Occassional thoughts about orienteering

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Tonight's sprint training


I ran a sprint O' course this evening and learned something about sprint course setting. Actually, it was more like reinforcing something I already knew. In a simple park setting, design some short legs and include plenty of direction changes. Tonight's course wasn't like that. I won't complain too much. It was fun to have a course to run.

Back to okansas.blogspot.com.

posted by Michael | 8:23 PM


Monday, July 30, 2007

My predictions for the Norwegian WOC team


The Norwegian WOC team selections were just announced, so I should see if any of the newcomers I thought might make the team did.

I'd written:

Based on nothing but a list of previous JWOC teams, I'd say the following Norwegians have a reasonable chance at running their first WOC: Jorid Flatekval, Betty Ann Bjerkreim Nilsen, and Oystein Sorensson.

I completely missed the boat. None of my picks made it. Though to be fair, these weren't really the people I expected to make it, they were the people who I'd pick as likely first-timers if the only bit of info I had was a list of previous JWOC teams.

Only one of the Norwegians picked for this year's WOC is running their first WOC - Olav Lundanes. Lundanes is still a junior. It'll be interesting to see how he does. He's slated to run just the sprint.

Back to okansas.blogspot.com.

posted by Michael | 9:10 PM


Sunday, July 29, 2007

"...a plan for a race"


I came across an quote about Contador, who won the Tour De France, in today's NY Times:

“He is a rider capable of executing a strategy, a plan for a race,” Bruyneel said.

Contador did not start racing until he was 16, remarkably late for someone who is now at the top ranks of the professional peloton. Although he was an accomplished soccer player, Contador said: “I felt when I was on the bike I had more freedom. I could do more things that I wanted to do.”

I thought the quotes - both Bruyneel's and Contador's - were interesting.

Weather Planner

Say you're planning to go to Texas in the first week of June (maybe to do a training camp). What weather conditions do you expect? There would be:

59 percent chance of a hot day (temp over 90F/32C);
No chance (0 percent) of a freezing day;
26 percent chance of a day with precipitation;
99 percent chance of a humid day (dew point over 65F/18C); and
43 percent chance of a sweltering day (dew point over 70F/21).

Now you know.

That's all courtesy of the weatherunderground.com trip planner.

Back to okansas.blogspot.com.

posted by Michael | 6:57 PM


Saturday, July 28, 2007

The American Lifestyle


Goran Andersson - well known O' trainer - talked about a study of the lifestyle of Swedish orienteers. (See Kondis.no for the story). A rough translation of a bit of the story:

Most of the training orienteers do is running and orienteering, but a lot of them also ski and bike. The pattern among orienteers is that they are phyisically active, have normal weight, don't smoke, and drink alcohol moderately. They train a minimum of 30 minutes, three times a week on average. Half of them train more.

Andersson makes some public policy recommendations. He thinks companies should get tax breaks for having wellness programs. He warns that...

The people of Scandinavia are just 10-15 years from living an American lifestyle.

Anderson doesn't define the American lifestyle...but, you get the idea.

Which brings up a very interesting study where researchers found that obesity seems to spread through social ties. I've just skimmed through the study, but it really looks interesting.

Network phenomena might be exploited to spread positive health behaviors....Smoking- and alcohol-cessation programs and weight-loss interventions that provide peer support — that is, that modify the person's social network — are more successful than those that do not....People are connected, and so their health is connected....The observation that people are embedded in social networks suggests that both bad and good behaviors might spread over a range of social ties.

This is both good news and bad news for someone who has lots of "social network" connections through reading orienteers' web pages. Maybe Tero's good behaviors are spread to those of us who read his page? Maybe I'm going to develop "gubbvader" because I look at Aspleaf's page on a daily basis?

Back to okansas.blogspot.com.

posted by Michael | 4:31 PM


Friday, July 27, 2007

Running elite at Oringen


The U.S. had one runner who ran M21E (not super-elite) at this year's Oringen. He took a long time to finish each day. His efforts prompted some discussion over at Attackpoint about the pros and cons of running elite races.

In some ways, it is an interesting question. When I lived in Sweden, I ran a couple of elite races, but for the most part I stuck with M21A.

