Occassional thoughts about orienteering

Saturday, January 31, 2004

S will wait until tomorrow


I haven't had time to work on "S", so it'll have to wait until tomorrow. Instead, here are a few scattered thoughts:

Old guy does good. It doesn't really mean much, but it is good to see Hakan Eriksson running well at the age of 42 (at least it is from my view as a first-year M40). Eriksson won a little training race at the Swedish team's winter camp. You can see the map with courses. The race was something they called dark-O'. They ran at night, but without lamps. The orange areas on the map are runnable and lighted. The blue areas are runnable, but not lighted.

A new link to Okansas. Tore Sandvik added my page to his collection of links. It is always cool to see someone linking to your page. Even if I think of what I write as notes to myself, it is satisfying that someone thinks enough of it to add a link.

If you can manage Norwegian, Sandvik's page is interesting. If you can't manage Norwegian, you can still explore some cool maps. Go to his page, click on "Arkiv" then click on "Kart."

One reason Americans are fat. I went to the grocery store tonight and bought milk, applesauce, cheese and oatmeal. As I walked around the store, I checked out what other people had in their carts. I was interested because the store was crowded with people stocking up for tomorrow's Superbowl and the expected 4-12 inches of snow. I was amazed at the amount of soda people were buying. I'm not sure how many calories are in a can of Coke, but I'm sure it is a lot. No wonder people are so fat.

Another link to Okansas Patrick (of the KU O' team) has had a link to my page for a while, but he recently wrote a very nice review of Okansas. Here's what he wrote:

O-Kansas. Like the others, this one is full of visuals, with pictures of terrain and trails, and orienteering maps and such. I like the passion and consistency in which Michael blogs about orienteering tips and information. I think this blog is one of the reasons that I enjoy learning about and participating in orienteering events.

If you're a middle-aged reader who wonders what's up with college students these days -- check out kupackman.blogspot.com.

posted by Michael | 7:04 PM


Friday, January 30, 2004

R is for running


No doubt about it. Orienteering is a running sport.

Mook running (and looking at the map) training at Kentucky Camp last weekend.

posted by Michael | 7:21 PM


Thursday, January 29, 2004



From an internet discussion group on O' mapping...

I am making great progress with field checking....I may well have a field checked map ready before I have good topos in place.

From the text, it sounds like the map is being fieldchecked without contours. How can you fieldcheck without contours?

posted by Michael | 5:36 PM


Tuesday, January 27, 2004

Q is for questions


Here are a few of questions I thought about as I walked to work today.

How much map study do top orienteers do?

How can you train to run in the forest when you don't have a forest to run in?

What does it feel like to ride a bike up one of the big mountain climbs in the Tour De France?

How much time could I gain by improving my ability to run down hills during O' races?

What is the terrain going to be like at the 2005 Veterans' Champs in Canada?

posted by Michael | 6:21 PM


Monday, January 26, 2004

Orienteering on a basemap


I'm in Arizona for work this week. But, I began the work trip with a short O' trip to Tucson. Mook and I ran three sessions on Saturday on a bit of a basemap.

You can see a small bit of the basemap here.

Orienteering on a basemap was not much different from orienteering on a finished O' map. Here and there you'd come across an area where the contours didn't fit, but for the most part the map was easy to use. That's largely because the terrain is open, so the photogrametry is quite accurate.

The terrain we ran in was mostly open land with a scattering of trees. You could move quite fast (even if I didn't). The area sits at an altitude of about 5000 feet, which is enough to feel but not so much that you feel lousy. Unlike some of the terrain in southern Arizona, there is very little thorny vegetation -- a pleasant surprise.

The Tucson O' club bought 42 square kilometers of basemap. That'll make for a lot of good orienteering once they get the fieldchecking done. I don't know if they've got plans to use the area for an A-meet. If they do, I plan to go.

posted by Michael | 5:59 PM


Friday, January 23, 2004

Irregular updates through January 31


I'm leaving in a few minutes for a work trip to Phoenix. I'll begin with a couple of days in Tucson, exploring the terrain with Mook.

I expect to have internet access, but not necessarily every day. So, I plan to update this page when I get a chance, but not every day. I'll be back in a week and will return to daily updates.

posted by Michael | 11:48 AM


Thursday, January 22, 2004

P is for postal track meet


Years ago Orienteer Kansas organized a couple of "postal track meets" between orienteering clubs.

