Occassional thoughts about orienteering

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

"John Fredrickson Intervals"


I'm a firm believer in doing some stupid training now and then. By "stupid" I mean something that doesn't fit with your plan, isn't something that you intent to regularly incorporate in your training, and isn't something you'd recommend to others. But it might be fun and you've got to experiment now and then - do something you might not otherwise do. Tonight, I did some stupid training.

I ran "John Fredrickson Intervals." John is, as you may know, one of the best orienteers in the U.S. He's coming of a big win at the North American Champs where he won the M21 middle distance race. John is still a junior. So, he's 20+ years younger than me. It goes without saying that he is faster than I am. He's probably also faster than I ever was (I got just under 17 minutes for 5,000 meters; I'd guess John could run about 16 minutes).

John passed through Kansas City a few months ago and ran my test loop. Not only did he run my test loop and set the current record, but he also took splits.

I ran the test loop, trying to beat John's splits, but taking as much rest as I needed at each control. The idea was to see what it would feel like for my old legs to move at John's speed.

I took off toward the first control, a short leg that John ran in 26 seconds. I ran hard, but not a flat out sprint. I punched my watch at 28 seconds. I was already behind. The next leg was a bit longer, taking John 2:05. I stopped my watch at 2:07, bent over and gasped for breath.

Already, I was 4 seconds off John's time. I was worried. I needed to be a good 4-5 seconds ahead of him at the last control. I knew I couldn't run the finish chute as fast as John. I needed to have some seconds in the bank near the end of the course.

I pushed hard on the third leg - close to a flat out sprint. Yes! I got John by 7 seconds on the leg (putting me up by 3 seconds).

I worked my way around the course, running each leg hard and then comparing my time to John's in the minute or so that I rested at each control.

Fortunately for me, John began a bit fast and his pace eased off a little after a few minutes of running. I had to work hard, but at the end my split times added up totaled 12:40. John's time for the course totaled 12:46.

I'd call it a stupid training, but I learned what I set out to learn - what it'd feel like to move at John's pace.

posted by Michael | 10:03 PM


Michael, you left us hanging! Did you get him on the final split?

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