Phoenix Park Training Day – 10th March 2018
After a morning spent sliding around the infamous TT route in the Furry Glen (speaking from experience, it never gets easier) and a talk on some of the finer points of orienteering by Swedish athlete Josefine Klintberg it was back into the park for a second training of the day to try and put some of these into action. The trainings were planned on both 1:10000 and 1:15000 to cater for the needs of each specific age category.
Map 1 – 1:10,000 Training Session
The M/W 12/14/16 all used the 1:10000 training session. The M/W 12s were shadowed and advised by some of those experienced orienteers with a few more years under their belts. The main aim for this age category was to move off the paths and into some slightly more technical control locations than they would be used to. Some of these group also impressively completed the technical Line-o aspect (see map above).
For the M/W 14/16 there were some more exercises, and distance, with options to cut the course short depending on levels of tiredness. In training like this it’s important to remember the importance of quality in what you are doing not just quantity (which has its time and place). There was the option of a long compass leg to control 10 (see map above) before testing their compass skills further with a section of the map missing on the route to 11. Those in the older categories or with fresher legs were greeted with a route choice decision from control 5 to 6, a simple above or below the line choice. Those that ran the northern route choice had to run ~60m further than the southern alternative.
Map 2 – Route Choice 5-6
The next aspect of the training for the Juniors was to solve the maze. The focus of this is on spotting routes, smooth lines, evaluating a few options quickly and then committing to the one you see as being the best for you and the executing it cleanly. Below are the two legs that needed solving within the maze.
Map 3 – 1:10,000 route 7-8
Leg 7-8 presents 3 route options. B is the shortest of the 3 while also giving the least switching back on yourself and smoothest lines to run. In this case the difference between the shortest and longest routechoice is ~340m. If you assume running at 6min/km (on both routes) taking routechoice C can cost in the region of 2 minutes or so. At the same pace A would cost ~35-40seconds.
Map 4 – 1:10,000 route 8-9
On route 8-9 there are only 2 clear options, right of left. Wide to the east is a nice smooth route but involves running >100m further on the leg.
It is important to stress that in the maze, as in orienteering, there’s not just one route choice, take an extra second to look at the big picture and see all the alternatives, it’s better to lose 5-10seconds leaving a control slowly than the 2 minutes that route 7-8 could cost you for example. The more experienced you become the faster you get at seeing these options and making pressure decisions without hesitations.
Legs 9-10-11-12 were testing use of the compass. The shortest distance between A and B is the straight line, and in areas like the Phoenix Park it is possible to run on the compass bearing.
The 18s and 20s had the treat of a 1:15000 Long Distance training. This started with a fast section before the line in the same areas as the younger Juniors but more complex. The line forces map contact, control of when to run fast and slow down and if you keep your head up it gets much easier.
Map 5 – 1:15,000 course
They were then presented with the same 5-6 route choice as mentioned above. The maze route choices are discussed below.
Map 6 – 1:15,000 route 7-8
The above route shows 2 alternatives. The B route choice is ~60m shorter and allows a smooth line through controls 6-7-8 while the A option has less climbing and descending.
Map 7 – 1:15,000 route 8-9
8-9 shows in theory 3 routes but only 2 viable options. B is the shortest by ~60m. Selecting route C, despite offering easy fast running sections does require >300m extra running, which is 33% longer.
Map 8 – 1:15,000 route 10-11
Again this leg presented a simple left and right option with both legs being almost the same length. A is ~10m shorter. The time spent trying to decide on the correct route would be roughly the time lost on the incorrect route.
Map 9 – 1:15,000 route 11-12
In order to find the shortest route on this leg requires leaving the control in the “wrong” direction to the leg direction, this can be especially common in sprint orienteering.
2 of the next 3 controls had no detail in the circle requiring a clear attackpoint and good direction followed by a ~2.5km compass leg with emphasis keeping on the line. Below is my own GPS for this section.
Map 10 – 1:15,000 route 15-16, the compass leg (with GPS data for whole course)
Hopefully everyone took some positives from the day and learned some aspects which they can now take forward and improve on in their own training sessions and Sunday orienteering events. If anyone from yesterday’s training ran with a GPS watch and wants someone to look at the routes and give some feedback then feel free to get in touch with me and I’ll help as best I can (firstname.lastname@example.org).
To finish with a word of thanks to Jeni for organising the training day ably assisted by Ruth and Mike. Thanks to John for sorting map print, to those parents who shadowed some of the younger Juniors and finally to 3Roc for the use of their map for the day.
Just under 3 weeks to the JK and just under 8 weeks to the IOC so get training.
Train hard, race hard and smile while you’re doing it!