During a postal track meet, clubs get points when their members compete in running races. The idea was to encourage people to train and improve their running and give us something to do during the off-season.

You earned points by running specific distances (from 400 meters up to 50-miles) and additional points for performance. I don't have the scoring tables in front of me, but if I remember correctly you got one point for completing the distance and could earn up to 3 more points depending on how fast your ran. There were different scoring tables for men and women and for different age groups. You only got points for your best performance during the event (you could run as many times as you wanted, but only your best time would count).

I think we had a rule that races of 2 miles or shorter had to be on a track. The track events didn't need to be official races, it was fine to just go to the nearest track and time yourself, but the longer races had to be organized events.

We held two postal track meets. OK, Possum Trot O.C., St Louis O.C., and New England O.C. competed. I can't imagine OK won (we've always been a small club). I can't imagine NEOC lost (Peter Gagarin was involved on NEOC's side and I'm sure he'd make sure they didn't lose).

I've been thinking we should organize another postal track meet this year.

posted by Michael | 1:30 PM


Wednesday, January 21, 2004

O is for O' Technique Training


Randy wrote something interesting on mapsurfer.com a couple of days ago:

The problem is the off-season technique training (I guess, among other problems). I've been re-running old courses as my off season training. This is a mistake. Its not the same. One thing I've noticed is that I seem to have a phenomenal map memory. I've been designing courses in my head without the map present -- I guess this is a handy skill, but I think it has been working against me in the technique training -- running these old courses is like going to the store for milk -- you just sort of know the way and go there.

I don't know the solution, as I know all the local maps really well. If I draw a line O, I'll simply instantly recognize everything as I draw it, and those images are burnt in my head. Since I have the terrain memorized as well, that key connection is not trained.

How do you train O' technique on familiar maps?

Here are the first five thoughts that come to mind:

1. Using masks (see my entry from January 14) can make a familiar map feel new.

2. I like Line O' for very familiar terrain, but I agree that it is easy if you draw the line yourself. So, get someone else to draw the line for you.

3. I've found that I can force myself to concentrate better, even in very familiar terrain or very easy courses, by talking to myself. If I talk about what I'm doing, it seems to force me to orienteer carefully.

4. I've re-run courses with rules like: run a straight compass bearing on each leg or running on any trails is against the rules. The rules change the way you do the course enough that the course feels fresh. Gene designed a training course at SMP last summer where the rule was you could only run on pavement. Legs that would be very simple if you ran the course under normal rules suddenly required a lot of route choice.

5. I wonder if doing O' technique training on familiar areas is worth the time? I've heard that running on familiar maps lets you get away with bad technique, and that breeds bad habits. Is that true? At first thought it makes sense. But, maybe it doesn't really matter. I don't know. Certainly running in the terrain, on a known map, is good physical training for orienteering. Focusing on some specific aspect of technique (like running a straight line) might be worthwhile when you train on a familiar map. Does running on a familiar map help your O' technique at all? Will you really develop bad habits if you train on a familiar map? I don't know. I suspect the best form of O' technique is running courses on unfamiliar maps. I suspect -- but don't know -- that running O' technique on familiar maps is better than not training technique and that using some special approaches (like the ones noted above) can make familiar maps more beneficial. Or maybe I'm wrong.

posted by Michael | 6:58 PM


Tuesday, January 20, 2004

Snapshot from Rocky Point


Here is a snapshot to give you an idea of the terrain at Rocky Point. The hill in the background is this hill.

posted by Michael | 7:37 PM


N is for new areas


Part of the fun of orienteering is exploring new areas, areas that might be good for orienteering. Sometimes you find a great place. Sometimes you're disappointed.

This weekend I was on Long Island, New York, and I had a chance to explore a new area. The place is Rocky Point. As far as I can tell, the Long Island O' Club hasn't mapped the area. But, if they can get access for orienteering, it might be worth mapping. I was not disappointed.

I went for two runs in the area carrying the U.S.G.S. map and exploring the forest.

The vegetation is wonderful. The forest is open and runnable, but there are also some changes that would show up as vegetation boundaries on the map. Some of the forest is a little thick -- not enough to be unpleasant, but enough that it might make for some interesting route choice possibilities. You can run through the forest fast.

The terrain is mostly flat, but there are some interesting low contour features. Take a look at this area with some depressions and knolls. Check out another area with some larger hills.

