Occassional thoughts about orienteering

Sunday, October 31, 2004

Anders Nordberg's training


I came across a short description of Anders Nordberg's training. Nordberg took the bronze in the WOC middle distance race this year.

Nordberg wrote about his training in Norwegian, which is just different enough from Swedish that I can't always understand it. More often, I can read it but miss a word or two. Maybe I'll get really inspired and, together with my Norwegian-English dictionary make my way through the entire article. But not tonight.

Instead, let me just note a couple of factoids from his training:

1. A goal for this season, and for next season, will be to train more in the terrain.

2. In 2000, Nordberg did 56 hours of technique training. This year he'll do about 175 hours of technique training.

3. He tries to have two hard sessions a week. One is intervals and the other is a orienteering session. He also does one easy long run with a map.

posted by Michael | 7:50 PM


Saturday, October 30, 2004

Some notes on Brian's sprint races


I spent some time today looking at Brian May's sprint maps and the split times from the WOC.

The sprint terrain and courses give you a chance to look at running speed and how terrain affects it. Here is what I did:

1. I picked out legs where I didn't see many route options, the navigation looked easy and I could describe each leg in terms of the running surface. For example, I picked legs 4, 5 and 6 from the qualifying race where the running surface is open grass.

2. For each of the legs I picked, I compared Brian's split to the fastest time for the leg and the time the winner ran.

3. I looked at the comparisons to see if any obvious patterns stood out.

While this isn't a perfect way to look at relative running speed, it beats making assertions like -- "you really lose a lot of time on a trail compared to the forest" or "you have to be able to run a 15 minute 5K to qualify for a sprint final."

Before I get to what I saw, here are the legs and running surfaces I looked at:

Qualifying Race:
2 small trail
4, 5 and 6 grass
10, 11 mostly terrain

Final Race:
2 mostly trail
4 some terrain
7 mostly paved
8 mostly grass

What I saw was that Brian did best when the surface was easiest. His relative best splits were on legs 4, 5 and 6 in the qualifying race (flat, grassy surfaces). His relative splits were on legs 11 in the qualifying race (mostly terrain) and 8 (mostly grass) and 4 (some terrain) in the final.

I guess it is about what you'd expect. When the footing was best, Brian lost relatively less time than when the footing was rougher. Brian may have some time to gain by becoming better at running in the terrain.

The method isn't perfect and I wouldn't draw strong conclusions from it (though it does fit with what I'd have guessed).

posted by Michael | 7:14 PM


Friday, October 29, 2004

Long control picking


A Norwegian club set a "world record" control picking course -- 120 controls. Check out the map.

The news inspired JJ to design a 100+ control course at Pawtuckaway. From the discussion at Attackpoint, it sounds like a U.S. record attempt might actually happen. That'd be great.

I've vowed to never again run at Pawtuckaway (or even New Hampshire). But, JJ's event might get me to change my mind.

A 120 control course would be fun, but challenging. I'm probably one of the few people who've experimented with long control picking courses. As an experiment I ran a 62 control course about a year ago. You can read what I wrote at the time. I've never, yet, run a course with more controls but I've done several 35+ control courses for training.

posted by Michael | 7:32 PM


Thursday, October 28, 2004

Some odd maps


Check out the maps from the long distance races at the recently completed world cup races in Germany -- the men's course and the women's course. That's Simone Niggli-Luder's route on the women's map.

The German maps remind me a little bit of the first day of the North American Champs. Take a look at Peter Gagarin's map.

In Germany the organizers used an interesting solution to handling the hard to read detail. They enlarged little sections of the map to 1:7,500.

Of course it is quite hard to tell how readable a map would be when you look at the versions on the web. But I'm guessing it was tough to read well even at 1:7,500.

posted by Michael | 8:57 PM


Wednesday, October 27, 2004

Mattias Karlsson's WOC preparations


Johan Ivarsson wrote about Mattias Karlsson's WOC preparations:

Getting back to Mattias Karlsson. After the 2003 WOC and a year of raised expectations for himself and from his surroundings, he hadn't performed as you'd expect. No European Champs and no real top results at the Swedish elite series. He continually worked on his goal-oriented effort to prepare for the 2004 WOC. If he planned something, he did it. He had his own training camps in relevant terrain and good preparation training before each of the WOC-team selection races.

After having one good and one good-enough result at the selection races, he was picked to run the classic race at the WOC.