The organizers usually limited the field (maybe 60-90 runners) and places were filled based on ranking points. The top ranked runners got to run M21E, the rest got put in M21A. When I lived in Stockholm the fields were deep enough that if I ran in M21E, I'd be keeping someone with a better ranking from making the field. I could have run M21E by appealing to the organizers and explaining that I was a top American runner and "wouldn't it be good to have an international runner in the field?" Most organizers would probably have given me a place. But, if I took that place, someone else wouldn't get that spot. Even though the organizers ultimately would have made the decision, it struck me as selfish. So, I ran M21A.

I learned just as much running M21A. The courses had the same difficulty (though were typically 1-1.5K shorter). The competition was tough. Don't get me wrong - the winners in M21E are better than the winners in M21A, but the people who were around me in the results were close enough (both ahead of me and behind me) that a small mistake would hurt my placings. I won 2-3 races in M21A over the years.

I looked up the US runner's results from this year's race. Here they are:

Day 1 - 3:20, the winner ran 1:01.
Day 2 - ej godk (which usually means mispunched), the winner ran 1:25.
Day 3 - 1:40, the winner ran 0:35.
Day 4 - 2:46, the winner ran 1:10.
Day 5 - 2:33, the winner ran 1:08.

I wonder if you learn anything running races where your best result is more than double the winning time.

Back to okansas.blogspot.com.

posted by Michael | 6:43 PM


Thursday, July 26, 2007

In honor of the Tour de France


I ran a search of this page for "doping." (My personal favorite is "Peeing on the kitchen floor."

I love watching the TDF on TV. A few years ago, Mary and I went to France and saw a stage near Paris. It is a great event. But, it is getting harder and harder for me to feel good about it.

The snapshot is from our trip to France in 2003...

Back to okansas.blogspot.com.

posted by Michael | 6:51 PM


Wednesday, July 25, 2007

More on left and right routes


A comment to yesterday's post raised a good question:

maybe interesting to know if they wear compass on the same hand of map... and if they cover some part of the map.

Fortunately, that is the kind of question that is pretty easy to answer thanks to Worldofo.com's collection of info about top orienteers. That's where I lifted the photos of the two Norwegians.

It looks like both use thumb compasses on the same hand.

Back to okansas.blogspot.com.

posted by Michael | 8:38 PM


Tuesday, July 24, 2007

OPN on route choice tendencies


OPN wrote up the route choices from the sprint trails where they pointed out something a bit unusual - for legs with route choice, when Anne Margrethe Hausken went to the left, Marianne Andersen went to the right. On the map below, Hausken's routes are in blue and Anderson's are in red.

Hausken and Anderson took different routes on 1, 2, 8, 10, 13, 14, and 18. And on all of those, Hausken went left compared to Andersen.

Anderson is quoted in the article speculating that Hausken had a particular plan (to run around on the larger trails) and the course setter just happened to design courses where that option always meant a left-of-the-line route. That sounds like a reasonable explanation to me.

I've wondered if orienteers have tendencies with route choices. Do you tend to favor left or right? I've never actually tried to figure it out. It seems plausible that orienteers would have this sort of tendency.

Back to okansas.blogspot.com.

posted by Michael | 6:42 PM


Monday, July 23, 2007

I hate when that happens


From Mikkel Lund's desciption of today's mass start World Cup race (roughly translated from the original Danish):

...I continued with my same plan and go to the 5th control, but it has the wrong code! It is 231 and I am looking for 221. How in the world could that be. I was absolutely sure I was in control. Double check the code. Yes, 221. I don't have any idea what could be going on and I triple check the code, shit...It is the 7th control that is 221. I do have 231! Go back to the control, but I've lost about 2 minutes and the race was already over for me. But, I had to keep fighting on.

Don't you hate when that happens?

Lund kept fighting and ended up 35th, which means he qualifies for the middle distance World Cup race.

Back to okansas.blogspot.com.

posted by Michael | 6:54 PM


Sunday, July 22, 2007

Thierry Gueorgiou's Cowboy Boots


Lisa is at the Swedish 5-days and spent some time today asking Thierry Gueorgiou questions. I don't know the details, but my guess is the conversation went something like this...

