FOR ALL LEVELS OF ABILITY
Review your route and performance afterwards
For all levels of ability it is essential to review your races and identify what went wrong and think about what you can do to improve. We look at some common errors and then there is a sample Race Analysis table to download and try.
Reviewing GPS traces and drawing your route on the map help enormously. Then try to categorize your errors to see what comes up most often.
As a minimum, draw your route on the map after running. Identify where you lost time and why it happened. Note how much time was lost and what the key errors were and write it on the map. The keep your maps in date order. You can then look back easily and see how you are improving or simply repeating the same errors over and over again. That will help you see what you need to work on.
A catalogue of errors
Here are some of the most frequent errors, you need to build your own list and keep updating it so that you can see clearly what your most common problems are and then work on them:
Not in the flow to number one, rushing, missed it
Left the control in the wrong direction
Ran a bit too quick, thinking fogged, made stupid mistake
Rushed from Attack point and circled around control
Responded to another runner’s presence and rushed or went off line
Parallel error on wrong path or other line feature
Misjudged distance and just kept on going hoping it would work out. It didn’t
Didn’t go to a firm Attack point so off line for control
Turned left instead of right because map not lined up with north
Took reverse bearing and didn’t realise I was going 180 degrees wrong
Didn’t see a much better/ easier route until afterwards because not allowing enough time to think
Drifted offline but didn’t know which way due to not aiming-off in the first place
This list could be much longer. You need to draw up your own list.
Do practice, don’t only race
If you only ever race and never train or reflect you will probably repeat the same mistakes over and over again. When I was a junior I was really frustrated to have 3 bad runs at the Scottish 6 days, so on the rest day I went around the training area with my Dad trying to work what was going wrong. In short, I was rushing out of controls not being accurate in my direction, not identifying a firm attack point and not slowing down on the fine navigation into the control. I put those routines into practice and came second each of the next two days.
So, in addition to reviewing your runs the following can help a lot:
- Shadow a better orienteer. You can alternate navigating legs. Discuss afterwards.
- Walk round a course or the first part of a course as fast as possible trying to get all the navigation and control flow working without mistakes. If you walk the first few legs, only allow yourself to run when they have gone totally error free.
- Analyse your runs to see patterns of repeated errors and potential improvements. Try using the downloadable Race Analysis Table below, to record your analysis.
- Practice map memory. Try running some legs without looking at the map. It can develop your ability to simplify, but don’t get into the habit of not looking at the map, only do it as a specific training exercise, then go back to looking at it, a lot!
- Practice fine navigation following every detail along a wiggly line on the map to totally tune in to the terrain and map.
- Where land permissions allow, go around a course or particular legs again, but knowing where the flags are and note how you could have used the map to get right the first time. Remember – It is very important that you do not jeopardise orienteering access to an area by running there without permission. Orienteering is totally dependent on the good will of landowners.
- Read more on orienteering navigation.
- Review the discussion by top-level orienteers of their runs posted online such as at World of O.
- Routegadget 2 with other competitors GPS traces and Winsplits can help your race analysis. See websites. They are linked in most event results also.
Downloadable table to use in Race Analysis
Race Analysis Table
|Routines, concepts, strategies||Event name/date||Event name/date|
|Yes/No secs/mins lost||Comments||Comments|
|BASIC NAVIGATION ROUTINE|
|Map to north|
|Exiting right direction|
|Map read correctly|
|Distance estimation accurate|
|Rough compass bearing|
|Accurate compass bearing|
|Steady to No 1|
|Route appropriate to skill level|
|Running within thinking|
|Ignored other runners|
|Anticipating possible errors, planning for them|
|Treating every leg as a new beginning|
|Good control flow|
|Committing to route choice|
|Varying speed to fit terrain / navigation|
|Simplifying and seeing notable features on map and ground|
|Overall shape of terrain visualised|
|Categorising types of leg and responding appropriately|
|Recognising certainty of features|
|Using less words|
|Quick and accurate terrain visualisation – Mental Map|
|Optimum route choice?|
|EXTENDED RACE ROUTINE|
|Researched map and courses|
|Calm mind set|
|Good sleep, eating well|
|Positive emotional response to challenges|
|Managed and maintained concentration|
|Potential placing minus errors|
You can download a copy of this table to use below. Feel free to modify it and if you believe you have made an improved version, do email it to me and we can share it with others.