The essentials of Helena Jansson

What gear do the world’s best elite orienteers use? In this seventh edition we asked Helena Jansson about her essentials. Jansson achieved this summer, during the World Championships in France, a gold medal in middle distance, a silver medal in sprint and two bronze medals – one in long distance, the other in relay. In October she secured the overall World Cup victory in La Chaux-de-Fonds, Switzerland.

  1. Trimtex Speed Lzr Wmn’s shirt
    Comfy and fast, all you need when it comes to competition shirts
  2. Trimtex Run Lzr 3/4 Tights
    Light and sleek, my favorite tights.
  3. Trimtex Compression socks
    Thin and well-fitted for less abrasions and better comfort.
  4. Polar RS800CX
    Still working on the use of GPS-watches, this one I use only monitoring my heart rate, never with the GPS-device.
  5. Icebreaker Merino Wool sweater
    I hate being cold, so rather one shirt to many than one to little. Wool is my favorite, you can wear it almost any time, and it never smells like sweat- no mater how much you use it!
  6. Trimtex Bi-elastic Lzr Cap
    Something to put on your head is a must! Right now this hat is what I wear the most, it is easy to find with my name written all over it…
  7. Trimtex Advance Lzr Jacket
    For warming up and cooling down, and for just looking cool to.
  8. Haglöfs gloves
    Back to the hate-being-cold-thing. Big gloves- all year round use still possible. Love them!
  9. Saucony Kinvara running shoes
    Pre/post-race use only.
  10. Inov8 Roc Lite 315
    I know, not the fastest O-shoes on the market, but this is all my feet can stand, my heel says NO to everything else. Worked on the World Champs, still works…
  11. iPod
    Music is a must, in all situations!
  12. Books
    I’m a fast reader, so I always bring a library full of ‘em. Keeps my nerves in place before start.
  13. Silva 6 Jet spectra compass
    My best friend in the forest.
  14. Erik Öhlund-control description holder
    Had it for years and years, it is still the best one I’ve ever had! Erik used to make them himself, they are really good!
  15. Sport tape
    Good for everything from twisted ankles to fixing your hair.
  16. Kinesio tape
    A new friend of mine that’s taken me through the races this year.
  17. Elastic bandage
    Always with me during the race. Shortens rehab when you sprain an ankle, good to stop a bleeding.
  18. Trimtex water bottle
    I drink like an elephant, and so bringing water is a must!

Gueorgiou and Bobach win Orienteering Achievement 2011

Thierry Gueorgiou and Ida Bobach have been awarded with “The Orienteering Achievement of 2011″ titles in the mens and womens class. Among the men Thierry Gueorgiou got an impressive 52% of the votes – nearly four times many as Ionout Zinca in second spot. Among the women, Ida Bobach – last year’s number two – won clearly ahead of Helena Jansson.

This year 7 men and 9 women were nominated for their great orienteering achievements in 2011. Over the past years the election of the orienteering achievement was a shared initiative between World of O and Ultimate Orienteering but this year we did a step back. Nearly 3000 visitors of World of O from more than 50 countries made a vote, making the results representative for the world wide orienteering community.

In the Men’s class Thierry Gueorgiou won with 52.4% of the votes ahead of Ionut Zinca with 13.7%, Daniel Hubmann with 11.9% and Matthias Kyburz with 6.3%. In the Womens’s class Ida Bobach won with 31% of the votes ahead of Helena Jansson with 16.0%, Tove Alexandersson with 11.1% and Judith Wyder with 9.7%.

Q&A Thierry Gueorgiou

Nominated for: The King of WOC 2011 – 3 x WOC gold and finally taking home the WOC relay for France after three very dramatic defeats.

Check Thierry’s race essentials

World of Orienteering – Congratulations on being awarded “The Orienteering Achievement of 2011″! What a year! Is this your best year ever?
Thierry Gueorgiou – Well, it is always hard to compare my last years. I have the feeling that my best season was 2007. At that time, I had everything under control – the technique, the physique, the mental part and the motivation. This year, I had only one focus: WOC. But in many parts of the season, like in Jukola for example, I felt even stronger than in 2007. In sum, I would say that my average level was maybe better in 2007, but my peaks were higher in 2011.

