Occassional thoughts about orienteering

Tuesday, February 04, 2003

Map reading and booming


Johan Ivarsson is a great orienteer who has written some interesting stuff about orienteering. Here is a short translation that includes discussion of an informal study of the relationship between map reading and booming:

Both Pasi [Ikonen] and Jörgen [Rostrup] must have an amazing ability to read the map and to read the map at full speed in the forest. I think they can do that because they take many looks at the map each leg.

At a training camp with the Norwegian team before the 1999 WOC, they did a simple study of the number of times each runner looked at a map on a leg. The best men in the world that year -- Petter Thoresen and Bjørnar Valstad -- read the map more than 20 times on a 400 meter leg. Hanne Staff, who has been the best woman the last few years, read the map 15 times, while the worst of the women in the test read the map just 5 times.

Jörgen and Pasi probably take a lot of looks at the map. They get it. Read the map a lot and you won't miss much. And they're able to read the map at full speed!

You've got to get out and train and, as Bjørnar says, "it will pay off!"

Reading the map 20 times on a 400 meter leg is a lot. That's a glance at the map every 20 meters on average.

My experience with map reading on the run is that it is easiest when I've been doing a lot of map reading in training. If I'm doing a lot of technique training, I am able to read the map quickly -- just a short glance at the map and I get the information I need. If I'm not doing much technique training, I need to really stare at the map to really make sense of it. When I have to look carefully at the map, I can't keep moving well. I slow down a lot. I think I tend to read the map less frequently because I don't want to waste time slowing down. Penny wise, pound foolish...I boom and lose minutes. That's one reason I try to do a fair amount of technique training.

I've also noticed that I'm able to read the map quickly when I've been doing a lot of armchair map reading. I guess spending a lot of time looking at maps trains the eye (and the brain) to get the information quickly.

posted by Michael | 8:58 PM


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