It wasn't until the day before the qualification race for the Swedish Champs that I realized how focused on the WOC and goal-oriented Mattias was. We were talking about all kinds of things and eventually talked about how we'd trained the day before the Swedish Champs. I'd done an easy short O' course of about 30 minutes near the Swedish Champs map. I wanted to save a bit of energy for the next days' qualification race and Sunday's final. Mattias said that the morning before he'd flown to the Swedish Champs city, he'd spent two hours running in the forest. Maybe he wasn't thinking so much about the Swedish Champs? His thoughts were about the WOC a month later.

Karlsson won the silver in the classic race.

posted by Michael | 1:41 PM


Tuesday, October 26, 2004



Matthias started a discussion of baseball on the Attackpoint discussion page a few days ago.

Sorry to take the discussion away from Orienteering for a second....Or maybe it is related to orienteering after all - somehow it makes me want to go out and train.!(I'm sure Spike could tell us more about this)

I felt challenged. Could I write something about the world series and relate it to orienteering? I'll try.

I'm a Boston fan. Actually I'm a KC Royals fan, but during the world series I'll be pulling for Boston.

I generally favor the American League (again as a KC fan).

Another reason I'm a Boston fan is that they've employed Bill James. James is a KU grad (like me) and lives in my hometown of Lawrence, Kansas.

James is a baseball analyst and writer. He's known for making a serious effort to study baseball scientifically, using rational analysis to try to answer questions. His work, which began in the mid 1970s, is a bit part of the way some teams are approaching the game. James' approach gained a lot of support a couple of years ago when Michael Lewis wrote a best selling book called "Moneyball" about how the Oakland A's succeeded despite spending relatively little money.

A very short summary of the ideas in Moneyball is that a team can answer important questions through analysis and can find bargains when the competition puts the wrong value (either too much or too little) on some aspect of performance.

Now, to relate this to orienteering...

What would a Moneyball approach to orienteering training look like? I'm guessing it'd involve carefully thinking and analyzing the demands of upcoming races, really focusing on, for example, how best to prepare for the upcoming WOC in Japan. It'd also involve looking for ways to prepare that other orienteers hadn't thought of or had undervalued. Maybe Thierry Gueorgiou's 2-hour-a-day CatchingFeatures habit is an example of finding a new way to prepare?

posted by Michael | 8:32 PM


Monday, October 25, 2004  

posted by Michael | 8:22 PM


What makes sprint races different?


Sprint races are short. That's obvious.

What else makes them different?

Take a look at Brian May's maps from this year's WOC.

Start with the non-sprint races. Look at the long qualifier and legs 4, 5, 13 and 16. Then look at the middle qualifier and leg 4. Now look at the relay, legs 1, 11, 12, 14 and 15.

What do those legs have in common? They all involve some significant running on trails or in open areas.

Now look at the sprint races. Check out legs 9, 10 and 11 from the qualifier and legs 4 and 12 from the final. Those are the only sprint legs that had a significant amount of running in the terrain.

Brian spent most of the long, middle and relay running in the terrain. He spent most of the sprint running on trails.

If you dig out maps from the sprint WOC in Finland and Switzerland, you'll see something similar. Sprint WOC races don't emphasize running in the terrain.

I think that's one reason American runners might be able to do relatively better in the sprint. Most Americans don't run in the terrain much. Getting to the forest might mean a car trip. Big parts of the U.S. don't have forest terrain that is like the stuff Brian faced in Sweden. But almost everyone has easy access to terrain that is sprint-relevant. Most of us have no trouble finding parks and some trails. It isn't exactly a competitive advantage, but it might make it relatively easier to prepare for sprint races.

posted by Michael | 8:05 PM


Sunday, October 24, 2004

Fast down hill running and a couple of notes


Fast down hill

Check out this video from today's world cup relay race in Germany. Look at how fast Kalle Dalin runs down the hill (about 1:10 in the video clip).

World cup winners

Holger Hott Johansen and Simone Niggli-Luder won the individual world cup season.

Going in to the last few world cup races, Thierry Gueorgiou led with Emil Wingsted in second. Hott Johansen was third. Gueorgiou hurt his foot. Wingsted got sick. Hott Johansen had three good races - 7th in the sprint, 6th in the middle and 1st in the long.

I wonder if Hott Johansen will put his world cup prize on the shelf right next to his North American champs prize.