The area has a fairly dense trail network with horse trails, hiking trails and mountain bike trails.

The only problem I saw with the area was that there aren't many good control location features. While there are lots of trails, with bends and junctions, there aren't a lot of small features (man made objects or reentrants) that'd be good for advanced courses.

Access might be a problem. The area seems to be heavily used by hikers, horseback riders, mountain bikers and hunters. Orienteers probably wouldn't disturb any of the existing activities, but you might have to work to sell the park managers on that point.

posted by Michael | 1:38 PM


Thursday, January 15, 2004

Next update Tuesday, January 20


I'm traveling the next few days and don't plan to update this page until next Tuesday.

A short note on mental training...

From a Swedish newspaper article about Per Oberg's mental training. Here is a translation of a bit of the article:

Peter has met twice with his assigned advisor, former ping-pong player Ann-Christin Hellman.

"We haven't been able to meet more. I've had a lot of school tests and stuff."

But, he got a homework assignment for the Christmas holiday.

"To read a book on mental training. I've only read 30 pages, but I read quickly so I'll probably be able to finish it before out next meeting. When I'm training I'm also supposed to think about how it feels. I'm trying to figure out what makes one training better than another. If it depends on my legs or my attitude..."

Concentration and relaxation are things that have already come up. Relaxing is something Peter is a specialist at.

"We were asked [at a national team meeting] what we did to relax, and I said watch TV and play computer games. Others suggested sleeping or reading a book. We were told that one thing was right and one was wrong. Everyone thought my suggestion was wrong, but it turned out to be sleeping. When you sleep your body rests, but not your mind. So, I've been doing the right thing all these years."

posted by Michael | 1:08 PM


Wednesday, January 14, 2004

M is for masked map


For tonight's night O' practice we used a masked map. Take a look:

I ran with Gene. We took turns leading. The leader had the masked map. The follower had a regular map (with no course on it). We switched at the controls. It was fun.

Most of the technique training I do is running a regular course or a control picking course. Now and then I'll run a line O' course. Tonight's masked map felt like a line O', but the masked areas made it a bit more work to keep contact with the map (since you couldn't look far away to see where you were).

posted by Michael | 8:51 PM


Tuesday, January 13, 2004

L is for the latest O' web page


As a special bonus, today I'm covering two letters of the alphabet (I'll make up for it by missing a couple of days in the next week)...

L is for the latest O' web page

Take a look at oli and jenny.co.uk. Oli and Jenny are Oli Johnson and Jenny Whitehead, both on the Brittish National Team.

It looks like the site has been online for a few months. It remains to be seen if it will become a "must visit" O' web page. It certainly looks promising. Poke around and check out some of the maps. They've got a nice page with some info (including a couple of videos) from a training camp to prepare for the 2005 WOC in Japan.

posted by Michael | 7:16 PM


K is for Kill Creek


Kill Creek is a good example of typical Kansas O' terrain. Here is a bit of the map with my route from Sunday's local race at Kill Creek.

posted by Michael | 6:58 PM


Monday, January 12, 2004

J is for jungle


A couple of recent news stories made me think about dangerous wild animals.

I learned to orienteer on the West Campus in Lawrence, where a mountain lion reportedly lives.

I've seen signs at trail heads in California warning you about mountain lions in the area. Today I read a report of a mountain biker killed by a mountain lion.

posted by Michael | 12:48 PM


Sunday, January 11, 2004

I is for Ivarsson


Johan Ivarsson is more than just one of the best orienteers in the world. He's also written some interesting articles on orienteering.

I translated on of his articles today. Normally I ask permission of the author before I publish a translation. But, I'm not sure how to get in touch with Ivarsson and...well...I don't really have time to check with him before the end of the day (and I can't think of anything else for "I"). The original articles have been published in a couple of places on the web, so I'm guessing Ivarsson wouldn't be too upset.

Take a look at heaven Can Wait for Ivarsson's take on what he'd do differently if he had the chance to start all over again.

posted by Michael | 8:13 PM


Saturday, January 10, 2004

H is for Hammer


Back in November I wrote about a project to help me learn something from looking at orienteers' training logs on the Internet. The idea was to come up with some questions I could ask as I looked at training logs. I figured having a standard set of questions would help me see things I wouldn't see if I just looked at the logs.

