Wondering what the US team has been up to? Read the newest blog post here!
Love it. Thanks Bridget, and all the contributors!
Ditto. I really enjoy reading these. Thanks!
New post featuring lots and lots of maps. Check it out!
Great to see that there are so many map lovers out there!
(...and BTW Tori, the top map is not from Finland - it´s a Swedish map from Finspång, the area where Tiomila was held in 2010).
Great stuff. Fascinating glimpses into the lives of US team members through their map collections. Thanks for sharing!!
Julia's pick, the corn maze map image was amazing!
Oops, I should have checked more carefully. (I sent the photo and blurb to Bridget during a particularly busy week.) Sorry about that!
New blog post up
today about the World Cup Final!
Little update: the blog is switching to biweekly for the winter because there is less orienteering going on! There will still be fun updates about the team, just not quite as often.
And now with fun updates from our newest team member Thomas Curiger :)
New blog post on Masters champs - here https://usorienteeringteam.wordpress.com/2022/10/3...
I am not as fancy as Bridget so yall get the full link.
Fun write up! Thanks, all!!
JWOC 2.0 Blog Post
is now up! Read for all sorts of shenanigans!
Thanks for the update! Looks like a great time.
There's a new blog post
up about the US Champs, written by the lovely Oriana Riley. Check it out!
Catch up with the team here
! (there are some funny ones today)
I always love reading the blog. I read everyone's AP logs and am otherwise fairly up to speed with the NT members, and I still always read something I didn't know.
Good stuff! Keep it up.
Love it. Thanks for the updates!!!
I wonder if the (not so) Secret Service took note of that suspicious character going back and forth tracing thart first H ?
As a representative of the left half of that H, I will say I did see a lot of officers but they were focused on other stuff. There were onlookers very confused by us though LOL
Always a lot of tourists around there. You have to be more suspicious than this to arouse attention.
Red Star? Is that Seattle? No surprise then
the snowflake is from Adelaide SA
New post out!
Read to hear more about the training camp that happened between Christmas and New Years!
Thank you Team USA! Think this one is the best ever!
Would love to put names with faces…could you list who the people are in the final photo, please?
Glad you enjoyed it! Just added a caption with the names :)
Thank you! I was stumped on just one. Loved the forethought on bringing “formal” wear.
Yeah they clean up nicely, right?
can confirm it was weird to see everyone not in o-gear or a tshirt/sweatshirt + sweatpants
Not only that but for someone growing up in the 21st Century, the era of texting, that Bridget is one hell of a good writer. Ahh, she would be considered a good writer in any era. Thanks for the very informative and entertaining posts.
I remember going to training camp...it was no where near as much fun...except the training part.
New blog about Anza Borrego!!
Check it out for some epic maps and pictures!
awesome blog post! it's cool to see those maps with the intricate contours
Thanks for also including maps with route overlays (Control app images) as it adds interest and value to your blog posting.
Wondering what went down at GNC? Check out the new blog post
I don't see this appearing on World of O
. Does it have an obvious RSS tag? Or is it hidden in the "follow" function? (It doesn't seem to have an RSS, which is how World of O aggregates stuff, I think.) The blog owner might check the settings to see if an RSS can be made available.
With Twitter and Facebook being so maligned, I'd really like to see the older tools used to maintain the information flow for people who refuse to use the app-based social media.
I try to keep links to certain things like the US Team Blog on my Attackpoint Log (in the upcoming events at the bottom), but most of those are really old, and I really need to update them.
Great post, though!
Looks like you just add /feed/ to the wordpress.com
blog address:US National Orienteering Team Blog RSS Feed
(I submitted it to Jan at World of O.)
A good blog update read--thanks Lily, as well as well said cedar creek.
The Lily selfies are great.
New blog post up about the chilly Ski-O Champs
Hear about some of the team members experiences at SWSW here
New blog post out here
about the Royal Romp!
out about the Flying Pig, written by Ben Brady!
It’s great to read the team perspective as well as revisit the challenging fun events.
Thanks also for including the 3 different versions of the Sprint, Long and Middle courses. The maps complement the text and it was interesting to compare courses.
I especially appreciated the most memorable hills on the Long. Nice theme, Ben!
New blog post
out now about West Point! A tad late, but there'll be a little surprise in the next week to make up for it :)
A special, extra post
is out now! Read about the West Point cadets experience hosting their NRE!
Thanks! I heard rave reviews about the courses - great work, cadets!
New blog post from junior squad member Greta about mapping Fisk State Park! Check it out!
New Blog post
on Americans in Europe.
New post about the Junior adventure in Europe here
bhall. Thanks for posting. Great insights there both about how clubs can help their athletes and how athletes can become better orienteers by helping their club.
Great post! I love the take-aways -- you got to experience competition at the highest level, and as Keegan says, "If US athletes train and put in the work there is no reason they cannot do very well in the biggest races."
It is tough to train as hard as you have to train to be world class when you don't have a high level competition just ahead of you. The only North American to win aJWOC medal did so after several years of living, training and competing in Europe.
So if North American orienteering cannot give our young and talented athletes the competition they need and if they can't live in Europe for three years what can they do?
My quick observation from watching the tracking of the forest events is that North American athletes are for the most part proficient in their navigation but it is common to see their European opponents just running past and away from them while running the same route. Fitness and speed in the forest! Join and run with a cross country running group, run middle distance in track and run hard and run often!! I know the second best Canadian junior female of all time I think benefited greatly by running with her university XC team.
