Occassional thoughts about orienteering

Monday, January 01, 2007

Dissecting Boris - Part 2


Moving on to the questions that are harder to answer (and easier to get wrong), but in many ways more interesting...

possible to answer, but easy to get wrong

Does the orienteer have clear, known goals?

Boris has clear goals. I'm not sure if his goals are "known." But in some discussion on his training log he offerred to email them to anyone who was interested. I was interested and I've seen his goals. But, since he didn't put them out on his log, I won't write about them specifically.

One can guess that he has ambitions to make the U.S. WOC teams and do well at the WOC races.

Does the orienteer work with a coach?

I don't think so. But, he gets advice from lots of people who post comments to his training log. I suspect that he listens to some of the people who post. He may get some advice from TomHollowell (OK Tyr/US WOC team leader).

When he first moved to Sweden, he was getting lots of advice on Attackpoint to take it easy and not train too much. As I looked at the comments, two thoughts struck me:

1. I'd never give someone advice to train less if I thought they were smart enough to figure it out the right amount of training on their own. (I'd make an exception if they specifically asked me about their volume). One of my basic theories is that most people need to experiment to learn what works best for their own situation.

2. Some of the advice to take it easy was coming from people who know a lot and who know Boris pretty well. So, maybe it was good advice.

While I'm on the topic of training advice on Attackpoint logs, I can't help but quote from some discussion on Boris' log last January:

Sergey: Boris, be very careful as you started doing some speedwork! Just remember that is should be not an addition to the training process - it should be instead of some low intensity training. You are running your luck! I am crossing my fingers for you!Nevertheless, please, listen to your body and consult with your coach.

Boris: Sergey, thanks for the advice! I have been doing speedwork every week, with the exception of last week's vacation, for the last few months, and the only stuff I am adding this week is the skiing, which is low intensity and low impact, so I think I should beok (knock on wood). But i am very aware of the possibility of overtraining and am making sure to recover and eat well.

Not all of the advice people give at Attackpoint is as divorced from reality as this example, but it illustrates one of the problems with Attackpoint - filtering out the nonsense from the sense.

Now I've gone way off track. The question was "does Boris work with a coach?" The answer was "probably not," but he doesn't work without advice.

Another digression...I don't think OK Linne has a club coach. They've got a training group/committee (Boris is a member) and they've got a lot of organized training, but I don't think they have a coach. Boris wrote something about this on his log, but I can't recall exactly what he wrote and I don't have the energy to work through his
logs to find it again.

Another digression....Boris' log at Attackpoint is interesting. He writes a lot.

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.

I'd describe Boris' approach as rational with lots of thinking and experimenting. I don't get the impression that Boris is planning his training in great detail or training with an eye glued to a heart rate monitor. But, he is paying attention to what he does and to how it works.

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?

Boris has a good attitude. The word "unselfish" comes to mind. He also comes across in his log as being thoughtful.

A very speculative thought is that Boris seems like someone who just really loves running around in the forest with a map.

More speculation - I bet if someone picked up the phone and called Boris, the conversation might go like this:

Caller: I've got a couple of old sprint courses on Stadsskogen map. I was thinking of going and running them as orienteering intervals, want to come along?

Boris: Well, I ran intervals yesterday and my hamstring is a bit sore, I was going to just running in the pool. But, I guess I could come along - sprint courses in Stadsskogen would be fun. I'll just keep the pace easy.

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

I think living in Sweden is an experiment.

To some extent, Boris is following the normal Swedish O' club template. Lots of group technique and running training; some group strength training (likegympa); and aiming for relays like Tio Mila and Jukola.

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

I don't really know much about these questions.

I think he has done a little bit of mapping (I recall reading about updating a sprint map of the castle area in Uppsala).

Does anything seem striking or unusual?

I'd say three things struck me:

1. Boris does a lot of orienteering: training, racing and going to camps. He has had a period where he did a whole lot of racing. I took a quick look at July 2006 where Boris ran inGotland , Switzerland and Denmark. By my count (which was quick and might be off a little) was that he race 13 times in July. Add to that 9 days with some O' training, a couple of days with just running, and a few days being sick, and you've
got a busy month.

2. While he's had a few injury problems, I think he's done better than you might expect if you just looked at how quickly he increased and changed his training.

3. Boris travels a lot. He's been living in Sweden for 17 months and only 3 months don't involve an trip out of the county. Here are Boris' travels by month for 2006:

January None
February to England and Spain
March to Estonia
April to England
May to USA
June to USA and to England (and of course Finland for Jukola)
July to Switzerland (then Denmark)
August to USA
September None
October to France
November None
December to England

That's All Folks.

Back to okansas.blogspot.com.

posted by Michael | 11:21 AM


How is he living in Sweden and travelling so much? Is he working, having sponsors or just a rich uncle?
I can answer this one. I live in a single room that I share with another guy and eat pasta every day, meaning my living expenses are very low. I had some savings from working in NYC before coming to Sweden (where I am doing a master's degree when not training), have done some free-lance jobs over the web, and have some support from my parents (until the end of this school year). Pretty much all the money I do have is spent going to orienteering events and training camps.

- Boris
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