Swedish club gets a fast orienteer

I read an article from a Swedish paper about Andrey Khramov, a top Russian runner who will be living part-time in Sweden and running for a Swedish club. The paper quotes Johan Modig talking about what having Khramov will mean:

We have a lot to learn from each other. His is a perfect sparring partner. This will be a new kick for both me and the club. He will strengthen our team and give us some weight when we run relays. That'll help our chances.

Andrey is very fast. When we train intervals I don't have a chance. He is a better runner and that is a new situation. It is good to be pushed. That leads to improvements.

posted by Michael | 8:13 PM


Saturday, October 23, 2004

Local O' race


The map clips show today's course at Blue and Gray Park. What the map clips don't really show is how rough the terrain is. The forest is thick and thorny. The trails at Blue and Gray get a lot of horse traffic, so there mucky and rough. It was fun if not especially pleasant.

posted by Michael | 6:20 PM



The first part of today's course.

posted by Michael | 6:19 PM



The second part of today's course.

posted by Michael | 6:18 PM


Friday, October 22, 2004

Some coaching notes


The U.S. Team talked about coaching at the team meeting last weekend. The discussion was brief, but it spurred me to think a bit about coaching. I thought back over my own experiences working with coaches over the years.

A coach gives you feedback. That's part of coaching. It isn't all there is, but it is a big part. I spent some time thinking about feedback.

The coach I worked most with in Sweden was a guy named Anders. He gave feedback to a bunch of the orienteers in the club.

It worked like this. You kept a training log and gave it to Anders every week or two. He'd review your training, put it in a bar graph, and return it to you with a copy of the graph and a few written comments.

Soon after I started working with Anders I realized the comments followed a pattern. In general, Anders noted:

1. Something you'd done well recently.
2. A question for you to think about.
3. Something looking forward.

I reached my best as an orienteer when I was working with Anders. It seems like the coaching feedback worked.

Let me try to explain what I think was going on by going through some examples. These examples aren't actual comments, but they are consistent with the type of thing Anders told me.

Good race at the race in Soderhamn, that's the first time you beat Johan this season

What is that comment doing? First, it gives you a positive feeling. It is a reward. It also lets you know that Anders is paying attention. The positive comments were always correct -- if he said "good race" it really was a good race it wasn't just a lucky result. Those positive comments felt good and felt motivating.

You've been doing lots of short intervals the last month, what is the thinking behind that?

Anders is giving some technical advice. He's suggesting that you might be doing too many short intervals. But he's doing it in a positive way. He's asking you to think about it yourself. He's also making it clear that how you train is up to you. You are accountable for what you're doing.

The question also gives you a clue. He'd like to talk about it.

At the season start camp you talked about a goal of running a night leg at Tio Mila, make sure you sign up for next week's Stockholm Night Cup.

Anders is reminding you of a goal and making sure you haven't lost sight of that goal.

Anders' comments are giving you some technical advice, some positive feelings/motivation, forcing some accountability and keeping you focused on performance goals. All in just a few sentences. Simple.

Obviously there is more to coaching and feedback. Anders was very knowledgeable and experienced. He knew the technical parts (both navigating and physical training) very well. He did a lot more as a coach than just provide feedback. But the simple pattern that Anders used was a big part of what he did. I think it was also a big part of why I improved my orienteering when I worked with him.

posted by Michael | 6:07 PM


Thursday, October 21, 2004

Some sprint maps


I was going to write about baseball and orienteering, or maybe about coaching (another topic from last weekend's U.S. Team meeting). But, I am tired.

Instead, I'll just add a couple of links to sprint maps from the World Cup in Germany. Take a look at Oystein Kvaal Osterbo's routes from the qualifying race and the final. He won the final but he finished just 13th of 19 in his qualifying heat (which was only a minute back of the heat winner).

The terrain reminds me of Forest Park in St. Louis, where SLOC will host a relay race as part of a three day A-meet in April 2005.

posted by Michael | 8:52 PM


Wednesday, October 20, 2004

Will the US Team sprint?


The U.S. Team has an annual meeting at the U.S. Champs every year and I sat in on part of it this time.

Some of the discussion was about sprint orienteering. After Brian May’s success at the WOC (qualifying for the sprint final), there seems to be some interest in putting some emphasis and effort into preparing for the sprint. It looked like there was some serious interest in the idea. There was even some discussion of having a sprint camp.

