Occassional thoughts about orienteering

Saturday, August 19, 2006

How does Samantha train?


I spent a little time today looking at Samantha Saeger's training. I used the set of questions I developed for looking at people's training on the web. I've used these questions before -- for example, when I looked at Kim Fagerudd's training -- and I find it helps me get a feeling for how someone trains. I also find it fun.

I've met Samantha, but I wouldn't say I know her. Over the last couple of years, I've checked out her log on Attackpoint, but not more than once every couple of weeks. Her runner profile has her results history and a few good photos. She's had some really good results.

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?

Samantha has a fairly even volume. She seems to vary the quality of her training by the time of year, but the volume is steady. She tends to put in a slightly higher volume week every 4 or 5 weeks. I can't tell if it is intentional or just an accident. My guess is the pattern is more accidental than planned.

One very clear pattern shows up in Samantha's training. At the end of 2005, she dramatically increased her training.

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

Samantha does a bit of cycling and skiing. She also does a bit of strength training. But, she doesn't really do a lot of cross training. Most of what she does is run and orienteer. I think she ran track in high school and college. She does a few trail races.

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

Samantha does a reasonable amount of technique training. In the past (checking out her training every couple of weeks), I'd never noticed how much non-race technique training she was doing.

Samantha regularly runs more than one course at small O' races.

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

No. Maybe she eats well, gets plenty of rest, and has a good sense of how she's feeling. Maybe she's just lucky.

possible to answer, but easy to get wrong

Does the orienteer have clear, known goals?

Samantha was clearly focusing on the WOC in Denmark and wanted to qualify for finals. She set a goal of training 7 hours/week in 2006.

Does the orienteer work with a coach?

I don't know if Samantha works with a coach. I suspect she gets plenty of advice (from her Dad, among others). I suspect that she has worked with coaches in the past.

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

I don't like the way I worded this question. I'll have to fix it before I use these questions again.

Samantha seems to pay attention to details, but in a relaxed way. I think she'd, for example, keep an eye on her heart rate monitor, but not let it dictate how she's going to run.

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?

Samantha doesn't whine in her log. She comes across as driven and competitive (without being nuts about it). But, she also comes across as relaxed. So, either I'm completely confused, or she's really well adjusted (or both?).

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

I think she's following a template, but trying to learn and willing to experiment. Her template is built around these ideas:

Train about 7 hours a week.
Train mostly running and orienteering.
Do some strength training.
Run hard intervals regularly (often on the track).
Regularly train O' technique.

To me, Samantha's training template looks pretty good.

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?

Samantha comes from an O' family and has been orienteering a lot. She's a strong runner (probably ran track in high school and college).

Samantha traveled to Europe but I don't think she ever lived there.

Does anything seem striking or unusual?

Samantha's sudden big increase in training at the end of 2005 stands out.

Reading her log, I was struck by a determination and drive that I hadn't noticed before.

Samantha is a good runner in the forest. I've run races and run a few legs with her. She runs well. But, she also has a tendency to orienteer badly now and then. I suspect that she can get her orienteering to be consistent with a little more technique work.

Which brings me to an observation -- at just 24 years age, she's clearly got a lot of potential.

Reading through her training log, I found an entry I hadn't seen before:

To the top in WOC, it's a long way to go,
Just like dad climbing Big Blue, with me in tow.
Breathing hard and sweating buckets,
Sometimes I just want to say **** it. (poetic license please)
But the dreams of WOC keep me going,
Just glad I'm not in Sweden where it's snowing.

posted by Michael | 8:08 PM


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