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Athlete Profile: Jan Erik Naess

HometownMississauga, ON
Currently LivingCalgary, AB
OccupationSOGO junior coach and studying Geomatics Engineering

How did you first get involved in orienteering? 
Orienteering has been in our family for two generations now. I was dragged out to it until I finally learned to love it after attending a Sasse Peepre camp in 2014. Since then it has taken over and driven me forward in life!

If you had one tip for young orienteers, what would it be?
Go to the biggest races you can get to. You will start to see how incredible people can become at orienteering and after you get to know them a bit you will realize that you too can become just as good.

What would a typical week of training look like for you (at a part of the season of your choosing)?
Race season is during the summer and is sporadically constructed around miniature peaks for races. I have a base training for the rest of the months and during that time I run three times a week with my cross country team, on Saturdays I am either coaching or training orienteering and every couple of weeks have a Cross Country or Track race to run!

How do you normally prepare for an important race? 
For the big races, preparation starts as soon as I decide I will race it. I get myself out into relevant terrain and, much like how your body can learn soccer moves, I try to have my body learn to run through that terrain. I start doing route analysis and learn the best ways to run which can vary throughout a race depending on my mental and physical fatigue. And then everything is pieced together with mental prep, before I go to the month before my race I visualize a specific piece of the race. Once the race comes around I let myself go and enjoy it.

What is your big life orienteering goal?
I have two goals, for myself, I dream of setting national records in each and every orienteering discipline. I want to do this with a team, bringing each other along in a persevering quest for perfection. Secondly, I would like to enable others to have wonderful life experiences similar to those that orienteering gave me. Therefore, I would like to continue doing more and more coaching of aspiring juniors, helping them reach their goals and find direction in what they love.

Jan Erik is a member of Orienteering Canada’s 2020 High Performance Program.

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