So, today I decided I'd try some questions out. I picked Hammer's training on Attackpoint because he's one of the top North American orienteers and I've been looking at his training once or twice a week for over a year.

I put the questions in three groups, from those that are easiest to answer (and most likely right) to those that are hardest to answer (and most likely wrong).

Hammer's training -- easiest to answer questions

Training volume – even year round or lots of up-and-down? If the volume is uneven, is it because of periodization or something else?

The volume looks fairly steady, he trains more than most. I also see some periodization. Some of the unevenness comes from extremely high volumes during adventure races (and corresponding lower volumes recovering). It looks like Hammer does some fairly short term planning as well – e.g. building up over two months or so toward a goal.

Cross training – does the orienteer use other sports in training? Do they compete in other sports?

Hammer does a lot of cross training. Most of the cross training looks to be mountain biking, but he also skis and paddles. He competes in adventure racing. He does some strength training.

O' technique – Does the orienteer practice technique or do they get their technique through competitions?

Hammer does a fair amount of practice (often it looks like practice is setting up training and racing sessions). The local club seems to have a lot of races.

Injuries and illness – Does the orienteer have problems with injuries and illness?

I see a few illnesses. It does not look like Hammer is unusually susceptible to getting sick and missing a lot of training, but it happens. He broke a bone in the shoulder (falling?) and that seems to have affected his training, but not as much as you might expect. Maybe he's really tough?

Hammer’s injuries and illnesses do not look like “mistakes.” I have not found myself looking at his training and thinking "he is doing way too much, too soon; he will probably get sick next week.”

Hammer's training -- possible to answer, but easy to get wrong

Does the orienteer have clear, known goals?

Hammer’s training looks like it is goal directed, but I do not know what the goals are. So, I would say he has some clear goals, but I do not know what they are.

Does the orienteer work with a coach?

Not that I can tell. Hammer has a lot of experience and I suspect he has worked with a coach during his career. But, I do not think he does that now. It looks to me like he coaches himself, but trains with others a lot (which might result in some feedback).

Does the orienteer's approach seem to be scientific and detail-oriented or more intuitive?

I would not say scientific or detail-oriented, but it looks thoughtful. I would be surprised if Hammer just heads out the door and decides what to do on the spur of the moment. But, it does not quite look like he follows detailed plan. I think the adventure racing – which requires you to be on a team and plan ahead – forces some planning and goal-setting that I have not recognized when I look at the training on Attackpoint.

Hammer's training -- hardest to answer, probably wrong

Does an "attitude" come through? Does the orienteer come across as having a positive approach? Do they whine a lot?

Positive, aggressive in a good way, Hammer comes across as competitive.

Does the orienteer seem to be experimenting or following a template?

I think he's got a template, but a template that I’d guess he’s developed by experimenting and relying on past experiences (so he’s probably done a lot of experimenting over the years and settled on things that work well). I wouldn’t be surprised if he’s doing a lot of experimenting that I don’t recognize.

What sort of background does the orienteer have? Do they make maps? Have the competed at a high level in another sport? Did they start at a young age? Have they lived in Europe?

Hammer has been orienteering a long time. He’s lived in Sweden (Umea, I think) and maybe lived in Norway, too (?). I don’t know if he has done much mapping, but he seems to do a lot of organizing (course setting and setting out markers), which has some similar benefits to mapping.

Does anything seem striking or unusual?

Not really. Hammer lives in Hamilton, Ontario, which seems to be a very good place to be an orienteer these days. He has decent terrain and lots of good orienteers to train and race with. It looks to me like the atmosphere in the GHO club is strong.

posted by Michael | 1:05 PM


Friday, January 09, 2004

G is for gambling


Now that Brittany Spears' wedding is no longer the big news, Pete Rose's gambling admission has been all over the newspapers.

Pete -- after years of denial -- has now gone public and admitted that he gambled on baseball, in violation of the rules of the sport.

Pete inspired me....

I have to admit it. I gambled on orienteering.

The last time I ran 25-manna, the huge Swedish relay race, I put 100 Swedish Crowns on my team to win. We had a strong team and, in fact, we led the race with just a couple of legs to go. But we couldn't hold the lead and dropped back to 8th; a good result but I was out my 100 Swedish Crowns.

That was in 1991. But, that wasn't all.