Great idea. I hope the team works on sprints. For a bunch of reasons, I think focusing some effort on the sprint might just pay off.

What interested me about the discussion was that it didn’t take place three years ago, after the first WOC with a sprint distance. After the 2001 WOC, I wrote about how I thought the sprint would be a good race for American orienteers to focus on. I got very little response, but the response I got was mostly quite negative.

So what has changed?

I think it is two relatively small things. First, Brian qualified for the final. That gives Americans a sense that maybe we can do well in the sprint. Second, Peter Gagarin brought up the idea. Peter has a lot of credibility. If Peter says something, people will give it some serious consideration because of who he is.

Thinking about all of this reminded me of something Malcolm Gladwell (one of my favorite writers) said in an interview with Rob Neyer (a baseball writer and former employee of another of my favorite writers, Bill James). Here is Gladwell talking about sports:

One of the things that always interests me in sports is how extraordinarily sensitive athletic performance is to social expectations. My favorite example is the four-minute mile. For years, no one even comes close. Then Roger Bannister breaks the record in 1954, and suddenly, everyone can break four minutes. Did runners get "better" in 1954? Not really. They simply became aware that running four minutes was possible. Same thing with baseball players and the Dominican Republic. Dominicans are not "better" infielders than everyone else. But if you are a nine-year-old kid playing in San Pedro de Macoris, you know that it's possible to be a major leaguer, in a way that the same kid growing up in Maine does not. When symbolic barriers are broken -- the first man from the Dominican Republic to make the majors, the first person to break four minutes -- the context in which we think of achievement changes dramatically.

That's what I think happened after Sosa and McGwire. Hitting lots and lots of home runs became conceivable in a way that it wasn't before. Incidentally, that's why Bonds should never be considered the equal of McGwire or Sosa, because the truly heroic and difficult achievement is to have been the first of your generation to break through a particular mental and physical barrier. Bonds, to me, is John Landy, the Australian who was the second to break the four-minute barrier.

posted by Michael | 8:24 PM


Tuesday, October 19, 2004



When you use SportIdent electronic punching, you've got to let the dipstick sit in the control unit for a moment. The unit beeps and a light flashes to let you know the unit has registered your punch (or I guess it is your punch has registered the control). The delay isn't long, but it is noticeable. As you get used to SportIdent, you develop a technique of moving through the control while holding the dipstick in the unit and listening for the beep.

I've used the Emit system a few times and it doesn't have the same delay.

SportIdent is the standard in the U.S.

I suspect that going from SportIdent to Emit is a lot easier than going from Emit to SportIdent.

Maybe the runner in this video is used to Emit? She was disqualified for not punching at the control. That would suck.

posted by Michael | 7:20 PM


Monday, October 18, 2004

Some notes from the U.S. Champs


You can check out a report from the champs (with M21 courses from both days) over at Mapsurfer.com. You'll see some very nice terrain.

I spent some time exploring the model event area and thinking about the race on Friday. I wrote a few notes after the model that helped me decide how to orienteer during the races:

1. Tape my heel to protect from blister [I almost got a blister from my new-ish O' shoes at the model].
2. Talk out loud [Talking to myself helps me concentrate and work through unusual terrain. When I tell myself to talk out loud, I don't usually do it, but I focus better].
3. Remember TG's idea of orienteering 100 meters in the future.
4. Don't "over think" [A reminder that you can't think your way to a good result, you've got to run hard and concentrate].
5. Think about running "smooth." [The forest was a bit rough, the runnability varied, the wet leaves were slippery. Running smoothly would probably be most efficient].
6. The contours are rounded. [It'd be easy to drift off line when running over the top of a hill or around the edge of a depression].

I didn't write anything especially insightful but I think the process of writing notes and thinking about a plan is good. I also had a nice conversation at dinner on Friday with some others who'd spent some time on the model event.

How did it work?

So-so. I had a mistake on the third leg on Saturday then ran cleanly the rest of the weekend. But, I didn't run fast enough to win M40. The first day's course involved a lot of trail running, which doesn't really suit me. Or I should say it doesn't suit my current level of fitness. I wasn't running fast enough. That became clear when I compared split times with other M40s. I was working hard, though. My heart rate data showed a steady average of 167. That's where my average heart rate ought to be during an hour race.

posted by Michael | 8:31 PM


Thursday, October 14, 2004

Next planned update on Monday, October 18


I'll be running M40 at the U.S. Champs this weekend. The next time I plan to update this page is Monday, October 18, though there is always a chance I'll phone in an update from Wisconsin.

posted by Michael | 1:03 PM


Wednesday, October 13, 2004

World record attempt


This sounds like fun.

