Occassional thoughts about orienteering

Friday, August 03, 2007

Writing to improve


I used to write about each race or training. My "rule" was that I'd write at least a sentence about every leg. I figured it'd force me to carefully examine every leg and, I hoped, would teach me something. It didn't take long and I think it helped. These days - after 25+ years of orienteering - I don't have the discipline to write about each race.

KUpackman did something I never did. He wrote about each leg and spent more time writing than he did running the course. The race was a 5.2 km course he ran in just over 30 minutes. He wrote over 1,300 words about the course. Here is a bit of what he wrote (and something that reminds me of the sort of thing I used to write):

3 to 4: 200m. Very poor exit, as I didn't fully analyze this one, which is unforgivable since I had a plain-Jane leg before it. I took a really awkward and backwards way into the field. However, the alternate route choice here, which seemingly looks 10x better, is also pretty awkward, and only saves you 20 meters! So, even though I didn't pay enough attention, I made my decision fast enough that I didn't lose that much time (7 seconds or so).

4 to 5: 300m. Very good leg. Straight across the field and I headed left of the hill and tennis courts. Afterwards, I wanted to compare the alternative, heading straight at the hill and then to the right of the tennis courts. This route was only 10 meters shorter, but required 10 more meters of climb. I liked my gut instinct on this one.

I've no idea how many orienteers write up notes like this. I often recommended it to people who haven't been orienteering very long and want to improve. Judging by the reactions I get, I'm guessing that most people haven't taken my suggestion.

Back to okansas.blogspot.com.

posted by Michael | 7:31 PM


This, by the way, is exactly the type of content I am looking for in the PTOC orienteering clinic come November. Route choice, little time saving practices and planning. I know how to use a compass for basic orienteering but I want to know the little things that run around in your head while you are running each leg.

This is great stuff. Have you ever thought of compiling this into a book?
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