I gambled again in 2001. That time I put down a small bet at the 2001 WOC long distance final. I picked Frederick Lowegren to win. I wasn't convinced he'd win, but I thought the odds looked good (and the odds for the other favorites looked low). Lowegren had a good race, but he didn't win. I think he finished 5th. I lost my bet.

Gambling on both 25-manna and the 2001 WOC were through the national betting systems of Sweden and Finland. I guess it says something about the size of the sport when you can gamble on it.

posted by Michael | 8:24 PM


Thursday, January 08, 2004

F is for falling down


We had warmer weather during the day. A lot of the ice melted (check out the picture from Monday to see the conditions before the warmer weather). Most of the run was on pavement or ice-encrusted grass. But, I hit a few spots of smooth, slippery ice. I fell. I was inspired -- F is for falling down.

I used to have a theory about orienteering and falling down. If you didn't fall down during a race, you ran too slow.

The problem with that idea is that as you get older, falling down starts to hurt. I fell last winter and hurt for a good 6 weeks (enough that I'd wake up when I rolled over in my sleep and wasn't able to do my morning sit ups).

I don't keep track of it, but I have to guess I fall down about once a race. I'll have to keep track of it and see. I'm racing Sunday, I'll see if I fall down.

How often does a world champ falls during a race?

posted by Michael | 6:43 PM


Wednesday, January 07, 2004

E is for Europe


A number of the people who read this page are in Europe. Now and then, one of them will write me and ask a question about orienteering in the U.S.

One way to give you an idea about orienteering in the U.S. and in Europe is to write some of my impressions -- as an American -- of orienteering in Europe. I've orienteered in nine European countries: England, Switzerland, Denmark, Sweden, Austria, Norway, France, Finland and Latvia. Most of my European O' experience is from Sweden.

So, here are the first five things that come to mind as I think about my impressions of European O':

1. European races have a lot more people. A big race in Europe has thousands. A big race in the U.S. has hundreds.

2. More European orienteers race. In the U.S., a lot of people who orienteer take their time. They go slowly, they get lost.

3. Europeans orienteer in working forests a lot more than we do. By working forest I mean a forest where trees are being planted and cut down. In the U.S. most orienteering takes place in preserved parks. We don't have to run through dense newly planted pines or over cuttings. I've got distinct memories of my first time running through a Norwegian felled area, something I'd never had to do in the U.S. There are other differences due to the nature of the forests -- different ways of mapping and different types of trails, for example.

4. The level of competition is much higher. In the U.S. a mistake doesn't usually affect your final place. You can lose a minute without losing a place. In Europe -- or at least in Scandinavia -- it isn't unusual to lose several places when you lose a minute.

5. European orienteers (at least in Scandinavia) are very club-centered. In the U.S. an event feels like a collection of individuals. In Europe an event feels like a collection of clubs. You look around a finish area and see people in colorful matching gear, sitting under club banners. That's not something you see much of in the U.S.

It has been over ten years since I lived in Europe. I miss the high level of competition and the strong club atmosphere (though I'd say Orienteer Kansas has a relatively strong club atmosphere).

For me both the level of competition and the strong clubs helped me become a much better orienteer. Suffering from small mistakes (small booms or running too slowly) force you to learn to orienteer fast (or accept bad results). Having a strong club makes it easier to train. You have people to train with, often people who have similar goals. You have advice and lots of opportunities to practice.

posted by Michael | 1:14 PM


Tuesday, January 06, 2004

D is for Damon Douglas


I wrote a few words about Damon in September. Today, I thought I'd post something Damon wrote.

In 1989, Damon spent some time at the U.S. Olypmic Training Center "Coaches College." He wrote me a letter and described an experiment he helped with.

A fellow coach at the "College" volunteered to be a guinea pig for an experiment. he was a very well conditioned endurance runner with some experience at trail running. First he ran at the track at a heart rate near his threshold pace. After a suitable time, I measured his lactate acid and found that he was somewhat, but not much, over threshold. After a 6 hour rest, he ran the exact same protocol -- same warm up, same heart rate-time profile -- except that, instead of running on the track, he ran on the rocky shoulder beside the track. Of course he ran at a much slower velocity on the rocks than on the track. On the rocks he had a little difficulty keeping his heart rate up to the same level as running on the track, so that his average heart rate was 167 on the rocks versus 172 on the track. However his blood lactate was significantly higher from running on the rocks....His "rock running" efficiency was not as high as his "track running" efficiency, and even at a lower heart rate, he got tired and sore faster.