Lisa: You've been a great orienteer for a long time. You must have had some good coaching when you were a junior.

Thierry Gueorgiou: Oui. We were a bunch of juniors in France who trained a lot.

Lisa: Going to training camps?

Thierry Gueorgiou: Oui.

Lisa: Have you ever heard of Sid Richardson?

Thierry Gueorgiou: Sid? Hmmm...Sid? Oui, Sid...Sex Pistol, right?

Lisa: Ha, ha! No, not Sid Vicious (though some might say that Richardson is Vicious). No, Sid Richardson is where we have a training camp every year for juniors. It is really good. You should come and help coach the juniors.

Thierry Gueorgiou: That would be fun. I would like that very much. Working with juniors is always rewarding. Where is this training camp?

Lisa: In Texas. Not so far from Dallas.

Thierry Gueorgiou: Texas. I have never been there. The U.S. Dollar is so weak. It wouldn't cost much to go to Texas. When is this training camp?

Lisa: June.

Thierry Gueorgiou: June! In Texas! It must be hot as hell. You must be crazy.

Lisa: Well, June isn't so bad. It is much more comfortable than people think.

Thierry Gueorgiou: Hmmm...maybe I should come to Texas. With the U.S. Dollar so weak I could buy several pairs of cowboy boot.

Lisa: I would like to talk more, but I have to go help my husband buy some food. The only word he knows in Swedish is Jordnotssmor and he wants something else to eat today.

Back to okansas.blogspot.com.

posted by Michael | 7:37 PM


Saturday, July 21, 2007

Notes for navigating


Damon Douglas set up an interesting training exercise at a training camp in New York. He designed a red course (F21) and let us study the map as long as we'd want and take notes describing how we'd run the course. We went over our notes with Damon before running the course without looking at either the map or notes.

I spent a few minutes sketching out rough maps of each leg. Then I ran the course without much trouble. It helped, of course, that the control flags weren't hidden and the forest was open, with great visibility (for those of you familiar with Hudson Valley terrain, we started from the parking area at the Turkey Mountain map).

I was surprised that another runner wrote text to describe each leg (something that would never have occurred to me to do). The text even included compass bearings.

This particular training exercise was typical of Damon. It was a bit unusual, but very interesting. It was also, I suspect, an experiment Damon was doing. He was always trying out new ideas and trying to learn.

I was thinking back on this training when I was watched today's Tour De France time trial today. The course looked tricky (especially in the rain). I wondered what sort of notes cyclists use for a course like that. It'd certainly make sense for them to have detailed information about each corner that the coach in the car following the riders could pass on.

I imagine cyclists would use something like the notes rally racers use. Maybe that sort of detail isn't really necessary? Maybe it is enough to just provide info like, "be careful of the turn, the pavement is slippery"?

Back to okansas.blogspot.com.

posted by Michael | 7:44 PM


Friday, July 20, 2007

More easy orienteering needed


Easy orienteering to make better orienteers? From an article that showed up on Halden SK's web page, I came across some very interesting ideas. Here is one of them:

I [Jens Erik Mjolnerod] discussed something with Emil Wingstedt a few weeks ago, namely that it is extremely difficult for somewhat older juniors to get into orienteering. The orienteering technique demands are just too high. Even if they could be very strong physically, for example as former skiers or runners. The Scandinavian terrain is very technically demanding, while continental terrain is easier for someone to handle if they are strong runners but weak technically. So, the conclusion is that we should have competitions where people who are strong runners but "weak" navigators can compete against the best. That would allow for a natural development at the top levels, even for those a little older.

The idea is that technically demanding orienteering - which experienced orienteers usually prefer - is too discouraging for orienteers with less experience. In Norway, they might be losing potentially good senior-level orienteers because they don't start when they are young enough. But in continental European terrain people who are good runners, but who haven't yet developed good technique, can be more competitive and don't get discouraged.

If I were a Simpsons character...

...I'd spend some time hanging out in the parking lot of the Kwik-E-Mart

Back to okansas.blogspot.com.

posted by Michael | 7:43 PM


Thursday, July 19, 2007

World Cup Gambling


I spent a few minutes looking at the odds for the upcoming World Cup races at the Swedish 5-days (which begins next week).