A club in Norway is organizing a "world record" attempt for the most controls found on an O' course.

Thierry Gueorgiou holds the current record at 115 controls on a course.

The Norwegian club is setting a course of 11-13 kilometers. The race takes place this weekend. I'm not sure how many controls they'll have, but you got to figure they'll have a good 120 or so. Runners completing the course get a certificate.

As of today, 22 runners are entered and Norwegian TV is sending a reporter.

You can read about it (if you can read Norwegian) at Larvik OK's web page.

posted by Michael | 7:15 PM


Tuesday, October 12, 2004

Some quick notes


I'm quite interested in motivation. What is going on when someone is motivated? What is going on when someone loses motivation? Check out this story about the great cross country skier, Per Elofsson, who seems to have lost motivation.

Take a look at a story from last weekend's local orienteering event. Patrick, who wrote the story, has been orienteering for a year or so. He seems to have a good sense of what's going on.

With the U.S. Champs coming up I spent some time thinking about how to orienteer at Telemark and how to make the best use of the model event. I re-read something I wrote about the model for last year's U.S. champs.

posted by Michael | 8:21 PM


Monday, October 11, 2004

Success as juniors and seniors


How many people who win junior championships go on to run in World Champs?

Kristin Beecroft (now Harrison)
Mikell Platt
Kristin Federer (now Hall)
Tom Hollowell, Jr.
Lans Taylor
Michael Eglinski
James Scarborough
Karen Williams
Boris Granovskiy
Eric Bone
Christine Lee
Erik Moe
Kenny Walker, Jr.
Erin Olafsen

The list is people who've won a junior US championship (during the 25 years from 1973 to 1997) and made a WOC team. Sandra Zurcher just missed the list as she won her only junior title in 1998.

The above list has 14 people. But we need some context.

Excluding this summer's WOC team, a total of 62 men and women have been on US WOC teams. The 14 junior champs are 23 percent of those 62. The 14 juniors are 12 percent of the 116 people who've won a junior US title (from 1973 through 1996).

I don't know what these numbers mean. I'm not trying to make any point, I was just curious about how many junior champs went on to have high level success at the senior level.

posted by Michael | 8:31 PM


Sunday, October 10, 2004  

I expected to run in to a bunch of spider webs while orienteering yesterday. I was surprised the forest was relatively spider-free. But, I came across this guy at a pot luck last night.

posted by Michael | 5:41 PM


One week to go


A week from now we'll know who won the U.S. champs.

Time to speculate a bit (though I'm not going to speculate about who will win).

The terrain at Telemark is neutral. By that I mean it isn't anyone's home terrain. Everyone will be in the same position, having to figure the terrain out at the model event and during the race. I don't think there is anything physically special about the terrain. It isn't at altitude. The terrain isn't rocky.

I think, just a guess really, that neutral terrain tends to favor experience. Orienteers who've got lots of experience in lots of different places have an advantage.

Brain May, who would probably be considered the favorite in M21, set the courses.

Getting to Telemark isn't so easy. All of the top competitors will have to travel. People from both coasts will have about equal amounts of travel. Travel is a hassle, but it'll be a hassle that all the top competitors have to deal with.

This year's U.S. Champs is relatively soon after the WOC. I don't know if that matters or not. I might be a bit tough for the runners who went to the WOC to stay motivated and sharp since they spent so much energy preparing for the WOC. The WOC team members should probably be considered the favorites, but the timing might help others close the gap.

In 1983, when Telemark hosted the U.S. Champs, we had surprise winners. Eric Weyman and Sharon Crawford were the favorites. But they didn't win. Instead, Peter Gagarin and Virginia Lehman won. Maybe we'll see an upset this year.

We'll know in a week.

posted by Michael | 5:02 PM


Saturday, October 09, 2004

Season start


The local O' season starts today with a PTOC event at Kill Creek Park. The first local meet at the end of the summer usually means -- lots of spider webs in the forest, lots of spider webs in your face as you run.

Spider webs don't slow you down. They don't cause any real trouble. But, you know, they're kind of gross.