John Underwood, the cross country ski team consultant, reported that he tested the thresholds of each team member at 5 different sports. The more the sport was "different" from cross country skiing the lower the threshold was from the cross country skiing threshold, which was always the highest threshold. The moral is very, very clear. In order to run well in the woods, you must train well in the woods.

posted by Michael | 1:09 PM


Monday, January 05, 2004

C is for Camelbak


You probably won't see me wearing one during an O' meet, but I'm a big fan of Camelbaks. In fact, I own several models. My current favorite is the Classic.

Camelbaks at the World Champs

Although the weather was hideously hot at the long WOC this summer, I was surprised to see orienteers running with Camelbaks when I browsed photos from the event. Maybe I shouldn't have been surprised. When the weather is hot having water with you makes a lot of sense. I've carried water bottles during O' races, though I haven't yet carried a Camelbak.

Eric B. and his Camelbak

Eric B. wrote about using his Camelbak during O' races:

A small Camelbak (I use the Classic) with 16-32oz of water is hardly noticeable once you get used to it. I started doing a couple years ago for all events longer than Red and found that it didn't slow me down at all. (I can do most Red courses without drinking unless it's hot.)

Spike would no doubt refer to this as Adventure-racerish, but I find that stopping for water is an unnecessary break in concentration. By having water with me all the time, I can stay focused on the navigation.

Eric thinks I'd view orienteering with a Camelbak as "adventure-racerish." That's probably because I've expressed surprise when I see adventure racers at local O' races wearing packs to do a 5 km course. I suspect that they wear the packs to practice for longer races. I don't think they are expecting to be out so long they need to carry water.

Which brings up another issue I've written about before...Should O' organizers be expected to provide water on the courses? Given how easy it is for competitors to carry water, it seems reasonable to expect the competitors to provide their own water (as long as you let them know in advance).

C could also be for COOOOOOOLD

Here in Kansas City is it cold. The forecast for tonight is for a temp of -4 F (which is something like -20 C). That's cold.

It isn't just cold out, it is also icy. Saturday started out warm, above freezing. As the temperature fell, the rain began. Rain turned to freezing rain, then we had sleet. In places the sleet and ice is thick on the roads and sidewalks.

I looked out my kitchen window a half hour ago and saw a kid ice-skating up and down the road! I grabbed my camera and headed out to get a snapshot.

posted by Michael | 7:53 PM


C is for....


You'll just have to wait until later today to see what C is for.

But, I couldn't resist posting a link to an article Tore Sandvik wrote about the sprint WOC and the fact that the terrain area was open to competitors before the event (but without using maps while they wandered around the town).

Sandvik created his own sprint O' map before the WOC. He used a tourist map and a free version of OCAD to create his map. Check out his story to see a comparison of the two maps (the competition map above and Sandvik's own map below).

posted by Michael | 12:59 PM


Sunday, January 04, 2004

B is for boulder


I suppose a boulder is the ideal control feature. Boulders are distinct in the terrain; but also small, requiring some careful navigation to find. The black dot symbol for a boulder on an O' map represents the feature quite well.

I've recycled a photo from a few months ago of a boulder on a French O' map. Mary jogs past a boulder at Fontainebleau. If you haven't been to that forest, you might be surprised to find out that the boulder in the photo is considered a "small" boulder.

B could also be for basketball...

Except, I try to write about orienteering each day and I can't see an easy way to work orienteering in a post about basketball.

For any serious basketball fanatics, here is some data from two of the last KU games. The data covers the first half of the KU-Binghampton game and the last 26 minutes of the KU-Villanova game.

The table has three columns. Exch shows exchanges between offensive players. So, if Aaron Miles brings up the ball and takes a shot, the column shows 0. If he makes a pass to Wayne Simien who takes a shot, the column shows 1. Poss shows the number of times that Kansas used the associated number of exchanges before something happened. Something could be a shot (made or missed), a turnover, a foul, and so on. Pts shows the number of points Kansas scored during those corresponding possessions.

Exch. Poss. Pts.
0 30 26
1 21 18
2 15 16
3 13 14
4 2 0
5 8 7
6 5 5
7 5 5
8 1 3
9 1 0
10 1 0

So what? Well, there isn't really much to say. Kansas tended to do a bit better per possession when they made two or three exchanges than when they made 0 or 1 exchange. But, I haven't collected enough data to draw any conclusions (this is really only 45 minutes of information).

posted by Michael | 2:34 PM


Saturday, January 03, 2004

A is for Annichen


After Simone dominated the World Champs this summer, a discussion started at Attackpoint -- "Simone Luder -- Best Female Orienteer Ever?"