A few observations...

It is interesting to see that Gueorgiuo is the favorite in all three events (long, middle and sprint). As you might expect, he is a bigger favorite in the middle distance.

At first glance, I'd put some money on Mattias Millinger in the long. I wouldn't necessarily expect him to win, but his odds look off to me. A small bet, a little luck, a good run by Mattias, and you'd take home a load of money.

I'd write more, but dinner is ready.

To check out the odds yourself, go to www.svenskaspel.se and click on "sport" and then click on "oddset langen" and then look for a link to "Till Oddsetkupongen!" That will open a window where you can find a link to "Orientering" and then you'll get a list of the odds.

Back to okansas.blogspot.com.

posted by Michael | 6:59 PM


Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Swedish WOC team newcomers


Last week I used my super-simple prediction method to get an idea of which Swedish runners might run their first WOCs. My super-simple method was to pick runners who'd been on more than 2 JWOC teams and had run their first JWOC before 2004.

Now that the Swedish team has been announced, I should see how the predictions came out.

Short answer, not so good. But not as bad as it might look at first glance.

I listed Jan Troeng, Anders Holmberg, Anna Lampinen, and Elin Skantze, as possible newcomers to the Swedish WOC team. Two of those runners, Holmberg and Skantze, are alternates.

Lina Persson is runner her first WOC. She ran one JWOC (2002). Among Swedes who've run both a JWOC and a WOC, it is unusual to have run just one JWOC. It might not be unique, but no other WOC runners from Sweden in my lists (which cover JWOC teams since 1999) have run just one JWOC.

Back to okansas.blogspot.com.

posted by Michael | 7:03 PM


Tuesday, July 17, 2007

The perfect gift for the orienteer who has everything


"Wow, cool dishes." I don't get to say that very often, but I said it today.

Topoware is:

...a tableware collection that questions the landscape of dining. Taking inspiration from the recent popularity of geography as a media of communication (with Google maps) and more specifically with topographic maps, which define heights of a landscape two dimensionally, Topoware in turn, "outlines" the dining experience.

As best I can tell, Topoware isn't yet available. Until then, I guess I'll have to go with something like Aspleaf's dinner table (the napkin holders are especially cool).

Back to okansas.blogspot.com.

posted by Michael | 5:51 PM


Monday, July 16, 2007

Legendary terrain


Yesterday's training was on the 1993 WOC classic distance terrain (Surebridge Mountain). Orienteering terrain doesn't get much better than this stuff.

Greg B. set the course. If you did both maps, you'd cover about 9 km. That's a lot of oreinteering in a little area.

Back to okansas.blogspot.com.

posted by Michael | 7:18 PM


Sunday, July 15, 2007

New way to train concentration and O' technique


Start with an O' course in technically and physically demanding terrain (Surebridge is perfect).

Before you begin, step into a swarm of angry wasps. Spend some time swatting at them as you run away.

Now, begin the course. Try to ignore the stinging and pay attention to the orienteering. If you can keep spiking controls, you're in control and concentrating well.

I couldn't. I boomed control after control, stopped a couple of times and planned to just call it a day, and finally ran two legs reasonably well, brining me to the finish. That was enough.

While I've discovered a new way to train concentration and O' technique, I wouldn't recommend it.

Back to okansas.blogspot.com.

posted by Michael | 3:21 PM


Saturday, July 14, 2007

Side hill orienteering


Orienteering along the side of a hill is tough. I was reminded of that during today's training at Surebridge (WOC 93 classic map). Everything about orienteering along the side of a hill is tough...except that you don't have to climb much.

By "side hill orienteering" I mean legs that go along the side of a reasonably steep hill. You might have to go up or down a few lines, but typically the challenge isn't so much the hill. The challenges are that it can be easy to go up or down too much; the uneven footing - with one foot always being a bit higher than the other; keeping track of distance can be tricky; and relocating can also be tricky. Of course, relocating is always tricky (and hence something to be avoided).

I suppose one reason I find orienteering along the side of a hill tough is that I don't practice it much. When you're orienteering in Kansas City-terrain, you're usually going up or down the hills.

