Discussion: Technique for running a straight line
in: Orienteering; Training & Technique;
Was wondering what techniques others use to try and run a straight line. Frequent glances at the compass? Pick out an object up ahead? Others? Also, does the technique change if the woods are thick?
Set an azimuth with the GPS and follow it. Piece of cake.
Pick object ahead and run to it, pick another, etc. Also making sure to not always duck to the same side of obstacles - left around one tree, right around the next.
Especially important if you're like me and one leg is stronger. If I'm not careful to stay in a straight line, I drift left badly. Like paddling a canoe on one side :-)
Try and hold the compass level before you look at it
I've found I can't follow a compass bearing in a straight line but unfortunately this is only the case some of the time. About 20% of the time I drift right but don't realise. Very occasionally I drift left. It's not something I can think about correcting because I don't know when it's happening.
One of my rogaine teammates seems to have the same problem.
I've been practicing sighting two things ahead on the line so that you can then just pick out successive objects (line up the first two, pick a third, you now have a new two as you pass the first) with just quick glances at the compass for confirmation. Seems v. fast and secure, though I'm no pro at it (yet).
Going in a straight line is always hard, i do all the above but i also look left and right and pick of features either side of me to ensure i am the correct distance away from them this helps me keep in a straight line.
Straight lines are for track athletes. Look in the distance, find the place you want to be, and run there. Pick the fastest line in between, not the straightest.
Pick targets that are as far away as possible and you can stop less and run smoother. But the target should be along your route. Don't pick infinitely distant objects like mountains or stars. They will preserve your original bearing, but they won't pull you back onto the correct line if you drift off.
Cristina's approach also helps me.
I look for a straight path.
Straight paths are nice, when they lead in the right direction!
I regularly train for Cristina's approach. I log it as "orienteering training, no map" and refer to the the technique as "parallax" or "gun sight" technique. It works very well in open woods where you can pick out two distinctive trees in a line. Sort of like fore and aft sights on a rifle. When you drift to the side the two trees are no longer aligned.
Picking out only a single object requires a second compass bearing upon reaching object and so is slower and more error prone.
In the woods it is common to be thrown off track by downed trees or other obstacles. Correcting for that is something else I train for occasionally
Straight lines are for track athletes.
I disagree. Straight lines are for most definitely for orienteers. The default running line should always be straight with deviation only for a good reason.
I developed my gun sight technique independently but I always assumed that top tier orienteers running straight lines through the woods must be using a similar technique. Is that assumption correct?
I generally follow the pink lines. Usually get into trouble in the control circle or in detailed areas.
Straight lines are for track athletes.
If you look at most middle distance races all you need to do is go straight and control pick. Even in well designed longs there are bunch of control picking between long route choice legs. And there are some not well designed longs where you run for 20, 25 controls of 400 meters each. Unless it is really green or really steep, going straight is my first option to look at when deciding on a leg route.
-- I have tried using Cristina's approach. Looking at 3 objects/trees to keep a straight line and reduce the compass glances. Things I did not liked:
This could work in open woods only.
It's a bit complex to follow at race pace.
Gets tricky when you need to go around stuff left and right and then need to come back and align back the two trees you were supposed to follow. This forces you not to go around and make micro route choices, but to stick to the line, which usually slows you down as you jump force through just to keep the trees in line.
The time you save by not looking at the compass is not worth the complexity.
--I have tried using rough bearings without taking actual bearing.
Not precise enough for me.
Works if you have good large catching feature.
--What works best for me:
Take time and use the basel to take a bearing.
Measure with my compass how far I need to keep it for.
Look up and find a single object to run to. (! important ! focus on feature of the tree/object so you remember it. Many times I can not find the damn thing wen looking for it from a slightly different angle. )
Look between me and the object and pick the cleanest way.
Pick up pace and run hard. There is nothing else to do till I get there.
Approaching the object I'll steady my hand and hold my compass horizontally and continue running.
Slow down and look at the compass, look up find object.
I found that in certain terrains if I follow this it works really well.
I hear a GPS with a map view works well.
Its not just a question of what you see in front of you, but also what's around you to the sides. If you can pick that up, that should help give a straighter line, especially if there are some good parallel features worth looking at. But im sure its already been said(?)
Nikolay, I don't think we really 'disagree.' What you describe fits pretty well within my philosophy. I was being a bit facetious when I said 'straight is for track athletes'. What I meant to emphasize, perhaps poorly, is the importance of letting yourself make micro-route choices (pick the cleanest line), just like you describe.
Don't take bearings on sheep - a common error by those new to hill / fell navigation in the UK, I've noticed :-)
Few years ago I heard that during NASA's first mission to moon rocket-ship with of planned trajectory 99% of the time however they made successful landing on moon and even came back from moon. Even NASA with all rocket scientists and latest technology cannot get rocket-ship to fly perfect line.
Realistically it's impossible to run perfect straight line during orienteering race. My goal is to go as straight as possible but each time I intentionally deviate just a little bit to left or right. Unless control is put literally in the middle of nowhere there are always other bigger targets around control - hills, trails, creeks, etc. Once I see or hit those bigger targets I know for sure that I am little to the left or little to the right and go opposite direction to get control. Problem when you try hitting control directly in straight line is that if you miss it - which 9 out of 10 times you will - you would not know did you miss it to the left or right.
Missing target won't and it should not happen in open woods but in open woods (or open area) I use different technique to advance - I look for target as far head as I can see and run towards it.
However as far as one of techniques that I use to keep me close to the desired straight line as possible is that on sunny days use shadows of the trees as reference.
I hadn't thought about using aiming off when there's no catching feature, but it makes sense to use it with a compass bearing because when I try to stay on a line and find myself off, I'm never sure to which side I'm off. Will have to see if this helps.
Don't take bearings on sheep - a common error by those new to hill / fell navigation in the UK, I've noticed
You mean to say the sheep aren't standing around wondering what the little flag is in the middle of their paddock? I thought that'd make it easier.
This discussion thread is closed.