I suppose I should look for something positive in the spider webs. Maybe running through all those spider webs makes you tough. Maybe I should actually look for spider webs and make an effort to run through them.

posted by Michael | 9:09 AM


Friday, October 08, 2004  

Ever notice how the Texas flag (which is on the front of Robbie's O' top) looks a lot like the Puerto Rican flag?

posted by Michael | 7:22 PM


Thursday, October 07, 2004

Hilly or not


A year ago I'd have thought of tonight's run as hilly. I ran on the roads at Wyandotte for a bit over an hour. You can see the hills from the topo map (keep in mind these are 10 foot = 3 meter contours).

A year ago I'd have considered it a hilly run, but I don't consider it hilly today. What's the difference?

I've been paying a lot more attention to how much I climb since I got a watch that tracks climb. Measuring climb has done two things. First, I've started to pay attention to how much I climb. Second, I've made an effort to do more climb.

posted by Michael | 9:12 PM


Wednesday, October 06, 2004

How to read O-Sport


1. Tear open the envelope and hold the magazine in your hands, studying the glossy cover photo. This is going to be good, so just savor the moment for a few seconds.

2. Sit down and go page-by-page through the entire magazine. Don't stop, just get a sense of what is in the issue.

3. Quickly read the editorial on page 3. The editorial probably won't be very interesting, but it is the chance for the editor to have a few words and it is worth taking a look at.

4. Start paging through. Stop at the first article about Thierry Gueorgiou. Whatever the article is, read it. If you don't come to an article about TG, read the interview with the top elite runner that you're bound to hit in the second half of the magazine.

5. Take a break. You don't want to go through the whole magazine in one sitting.

6. Next time you pick up the magazine, flip through and read whatever strikes you. Take another break. I'd recommend you sit in a comfortable chair with a good cup of coffee.

7. Start working your way through the maps. Spend plenty of time with each map. Study the routes and splits. Imagine the terrain. Spread the magazine out on a table in front of you and orient the map as you study each leg (I like to do this in public where people must notice me sitting there looking at the magazine, turning it half a turn as I reorient the map, then studying it some more...do they think I'm nuts?). Spend a bit of time each day looking at those maps.

8. Once you've worked through the maps and articles, you're not done. Look at each ad. The ads are bringing money to the publishers and you want the magazine to stay in business. Silently thank the advertiser and take a look at the ads. If the ad has a URL, make a note of it and look it up some time.

9. Go back and look at the photos. Study the photos. How does Simone carry her SI card? Check it out.

10. Pick out names. Look at photo captions or results lists. See if you can figure out how to pronounce them. Practice..."Mee Nuh Kaow Pee."

Most of all, use the magazine. Don't be a collector. Before your next issue shows up, the current issue should look well used. If you want to be a collector, buy a second subscription and put one copy in a plastic comic-book sleeve.

By the way, if you want to subscribe you can do so at O-sports web page.

posted by Michael | 7:37 PM


Tuesday, October 05, 2004

Another big miss


When I was a kid I liked to watch baseball bloopers on "This Week in Baseball." Every week they'd show major league players dropping easy fly balls or blowing grounders. It was satisfying to see these guys playing like I did. Baseball is a sport where the absolute best can look like amateurs.

Orienteering is like that too.

Kim Fagerudd wrote about a big mistake he made.

If the Finnish Champs middle distance qualifying race had been a beginners course, I'd have flunked. An unexplainable mistake meant that I didn't make the final...

After a month of leg muscle problems it finally felt good before the middle champs....when I came out on the road [see the map and look at the route from 2 to 3] I completely forgot to read the map. I missed the trail junction, which was a little hid by the grass, but should have noticed that I'd run absolutely too far on the road. You just can't make that kind of mistake...I missed a spot in the final by 5 seconds.

Looking at Fageruud's mistake reminds me of watching Derek Jeter boot an easy grounder...except I hate the Yankees, so I'm glad to see Jeter make a mistake!

posted by Michael | 8:36 PM


Monday, October 04, 2004  

posted by Michael | 8:24 PM


Lars' training


I wrote about some training I'd done back in the mid 1980s and a comment asked "what was this exercise?"

Here is how it went.