In Swedish there is a word for orienteering along the side of a hill - skraaorientering (or something like that).

Back to okansas.blogspot.com.

posted by Michael | 5:06 PM


Friday, July 13, 2007

Some orienteering video


Busy today, time for just a quick link to some video from the Swedish elite-series/WOC selection sprint. It is always fun to watch people like Simone Niggli and Emil Wingstedt running. And if you can understand Swedish, it is always fun to hear those wonderful southern accents.

Back to okansas.blogspot.com.

posted by Michael | 3:53 PM


Thursday, July 12, 2007



Since I spent some time looking at JWOC team runners who then made a WOC team, I thought it'd be interesting to go out on a limb and pick a few Swedish and Norwegian orienteers who have never run a WOC but have a good chance of making the 2007 WOC team. In making these predictions, the only information I'm looking at is a list of prior JWOC teams. So these aren't really my best predicitions. It is more like a test of a very simple method of predicting WOC team debuts.

I think the Swedish and Norwegian teams are having selection races this weekend and will announce their teams next week.

Based on nothing but a list of previous JWOC teams, I'd say the following Norwegians have a reasonable chance at running their first WOC: Jorid Flatekval, Betty Ann Bjerkreim Nilsen, and Oystein Sorensson. Possible Swedish WOC debuts would be: Jan Troeng, Anders Holmberg, Anna Lampinen, and Elin Skantze.

Please, don't take this stuff too seriously (just a few minutes playing with Google searches would easily eliminate a few of the names I've listed). It might make more sense to say that these are the Norwegian and Swedish runners who have run JWOC s since about 2000 who are most likely to make WOC teams. It'll be interesting to see if any of them make their first WOC.

Back to okansas.blogspot.com.

posted by Michael | 7:50 PM


Wednesday, July 11, 2007

An old map from Aspleaf


A fine old map that Aspleaf posted the other day:

The map is from the 1985 World Champs in Australia. Sweet terrain.

Annichen Kringstad won the women's race despite some big booms (look at controls 4, 5, 6, 7, and 8).

Kari Sallinen won the men's race. When I think of Sallinen, I remember an interview with him. A "peak performance professional" from the U.S. interviewed a bunch of elite orienteers and put together a tape summarizing some of the interviews. Sallinen talked about knowing how his form was by how it felt to walk up the stairs on one of the Sweden-Finland ferry boats when he was going to Tio Mila. For some reason, that comment stuck in my memory. Every time I climb a few flights of stairs, I think about how my legs feel and that compares to when I'm fittest.

Dan Meenehan had a bad day at the WOC in Australia. He fell and smashed his knee on a rock in the early part of the course (somewhere around control 6, I think). Instead of DNF'ing, he walked the course and finished dead last. He used to point out that he and Kari Sallinen were forever linked because the easiest places to see on a results sheet are first and last. I guess that says something about Dan's sense of humor.

The 1985 WOC is well remembered for Ted De St Croix's fine result, too. He finished 10th. He was 7.8 percent behind the winner. To put that in perspective, think about Sandy Hott Johansen's result in the 2005 WOC in Japan. Sandy finished 9th (if I remember correctly) - a very, very good result. She was 16.9 percent behind. In the middle qualifying race, Sandy was 3rd (if I remember correctly) and was 9.3 percent back.

Back to okansas.blogspot.com.

posted by Michael | 7:50 PM


Tuesday, July 10, 2007

JWOC factoid of the day


Five JWOC runners, from 5 different nations, all run for the same club in Sweden - IFK Mora. I'm not sure what to make of that factiod, but I'm impressed.

The 5 are: Eva Svensson from Sweden, Judith Wyder from Switzerland, Stepan Kodeda from the Czech Republic, Zsolt Lenkei from Hungary, and Jonas Rass from Italy. You can see snapshots and read more about these folks (if you can read Swedish) here.

Poking around IFK Mora's web page I learned more interesting trivia. Eva Jurenikova (who has one of the better elite runner web pages around) is the part-time club trainer. And JWOC sprint champion Eva Svensson works at the Zorn Museum.

Now...back to watching the Tour De France on TV.

