Occassional thoughts about orienteering

Tuesday, March 18, 2003

More on running technique


I've been reading about orienteers work on their running technique. It has inspired me to put in some work on my technique and experiment with some training. If it goes well, I'll be able to run more efficiently in the forest. If it doesn't go well...well, it is still an interesting experiment.

The basic way I go about training is to think about my past experiences, read a bit, use some analogies from similar sports or activities, plan some sort of training, and see how it goes.


When I think about my own training experience and O' running technique, I reach a few conclusions...

1. I run best when I'm training in the terrain all the time. When I lived in Stockholm, almost all of my running was in the forest. I felt like I ran well in the woods.

2. Running in the terrain is different from running on the roads, trails or grass. I can feel that my running style changes when I'm running in the terrain.

3. After I tore up my leg almost two years ago, my ability to run in the forest seems to have suffered. Part of it is mental -- I don't feel comfortable running in the woods; I still get scared once in a while.

4. Working on running technique can pay off. In late 2000 and early 2001, I spent some time working on running downhill. Whenever I trained in the woods, I practiced running downhill. I concentrated on what I was doing and tried to get a sense of how fast I could run. I pushed the pace a bit and gradually my downhill running technique improved.


I'll do a google search on running technique and see what I come up with. I've also been reading web pages of top orienteers -- Staff and Valstad, Jimmy Birklin, Pasi Ikonen -- and can probably pick up a tip or two from them.

Elitloparen -- a book by the team doctor for the Swedish team in the late 1980s -- has some info about running technique. For example, they report on a study comparing running in the terrain with running on roads. I'll take another look at the book and see what I can find.


The obvious analogous sport to think about is running. From what I've seen, runners do a few things to improve their technique. They train on a relevant surface. They do some running faster than they race (e.g. 10 km runners doing some fast sprints). They stretch to stay flexible. They do some drills (like skipping, hoping, etc.). They strengthen their muscles -- running hills and lifting weights.

Of course, whenever you use analogies to think about a topic, you've got to ask a few questions: How is running like orienteering? How is running different from orienteering?

The Plan

The plan has to wait until I do some reading and thinking. But, even before I set out my plan, I can think about my goals. The goals are to learn something, to become more comfortable running in the forest (i.e. run without worrying about tearing up my knee) and to become a bit more efficient running in the forest (which ought to translate to running faster).

posted by Michael | 7:19 PM


Comments: Post a Comment
March 2002April 2002May 2002June 2002July 2002August 2002September 2002October 2002November 2002December 2002January 2003February 2003March 2003April 2003May 2003June 2003July 2003August 2003September 2003October 2003November 2003December 2003January 2004February 2004March 2004April 2004May 2004June 2004July 2004August 2004September 2004October 2004November 2004December 2004January 2005February 2005March 2005April 2005May 2005June 2005July 2005August 2005September 2005October 2005November 2005December 2005January 2006February 2006March 2006April 2006May 2006June 2006July 2006August 2006September 2006October 2006November 2006December 2006January 2007February 2007March 2007April 2007May 2007June 2007July 2007August 2007September 2007October 2007November 2007December 2007January 2008February 2008March 2008April 2008May 2008June 2008July 2008August 2008September 2008October 2008November 2008December 2008January 2009February 2009March 2009April 2009May 2009June 2009July 2009August 2009September 2009October 2009November 2009December 2009January 2010February 2010March 2010April 2010May 2010June 2010July 2010August 2010September 2010October 2010November 2010December 2010January 2011February 2011March 2011April 2011May 2011June 2011July 2011August 2011September 2011October 2011November 2011December 2011January 2012February 2012March 2012April 2012May 2012June 2012July 2012August 2012September 2012October 2012November 2012December 2012January 2013March 2013April 2013May 2013July 2013September 2013