Three of us were training together: Lars, Dan and I. We had one map. Lars picked out a location about 500-750 meters away. He picked features that would be clear and distinct, like boulders or cliffs. Once he'd picked the feature, he'd show it to Dan. Dan would then have as much time as he needed to plan how he'd run the leg. Once Dan was comfortable with how he'd run the leg, he'd hand the map to me and take off running. My job was to follow along, reading the map. Lars just ran along with us. Dan would run to the feature. When we got there, I'd point out the feature to Dan and Lars. Then we'd switch, I'd run on memory and Dan would follow.

The person running on memory, without the map in hand, is orienteering as a "that's where I'm going orienteer." The person running with the map, who doesn't actually know which feature your going to, is a "that's where I am orienteer."

Almost without fail, the "that's where I'm going orienteer" finds the control feature and finds it quickly. That's because they are looking ahead, simplifying the map and have a good picture of what the control circle and surrounding area will look like.

Almost without fail, the "that's where I am orienteer" struggles to keep up. That's because they are passive, they've got to see features then figure out on the map where they are. That is a slow way to orienteer.

posted by Michael | 8:10 PM


Sunday, October 03, 2004  

this is an audio post - click to play

posted by Michael | 6:06 PM


Saturday, October 02, 2004

Fighting the terrain


I ran at Harriman today and felt like I was fighting with the terrain the whole way. That's the way it is when you haven't been training in the terrain. The forest at Harriman is rocky and there are plenty of logs to jump/step over. Jumping over logs is a great way to wear out your legs quickly. Once you get tired, you lose momentum and running smoothly is really tough. I wasn't helped by worn-out O' shoes. I really struggled to have a good feeling of running in the forest.

On the other hand, I navigated well and while I didn't run fast, I kept a good steady pace.

For tomorrow's race, I'll work on being smooth in the terrain and consistent leaving controls. My biggest time loss today was when I left a control at the wrong angle and then didn't catch it for a couple of hundred meters. I guess I dropped 1:30 - 2:00 on that leg.

And for something completely different...

Last week I spent some time talking to the Douglas County Commission about performance auditing. The commission and county administrator have been giving some thought to having performance audits. Check out the
story from Channel 6 in Lawrence.

posted by Michael | 4:18 PM


Friday, October 01, 2004

Something to think about


I flew from Kansas City to Newark, NJ, today. The flight takes about 2:30. In the middle of the flight, I got bored.

When I'm bored I like to come up with something to think about, some question to try to answer.

Today I asked -- what are the effects of having a WOC every year? The orienteering world hasn't had back-to-back WOCs since 1978/79. Having a WOC each year is a big change. But, I'm not sure what to expect.

Thinking about the effect of annual world championships seemed like a good way to pass the time.

Then I looked out the window. It was a clear day, except dense fog traced the paths of all of the river valleys. As far as the eye could see you could trace the path of a river by looking at the fog above the water. It was actually quite interesting. Instead of thinking about orienteering I just stared out the window for the last hour or so of the flight.

I haven't given up on thinking about the effect of WOCs each year. But I guess I'll have to wait to another day to think about it.

posted by Michael | 6:56 PM


March 2002April 2002May 2002June 2002July 2002August 2002September 2002October 2002November 2002December 2002January 2003February 2003March 2003April 2003May 2003June 2003July 2003August 2003September 2003October 2003November 2003December 2003January 2004February 2004March 2004April 2004May 2004June 2004July 2004August 2004September 2004October 2004November 2004December 2004January 2005February 2005March 2005April 2005May 2005June 2005July 2005August 2005September 2005October 2005November 2005December 2005January 2006February 2006March 2006April 2006May 2006June 2006July 2006August 2006September 2006October 2006November 2006December 2006January 2007February 2007March 2007April 2007May 2007June 2007July 2007August 2007September 2007October 2007November 2007December 2007January 2008February 2008March 2008April 2008May 2008June 2008July 2008August 2008September 2008October 2008November 2008December 2008January 2009February 2009March 2009April 2009May 2009June 2009July 2009August 2009September 2009October 2009November 2009December 2009January 2010February 2010March 2010April 2010May 2010June 2010July 2010August 2010September 2010October 2010November 2010December 2010January 2011February 2011March 2011April 2011May 2011June 2011July 2011August 2011September 2011October 2011November 2011December 2011January 2012February 2012March 2012April 2012May 2012June 2012July 2012August 2012September 2012October 2012November 2012December 2012January 2013March 2013April 2013May 2013July 2013September 2013