Back to okansas.blogspot.com.

posted by Michael | 7:32 PM


Monday, July 09, 2007  

From an interview with JWOC sprint champ Eva Svensson

I was very stressing in the beginning. The start triangle came direct [ME note: I think that means there was no marked route from getting the map to the start point] and then there was a short leg to the first control. I lost a few seconds there.

I had a very good race, especially the last part went really well. After the spectator control I had more time to read the map and made good route choices when I didn't just go straight.

The interview is from the Swedish O' Federation web page. The map below shows the women's sprint course, but not Svensson's routes....now back to watching the Tour De France on TV...

Back to okansas.blogspot.com.

posted by Michael | 7:51 PM


Sunday, July 08, 2007  

Thank you juniors from Denmark.

They posted yesterday's sprint JWOC maps on their JWOC blog.

The course looks fun. The lakes and out-of-bounds areas give some route choice options to think about. There are a lot of controls, so you'd have lots of little problems to solve.

I looked at the splits for the winner. Nearly half (9 of 19) of the legs (including the run in) took less than 30 seconds. The "long leg" (10 to 11) is not even 3 minutes.

Looking at the map inspired me to spend some time working on my current sprint map project (the Haskell Campus).

Back to okansas.blogspot.com.

posted by Michael | 7:37 PM


Saturday, July 07, 2007  

TV friendly orienteering?

OPN pointed me to an interesting idea for TV/spectator friendly orienteering (the Norwegian description is worth a read if you can manage it).

Basically, here is how it works...


Each runner completes 4 qualifying courses in a 70 minute period.
Each qualifying course takes about 10-12 minutes.
Runners start the qualifying courses with 1 minute intervals.
A runner starts a new qualifying course each 18 minutes.
Since there are 4 qualifying courses, the organizers can start 4 runners each minute. 72 runners can start in each 18 minute period.

Who makes the final?

1. If you finish in the top 15 in one of the qualifying races, you make the final. So each competitor has 4 chances to qualify for the final.

2. If, after all 4 qualifying courses, you are less than 4 minutes behind the overall best total time, then you make the final.

The final

The final course takes about 30 minutes (no forking).
The start is a chase start based on the combined total times from all 4 qualifying courses.
Runners who have total times more than 4:30 behind the best time, go out in a mass start 4:30 after the leader.
The first runner to the finish wins.

I haven't translated the entire Norwegian article, but it is quite interesting. The author, a guy named Truls Kvaase, presents the approach as a fictitious race report - complete with fictitious start lists, results, quotes from the competitors, and so on.

The idea reminds me a bit of a session that has been used at some of the Texas Junior O' Camps called "Tatyana's Marathon." In its most pure form, Tatyana's Marathon consists of 4 races each with a mass start. The finish of each course leaves you at the start of the next course. The mass starts go off at a set interval. For example, the first course might start at 7:30 a.m., the second course at 8:15, the third at 9:00 and so on. You earn points based on your finish position (winning gets you 1 point, finishing 2nd is 2, etc.). It is a bit like the Norwegian example (and much easier to arrange because you don't need to keep individual runners' times).

Back to okansas.blogspot.com.

posted by Michael | 11:46 AM


Friday, July 06, 2007  

An orienteering map in Iceland!

Mary and I are planning a trip to Iceland and we've done some poking around trying to find out if there is any orienteering in Iceland. We hadn't had any luck...until today.

Mary was looking at the 1/2004 issue of O-Sport (back in the days when Martin Gregor was the editor) that includes an interview with Perola Olsson. Olsson is a mapper and accompanying the interview was the clip of a map in Iceland. Sweet!

Now what I need to do is get in touch with Perola Olsson. So, if anyone knows how to contact Olsson, please let me know.

Back to okansas.blogspot.com.

posted by Michael | 7:42 PM


Thursday, July 05, 2007

Tornado warning


Mary and I were doing some O' practice on the sprint map of the KU campus yesterday when the tornado sirens went off. I caught up to Mary in the middle of the course and we decided to keep going, with me keeping an eye on the clouds and weather while Mary orienteered. The clouds were starting to rotate and the sky was green to the north and west - both ominous signs. After a few minutes, the tornado sirens stopped. Fortunately, the storm didn't lead to any tornadoes.

