Occassional thoughts about orienteering

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Frequency of looking at the map


I ran at SMP today, which gave me a chance to test the experiment I wrote about a few days ago. I ran the leg, looking at the map at each X. It took about 3:30 - reading the map once every 40 seconds. Then I re-ran the leg, taking much more frequent looks at the map. The second time I looked at the map 22 times - reading the map once every 10 seconds.

I ran a couple of other legs, counting the number of looks at the map.

What (if anything) did I learn?

The short answer is "nothing." Checking the map reading frequency on just 3 legs isn't enough to learn anything. But, I got a sense of my normal map reading frequency and the pattern to my looks at the map. I also got a feeling that this might be a useful training exercise. It feels like the inverse of "map memory" training.

I wish I could figure out a way to count my looks at the map without paying attention.

Back to okansas.blogspot.com.

posted by Michael | 7:09 PM


Set your watch countdown timer to whatever interval you would like to experiment with. Then divide the leg time by your countdown time.

I think this would be a really good drill for me.
I was thinking of doing exactly the same thing, Tom. Glad I'm not whacko for thinking it up. Or at least, if I am, at least I'm not along.

But that doesn't actually solve the counting how many times you naturally look at the map. I guess using one of those clicker things that adventure racers use to keep track of distance would work. Every time you look at the map you click and don't have to worry about actually counting.
I think you should choose the terrain you're going to use very carefully. In easy continental terrains (just like the sample up there), I'm pretty sure Valstad can manage it with looking at the map on each 20th sec., and in difficult scandinavian forest the runners need to check the map even more often than each 10 sec.. So - how difficult is the terrain - important component, isn't it?
I was just google-ing for this.
my site
Ivo, your right that one doesn't need to look at the map so much in this sort of terrain. But it is quite interesting to see what it feels like to look at the map so frequently. When I first started experimenting with how often I looked at the map (which was last winter, I think) one of the ideas was that I might be able to prepare for more technically difficult terrain even if all I've got is continental terrain.

It is an interesting experiment - worth a try even in simple terrain, I think.
The countdown timer might be worth trying. I think I'd get tired of the beeping...but might be worth trying. I'd set it for something like double the interval you're looking for. If you want to run with an average of 10 seconds between looks, set the time for 20 seconds and try to make sure that you never went more than 20 seconds without looking. The watch wouldn't be telling you to look at the map, it'd be reminding you that you should have looked at the map in the last 20 seconds (which might seem like a subtle distinction).
I tried to do this mapreading frequency test on a training camp once. To get more accurate results it was done as a blind test. Instead of you doing the counting yourself, a person following you did it for you and you didn't even know it was being done. I didn't create any statistics for this though, it was more like a pair-exercise where you were to discuss the results with your partner afterwards.
izrada web sajta
Why don't you get somebody to shadow you with the purpose of counting how often you look at your map. It could be a bit tough just because they might have to be beside you rather than behind you to see the glances well... but at least then you don't have to pay attention to it.
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