W o O – You won three WOC gold medals this year – and all have their special stories attached to them. Can you tell us the story behind why each of these gold medals were important to you – and which of them meant the most?
T G – Yes, that is totally true. There was a story and inner motivation behind each distances, and that is why it was so easy to refocus during the week and start from a blank sheet of paper. Since 2009, I put as much focus on the long distance as on the middle distance, and I would not have liked to end my career without having this gold. When I woke-up the day of the Long distance, I knew that I had to take this chance. The race was a struggle and I never felt really strong but I hung on to my dream.

Then, the middle distance is always special for me, and the bronze in Trondheim hurt as much as the 4th place in 2006. So, I really wanted to do a great technical performance in a demanding terrain. During the last 7 weeks, I ran 15 middle distances at competition speed in relevant terrain. I was far too eager at the beginning, rushing instead of trying to control my orienteering. Then, I got a series of 8 nearly perfect performances. My confidence was built on those trainings.

But the relay was the race I awaited most during this week. At every relay training in the previous months, I had the WOC relay in my mind with the same questions to answer: “- How to behave and on what to focus”. I knew there would be a lot of talk and expectations before the race. So, it was mostly about handling the “context”. This was the race I enjoyed the most during the week, both in forest and in the run-in.

W o O – Any final words to your fans out there – there seem to be many!
T G – Thank you all for your votes and cheering through the season! I wish you all a great 2012, full of smiles, lactic acid and tricky controls!

Q&A Ida Bobach

Nominated for: As a junior winning the silver medal in the World Championships middle distance in France – after a few weeks earlier having taken three gold medals in the Junior World Championships.

Check Ida’s race essentials

World of Orienteering – Congratulations on being awarded “The Orienteering Achievement of 2011″! What a great year for you – did you expect to get this good results at the start of the season?
Ida Bobach – I was also nominated last year, so I hoped to be it again. But I really did not expect to have such a great season.

W o O – Can you name three key moments in your preparations for WOC which you think where decisive for your achievement?
I B – The first preparation I had was really important I think. I ran the World Cup in France in the autumn 2010. I was really turned on by this technical terrain and I started having a dream of doing great at WOC 2012.

In March I was on a training camp in Clermont- Ferrand at the same time as the Norwegian National Team. We had some training competitions where I did really good and I won a middle and a long distance. I think these races were important for my self-confidence in the French terrain. Another thing, that helped my feel confident before the middle distance final, was the really encouraging atmosphere we had in the national team. One of the other Danish runners said to me on our pre-camp, that he thought that I could go in top 6 at the middle distance. I think it helped my dream come true.

W o O – Any final words to your fans out there – there seem to be many!
I B – Thank you for voting for me. It feels so good when other orienteers think that I have achieved something good. The dream of doing it again, and hopefully better, will keep me motivated during winter.

Please visit World of O for more information and details.

Photography by Niels-Peter Foppen (Ultimate Orienteering)
Thanks to World of O for using extracts of the interviews with Thierry Gueorgiou and Ida Bobach.

World Cup season 2012 made public

This morning the World Cup 2012 program has been made public by the IOF. The program, including EOC, PostFinance sprint, WOC and NORT, will consist of 13 races in total spread over 4 countries. World’s elite will face a packed year with both European and World championships. In contrary of previous years the PostFinance sprint is no longer the big final after the season.


May 17 – Middle Distance EOC, Sweden
May 18 – Long Distance EOC, Sweden
May 19 – Sprint EOC, Sweden
June 23 – Middle Distance PostFinance, Switzerland
June 24 – Sprint PostFinance, Switzerland
July 14 – Sprint WOC, Switzerland
July 17 – Middle Distance WOC, Switzerland
July 19 – Long Distance WOC, Switzerland
September 1 – Sprint NORT, Norway
September 2 – Middle Distance NORT, Norway
September 4 – Knock-out Sprint NORT, Sweden
September 7 – Sprint NORT, Finland
September 8 – Prolonged Middle Distance chasing start NORT, Finland

Please visit the website of the IOF to have a look at the special rules that apply for World Cup 2012.

A detailed look on Exercise Related Abdominal Pain – “The stitch”

Abdominal pain during exercise is experienced by most athletes at some stage of their career. Studies suggest that around 60% of runners suffer at least one event annually. For such a common complaint it is very poorly understood. Theories range from strain force on abdominal organs to insufficient oxygen supply to the diaphragm, a sheet of internal skeletal muscle that extends across the bottom of the rib cage, and spinal misalignment. All of these theories have limitations, and I will explore the various ideas in the following review. A disorder with complex causes naturally has a wide variety of potential remedies. Different athletes may find that totally different strategies have equal effects on symptoms. I will outline some options for beginning management of this most frustrating disorder.