I wouldn't say I'm scared of tornadoes. But, I don't want to be caught in one. When you see photos of the kind of damage a tornado can do, you realize that you want to stay away from them.

A mysterious series of numbers

372, 334, 310, 280, 250, 228, 210, 190, 172, 162, 136, 116, 98, 84, 54, 30, 16.

Any ideas what that sequence of numbers is. If you've got a guess, add it as a comment. I'll treat the first person who gets it right to a fabulous prize!

Back to okansas.blogspot.com.

posted by Michael | 9:09 PM


Wednesday, July 04, 2007

More JWOC history...this time Finland


I spent some time looking at Finland's JWOC teams for 1999-2007. As in the past, I looked at a couple of specific questions:

How many different people have run JWOCs for Finland 1999-2007?
How many of those have also run a WOC for Finland?

34 different men and 30 different women have run JWOCs for Finland. Of those 64 runners, 9 have gone on to run WOCs for Finland. That's comparable to Norway for the same time period.

Keeping in mind the small sample size, it is interesting that Norway and Finland have had more runners in the period of 1999-2007 to move from JWOC teams to WOC teams (Sweden has had 5 compared to 10 for Norway and 9 for Finland).

Keeping in mind the small sample size, what I've seen is consistent with the idea that Sweden's selection philosophy might favor older, more experienced runners. Or maybe not. Maybe Swedish juniors haven't performed as well in the 4-6 years after making JWOC teams. Be wary of strong conclusions on such limited information!

If you add Finland, Norway and Sweden together, 152 different runners have run JWOCs during the period of 1999-2007. What portion of those runners do you think have run just one JWOC? 10 percent? 90 percent? 50 percent?

It turns out that about half of the people who ran JWOCs ran just one. Here is how the number of JWOC appearances break down:

One appearance 84 runners
Two appearances 42 runners
Three appearances 18 runners
Four appearances 8 runners
Five appearances 0 runners

As you might expect, people who run multiple JWOCs are more likely to run WOCs. As you might also expect, people who run JWOCs usually take about 4 years before they make a WOC team. Putting those two together gives you a way to predict which juniors in the last few years are likely to show up in senior WOCs in the next few years. I've put together a list of names. That list will wait for another day.

Back to okansas.blogspot.com.

posted by Michael | 12:02 PM


Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Free time


Some discussion over at Attackpoint about running form got me thinking about an experiment I did a few years ago. Whenever I ran in the forest, I made a point of trying to run faster than usual on the downhills. It didn't really take more physical effort, just more concentration. It also didn't take long to become significantly faster without - and this is key - without really working harder. That's free time!

But, I lose the ability to run downhill fast (or rather faster) if I don't work on it regularly.

Back to okansas.blogspot.com.

posted by Michael | 7:24 PM


Monday, July 02, 2007

M40 Training Tip


I can think of lots of training tips for M40 runners. You need more rest than you did 10 years ago. Do plenty of stretching. Don't increase your volume or speed too quickly.

But, my favorite M40 training tip is really an M40 fashion tip.

Train without your shirt.

If you're like most of us, you'll be embarrassed as you realize how flabby you look. Maybe you'll think twice before having that donut at work tomorrow.

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posted by Michael | 9:11 PM


Sunday, July 01, 2007

Taking risks


Peter wrote:

Orienteering often comes down to choosing the right tactics. Sometimes the best tactic is being careful, sometimes it's taking risks, sometimes it's just hoping to be lucky. And since it's usually not a head-to-head competition, you don't find out until afterwards if you made the right choices.

In theory, I agree with Peter. In practice, I don't think fast enough to make many on-the-fly decisions. It is hard enough for me to pay attention to what I'm doing.

On the rare occasions when I take a calculated risk, it is usually when navigating to a control is difficult, but there is a decent feature just behind the control. Like control 13 on the map below.

My approach to control 13 was to head in the right direction, look for the flag and thicket, and be prepared to run by the control and relocated at top of the reentrant if I missed the control. It turned out ok - I saw the flag.

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posted by Michael | 7:22 PM


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