Occassional thoughts about orienteering
Tuesday, March 18, 2003
More on running techniqueI'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 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
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