Occassional thoughts about orienteering

Sunday, February 01, 2009

QuickRoute to see what went right


Continuing to look at the QuickRoute data from yesterday's race...

When I look at a race, I like to spend as much time studying what I did right as what I did wrong. I'd prefer to spend more time analyzing success than failure.

Yesterday, I wrote about a part of the course where I pushed a bit too hard and didn't ease off quickly (see section "D" of yesterday's post). To recover, I had to ease off the pace even when I was running in some fast terrain (a flat, open area). I looked at the data and concluded that:

failing to ease off right away probably cost me a good 20 seconds.

I decided to write about a success today. I looked for the opposite situation, that is, a place where I eased off the pace as soon as my h.r. went a bit too high.

Here's the h.r. track for leg 6:

The leg is quite simple - trail nearly the entire way.

The h.r. track shows that my h.r. was a bit high when I first hit the trail that goes north. It is a bit hard to see in the image, but the h.r. drops just a little bit within about 15 seconds of hitting the trail. I must have felt that I was going a bit too hard and eased off quickly.

In contrast, on the leg I looked at yesterday, I didn't ease off the pace until I'd been going at a high h.r. for 45+ seconds.

In theory, easing off quickly should have kept me from having to back way off the pace.

Take a look at the pace track below:

The pace stays high. Easing off let me hold a good pace. I think that if I hadn't eased off quickly, I'd have been forced to slow down quite a bit for a couple of hundred meters.

As I look at the data in QuickRoute, it looks like easing off the effort in 15 seconds instead of 45 allowed me to hold a pace that was about 1 min/km faster. You also have to look and see if pushing "too hard" for 45 seconds instead of 15 let me keep an especially high pace. It turns out there was a short stretch - maybe 30-40 meters - where I held a decent pace before I began to slow (and well before I seemed to recognize the effort was too high and backed off the effort). That's not enough to offset the recovery.

The success was recognizing the effort was just going over the edge and then backing off quickly, allowing me to hold a relatively high pace.

When I eased off at the right time, I did so before I actually slowed. When I eased off at the wrong time, I began to slow down before I eased off. Slowing down was part of the signal that I was pushing a bit too hard. On the leg that was successful, I recognized the effort before it started to affect my pace.

Take a look at the direction track:

From the point my track leaves the trail until the ring, note that the direction track is white. That means I was heading straight to the flag. That's because I could see the flag from the trail. The track goes a bit red/yellow within the ring (which was winding my way around some fallen trees).

That's enough for today...time to settle down in front of the TV and watch the Superbowl.

Back to okansas.blogspot.com.

posted by Michael | 4:33 PM


Good day,

I'm a non-professional orienteer from Israel and have been reading you blog for some time - It is very interesting! keep on writing...

I have a question regarding the ideal pace for a middle range event (5km). I started thinking the due to the fact that when taking(searching) a control one usually slows down, I should run faster than my ideal 5km pace when I can (between controls). the time spent when I "take" a control, especially when it is a hard one helps me catch my breath so I should sprint through the rest of the run.

I would be happy to hear you opinion...

thank you!
My opinion - seems risky unless you've got a very good handle on the map reading and can make sure you slow down at the right parts of a leg. Doing some O' technique training where you practice using attackpoints and changing tempo might develop that skill.

A long-term strategy would be to reduce the amount of time you need to slow down around controls.

Hello! I've had an honour to read your page during the last, should I say, uncountable years. This story shows it once again - you really are an o-maniac! Your deep analysis of the sport makes me really happy. And I think that comes to most of the people as well. Keep up the great work you've done!!!

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