Exercise related abdominal pain (ERAP) is also known as the stitch or side stitch. It tends to come on during exercise, sometimes dependent on intensity. It generally is felt in the upper abdomen on the left or the right and can sometimes present in the lower regions of the abdomen too. Pain can be relieved by many different things, though stopping exercise is the only intervention that works universally.

The challenge in defining the causes of ERAP lies in the fact that if affects athletes from multiple codes. Runners and cyclists are common suffers, though horse riders, swimmers and off road motorcycle riders also complain of ERAP. The differing nature of these sports makes a single cause difficult to identify. Theories can loosely be divided into respiratory and abdominal viscera related causes.

Respiratory theories relate to the diaphragm. One of the most commonly mentioned of these is insufficient oxygen supply to the diaphragm. During exercise blood is directed to the active muscles and aware from abdominal organs, in theory this may reduce the amount of blood reaching the diaphragm despite increased requirements. Research attempting to quantify the flow rates failed to clearly demonstrate this reduced supply.

Muscle cramping of muscles used in inspiration is sometimes implicated as a cause for ERAP. This cramping was thought to include abdominal muscles and the diaphragm. However, no data consistent with this mechanism has been found.

The abdominal organs are all supported from the body wall by a mix of ligaments of mesentery. The tension placed on these supports by the weight of the organs has been a theoretical cause of ERAP. The problem with this is that the inervation of the mesentery and the ligaments leads to a poorly localized, dull pain when placed under strain. This is in contrast to the well localised, stabbing nature of ERAP. A more favoured theory is that the movement of the organs occurring with movement causes irritation of the peritoneum. The peritoneum is a thin, continuous layer of tissue that lines the abdominal cavity and covers the organs. It prevents adhesions and is the outer layer of all organs. Friction between organs, especially when full following a meal, could lead to the pain of ERAP. Irritation of the parietal peritoneum (the layer of peritoneum closest to the abdominal wall) can result in a well localized, stabbing pain. Continued irritation and inflammation could result in the short time of onset in some individuals.

There is no consensus on the cause of ERAP. A combination of peritoneal irritation and diaphragmatic ischaemia seems to cover most cases. Some other theories include referred pain from the malalignment of spinal facet joints, increased tension on psoas fascia and atypical presentations of chronic gastrointestinal disease. These are rare and have other features not consistent with simple ERAP.

A diverse set of possible causes means that isolating a sure fire treatment is difficult. Inflammation and irritation of the peritoneum is still a theory, and is difficult to assess in any objective way. Treatment therefore focuses on tactics to minimize the friction that leads to pain. The most common of these is increasing the time interval between eating and running. Food fills the hollow abdominal organs and theoretically leads to more contact between peritoneum surfaces. Hypertonic food and fluids are also thought to exacerbate ERAP. This includes sports gels, strong sports drinks and some foods. Avoiding these during exercise may help some sufferers.

Other strategies focus on breathing rate and rhythm. Deep breathing, focusing on the diaphragm, can be helpful. One way to do this is to exhale against pursed lips. This increases the amount of pressure required to empty the lungs and more effectively recruits the diaphragm. The timing of breathing can also be changed. Each exhale is timed to every second strike of the foot on the side opposite from the pain. These strategies should be tried systematically and over multiple sessions.

ERAP is a difficult problem to address. It has an unclear cause and treatments are poorly researched. The best option for athletes is to begin by ensuring eating is timed correctly. This can then be followed by changes to breathing. This takes time and can be very frustrating. Patience with trial and error is needed to find a lasting solution.


  1. Morton, D.P., (2003). Exercise Related Transient Abdominal Pain. British Journal of Sports Medicine, 37, 287-8.
  2. Muir, B., (2009). Exercise related transient abdominal pain: a case report and review of literature. Journal of the Canadian Chiropractic Association, 53(4), 251-260
  3. Morton, D.P., Callister, R., (2002). Factors influencing exercise related transient abdominal pain. Journal of the American College of Sports Medicine, 34(5), 745-749.