Nope. The best ever is Annichen Kringstad. Here is what I wrote:

I'd say Simone Luder is on her way to being the best ever. Annichen is still tough to beat as "best ever"

By the time Annichen was 25, she'd run in four different WOCs and run seven races (she didn't run the relay in 1979). She'd won six gold medals in those seven races. Annichen's worst result was 9th in 1979.

Simone turned 25 this year. She's run in three WOCs and run nine races. She's won five gold medals and a bronze. Simone's worst result was 15th in the middle distance race in her first WOC.

Annichen's most dominant WOC was in 1983. She won gold in the relay and won the individual race by 7:33.

Simone's most dominant WOC is, obviously, this year. She won four golds with margins in the individual races of 3:05, 0:17, and 0:10.

It isn't easy to compare results across time because the WOC has changed so much as they've added the middle and sprint races.

Not taking anything away from Simone, but it looks to me like Annichen has a very slight edge.

Annichen retired when she was 25. Let's hope Simone sticks around for another few years. If she does, she'll probably be the best ever.

Why was Annichen so good?

Here is how Annichen described her key to success (in an interview in a Swedish paper)...

"I trained very much and very hard. And my body handled the stress, which was lucky."

There you go -- train very much, train very hard and don't get sick or injured. Easy.

B is for....?

posted by Michael | 7:08 PM


Friday, January 02, 2004

A to Z


It is that time of year again...For the last two years I've written an orienteering A-to-Z at the beginning of the year.

I'll start tomorrow with "A" (maybe A will be for attackpoint...or ankle injury...or whatever).

posted by Michael | 5:40 PM


Thursday, January 01, 2004

Platt's training a looooong time ago


My basement is full of boxes. Now and then I open one of the boxes to see what is inside. Today I found a few old U.S. Team newsletters, one of which had a report from Mikell Platt on his training.

Platt summarized his training for 1986 and described his physical training plan for 1987.

In 1896, Platt did 506 hours of running (270 in the woods), 84 cycling and 23 skiing.

In 1987, he planned 500 hours running (333 in the woods), 139 cycling and 33 skiing.

He planned to emphasize doing some regular, harder running to improve his speed with goals of running 2 miles in 10:15 and 10 km in 33:30.

Platt tracked his training in four-week "months" (so there are 13 a year). Here are his actual 1986 hours and planned 1987 hours by "month"

1 47 48
2 51 57
3 55 58
4 43 42
5 50 53
6 37 53
7 41 62
8 39 58
9 51 38
10 51 42
11 55 42
12 43 56
13 50 63

Platt noted that important races were in months 4, 9, 10 and 11.

Comments on Platt's late-1980s training

Platt trained more than most of us in the late 1980s (maybe more than any other U.S. orienteer). He also did a lot of running in the forest. I don't know if anyone who is on the U.S. Team now trains as much as Platt did.

Having specific running goals was quite common among the U.S. team in the mid/late 1980s. Peter Gagarin was team coach and he was (and probably still is) a believer in the value of having some specific running goals. As team coach he encouraged all of us to set some goals for running races.

Platt didn't mention anything about O' training in his report. I don't have any idea how much he was practicing orienteering. (Maybe he'll read this and enlighten us using the "comment" function!). Back in the late 1980s, I don't think Platt was doing much mapping.

Looking at the volumes (which is all we can do because the article doesn't include any information about intensity of training), it seems to me like Platt kept a fairly even level of training throughout the year. I don't see big differences between the months. His plan for 1987 has a bit bigger difference than his actual 1986 did. I suspect that Platt might have been a little bit better off if he'd had a pattern that was a bit more like this:


(Adding these gives 615 hours compared to the 613 Platt actually did in 1986).

Of course, it is quite presumptuous of me to criticize Platt's training given how little information I have about his training. But, what the heck...

How did it go? I haven't gone back and looked at results from 1987, but I think Platt was probably disappointed in how he ran at the World Champs in France. I also know he came close, very close, to winning the U.S. Champs, finishing 2nd, I think. I don't really know about the rest of the season.

posted by Michael | 3:26 PM


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