Some thoughts on training from a Swedish O' discussion page.greenspun.com : LUSENET : orienteer kansas : One Thread
I read an interesting post on a Swedish O' discussion page. Here is a translation:
Most orienteers would probably benefit by training less, if they changed the way they train. Orienteering is probably the technical sport where competitors have the worst technique. How many of you spend more than 30 percent of your total training time on O' technique?
I am convinced that is someone was training 400 hours per year, with 20 percent of it O' technique, they would be better by cutting back to 300 hours with 40 percent of it O' technique. Of course, I don't think they'd be better than someone who trained 600 hours per year with 40 percent technique training.
I'm not so sure about the specific examples and numbers in the post. But, I agree with the basic idea -- that orienteers need to spend more time doing technique training.
-- Spike (email@example.com), January 10, 2001
The challenge lies in figuring out how to train technique. Much is written on how to train physiologically and we all know the various concepts of interval training, or cyclical training with periodization, or tapering. But I'm still at a loss as to how to train o' technique.
Does just running in the woods, avoiding tripping over things and dodging obstacles count as technique training? And how might one figure in armchair training? I suppose the easiest is to just draw routes and run them, but too often, I find that I end up not finding the control point and searching around for it, thus ruining my 'flow' and giving me a strong sense that I'm not doing much technique training at all. Maybe I should just do map hikes!
-- Fritz (firstname.lastname@example.org), January 12, 2001.
Here are my answers to Fritz' questions.
Does just running in the woods, avoiding tripping over things and dodging obstacles count as technique training?
No. But, it is a good way to train. My definition of technique training requires using a map to navigate while moving (running, jogging, or walking). The map doesn't have to be an O' map, but you have to be using the map to navigate.
And how might one figure in armchair training?
Armchair O' is also a good thing to do. But, I wouldn't consider it technique training (since you aren't moving and aren't actually using the map to navigate -- you're just looking at it). You could track armchair O' by timing it. I used to make a point of spending at least 10 minutes every evening looking at O' maps.
I suppose the easiest is to just draw routes and run them, but too often, I find that I end up not finding the control point and searching around for it, thus ruining my 'flow' and giving me a strong sense that I'm not doing much technique training at all. Maybe I should just do map hikes!
There are a couple of things you could do. First, try to get someone else to train with you. You could hang tapes for the other person, while they hang tapes out for you. Then you each take down the other person's tapes. Second, you could set very easy courses -- use features that are very clear. Instead of looking for a small boulder on a hillside, you'll end up looking for trail junctions. Hopefully, you'll have no trouble being sure you're at the correct trail junction. Another thing to try is jogging a second course at every local event. I've been doing that this season. I run the first course at a race pace, then copy another course and jog around it for practice.
-- Spike (email@example.com), January 15, 2001.
I suspect that after many years, orienteers who consistently miss badly on controls do so not because they can't read the map effectively, but because of poor Handlingsmonster. I think that after a while we can all look at a map and decide roughly what the terrain will look like at any point on the map, or alternatively look in the terrain and think about how it might be translated to the map. Can't you? I also think that this skill is not likely to diminish quickly when one has been out of training for a long period of time (sort of like riding a bike to use a cliche).
I honestly don't think that maphikes or armchair o' will be particularly useful for developing good Handlingsmonster (ie. something loosely translated as habits, I take the term from Spike's as-yet-unpublished KK article on training). Armchair o' in particular is simply too different from actual orienteering to develop o' Handlingsmonsters.
I think the easiest way to get good Handlingsmonster is to orienteer... Concentrating. Keeping good contact with the map. Checking your compass regularly. Keeping your map folded conveniently. Keep your eyes looking around. Identifying difficult and easy parts of the course. Picking routes. Checking the control descriptions and codes on the controls before you get there... etc.
It is good, but not necessarily essential, to practice all of those things simultaneously. Unfortunately you won't always have a complete o' course to practice on (actually you probably rarely have one!). You can practice a few skills with little more than a map (and I don't think the map has to be where you are). I think it is beneficial to run on the roads and concentrate for a long time looking at a map. Look at it every few seconds and keep this up for 15 minutes, a half an hour, an hour? It's not much fun, but good training! I've always thought that if one can keep concentrating (and run decently well), one can be a really good orienteer. Like KK, I think concentration is the most important Handlingsmonster. Interpreting the map or running in the woods is simple in comparison (after all, even UPS deliverymen can read maps and adventure racers can run through the woods).
A step up is to draw a course on an o' map and run it. Even if you aren't sure you're getting the right controls 100% of the time, at least you can develop good Handlingsmonster!
-- tofkam (firstname.lastname@example.org), January 16, 2001.