more physical or more mental?
I became confident in my physical and psychological training – this is the main thing you need to do to do well. Now to become the best, I need a lot of training – and I do not always train a lot. But well, I know how to do it. Orienteering is not athletics. You can be strong, but still loose.
Q: Can you name three key reasons which were important for your achievements in 2013?
The first is my family. They make it possible to run as I need to. The second is that I’m doing all my life orienteering and I love it. The third is my brother and close friends, without whom I would not do anything.
Q: Your brother Valentin has previously had more success than you in orienteering – with the WOC middle gold medal you have now the best results in the family – does this affect your relation?
I very much love and respect my brother, and this has not changed anything. I think Valentin is just happy for me!
Q: Has the success in 2013 opened any new possibilities for you, for example financially?
Until now nothing has changed. Maybe it is a bad thing, because we ran for fun and nothing depends on the outcome. But I love the orienteering and get a lot of pleasure from it.
Q: Some questions about your training: How much o-technique do you train? Are you more a runner type orienteer or a technical type orienteer? What are your track running records for 3000 meters and 5000 meters?
I do not have a training plan. I usually prepare myself in a short period, and I know what you need to do at what time.
I consider myself a weak runner. This year I want to become a stronger runner. Last time I ran a 3.000 meter was 14 years ago – the result was 9:27. In late December, I will run another 3.000m.
Q: Big achievements is one thing – but I guess it is important to have fun with what you are doing as well. What is the most fun you have had during orienteering the past year?
I look at my friends and see how happy they are for what I did – and those smiles are the most important thing for me!
Q: What do your typical training week look like now in the winter time?
When I am at at home, I run one training each week with orienteering and I try to do two trainings a day without orienteering. I have a training camp every month. In the training camps I run more and faster. Not long ago I was at a training camp in the mountains of the Caucasus where we ran mainly athletics. The following camps will be more orienteering focused – and there I will run 2 times orienteering each day.
Now I am four days at home with the following trainings:
Day 1: Morning – running 40 minutes (pulse to 140), 10 times 200m fast and 10 min (pulse 140) Evening – 40 min easy.
Day 2: Morning – 20 min (pulse 140) + 4 x 800m fast and 20 min (pulse to 140). Evening – 40 min easy.
Day 3: Morning – 1:40 (pulse 160) Evening – Gym
Day 4: Easy 40 minutes
Q: With two WOC gold medals in 2013 – what are your goals for 2014?
I wonder what my psychological state will be at the World Championships in Italy after the victories in Finland. However, I love sprint and I want to try to prepare for it.
Q: Any final words to your fans out there?
Anything is possible if you really want to, believe me, I tried!
Jan Kocbach / World of O