Agree with Gordhun. When competing locally I only ever do enough to beat the competition I know I'm up against. This isn't good enough when taking it to the world level.
Not nearly enough terrain running done in non-Eurpoean Orienteering countries. Too much "track" running and seeming very fast (which they are) but terrain running takes so much more skill and strength.
I have been orienteering for more than 50 years now, I make a point of running at least one forest competition every month even in winter, and I'm still completely rubbish at terrain running in the beginning of the spring.
As @tinytoes put it, terrain running takes a _lot_ more skill and (specific) training.
Is there anyone in America, in North America, that can coach terrain running? Is there a book or perhaps a YouTube video titled "How to Speed Your Way Through the Forest"?
It is a knack, I know.
Back in 1976 when a large group of Swedes came to Canada to compete in orienteering (and watch one of their heros win the Olympic Steeplechase) some Canadians marveled at how the Swedes had orienteering outfits that weren't full of tears and repairs while Canadian suits were typically in tatters. The Canadians asked how they managed to keep their suits in one piece. A Swede answered, "we run around the trees; not into them."
Perhaps there is something to that.
Could also be that the Swedes were wearing newer clothing, rather than sewing up the holes in 20-year-old items that are harder to find for sale in this hemisphere.
Perhaps but that is the way it was told (by the late Colin Kirk).
What has been said above is something I have personally been thinking about a lot. It's not so much that European athletes are faster runners or don't make mistakes orienteering, it's instead that they can navigate and run faster through woods. What does this mean? And how can North Americans (or any athletes) catch up?
Well, let's first talk about running faster through the woods. This is exactly what Tinytoes is saying, being a fast runner is important but orienteering is not track running. Getting a faster 5km time will not necessarily help with your orienteering speed. For example, this spring I focused pretty heavily on hill and trail running, and while my 5km time barely budged my orienteering speed increased drastically letting me keep up in orienteering races with people who had 5km times a minute to two minutes faster than mine. So instead, we need to focus on forest and hill speed which are quite different.
This, to be honest though, is pretty easy to tackle, just get out to trail runs, hills, and off-trail running more frequently. A 20-minute trail tempo will almost always be more useful than a 20-minute track tempo. This is doable even without maps and I think many Americans, at least, already do this, see Greg or Danny's training. Gordhun brings up the American's lack of ability to run through terrain and I don’t think there is any magic thing Europeans do better here; they have just practiced terrain running more. And because terrain running can be practiced with no maps and pretty bad forests, I don’t think there is much stopping Americans from practicing. As long as you don’t live in LA or New York City there should be enough forests around to frolic through. We just have to do it more.
Now let's focus on faster navigation. It's not that Europeans are necessarily more accurate in their navigation, it's that they can do it running 5 min kms. This is harder to overcome and I am sure there is a lot of literature out there on how to improve speed-based navigation, so what I am saying is not exhaustive, but here are my thoughts from training.
Running repeatedly on maps and running hard is going to be the best way to improve navigation speed. This is quite hard in North America where maps and races are hard to come by. One way you can try to overcome this is through reading maps on runs, in particular intervals, to try to build map reading speed. I have personally not spent much time on this technique but I know many Elite orienteers swear by it (I am pretty sure it's Thierry Gueorgiou's favorite method) and it's on my list to include in my training.
Personally, however, I believe something more important than reading maps while running is how we train when we do make it to the woods. Too often I find myself finally getting out to a map and just jogging a course I created or found. And what does this do? It may help my ability to move through the forest, but there are other ways to do this that don't require a map. If my navigation is poor at jogging speed it will improve my navigation. But here we are talking about elite athletes, who should be able to navigate at jogging speed. And even if you are perfect at jogging speed you still won’t beat even semi-accurate navigators running quickly.
So then how should we train? Well, one thing to do is very technical trainings like contour-only maps or corridors and these do have a place in training schedules but they don’t build fast navigational skills. To do that you need to be pushing hard. Which has led me to reach the conclusion that most orienteering training we do should be O-intervals. O-intervals are the number one way to build both physical speed and technical speed and they force us to actually push and get faster. Furthermore, since Americans get to the forest so infrequently making every forest training a hard effort is not going to be detrimental to training or health.
Another thing o-intervals teach is how to treat orienteering like a race. Because the level of competition in the US is low, it is often more beneficial to be slow and steady than push and make mistakes. A clean race at 75% speed will almost always win in the US, so why go harder? The problem is in Europe competitors have the ability to run cleanly at 90 or 100% of their top speed. This means even if we have athletes who are just as fast, and just as good and quick navigators as the Europeans they may still lose because they have trained to race at 75% speed while the Europeans trained at 90%. O-intervals push athletes to try to orienteer at that 90-110% pace however preparing them to actually race.
A quick anecdote to demonstrate this point. In the long-distance JWOC course, with about 3 km I got caught by Dominic Mueller, a very strong Swiss runner. I figured I was in good enough shape to run with him so I decided to speed up to attempt to keep up. The thing was I was still ahead of him and actually led the way for almost the entirety of the rest of the course and was doing the navigation. Now I’ll admit the rest of the course was not that challenging, so it was not the biggest challenge to navigate at that speed, but regardless without Dominic pushing me I would not have run that quickly. Which shows that I could orienteer faster than I was racing. I simply did not know that I could. I didn’t know how to race. O-intervals help to teach us how to race.
Ok sorry for the longish rant. Been thinking about training a lot recently, so decided to share.
I'll second the emphasis on O intervals, once you've reached the ability to maintain constant contact while running.
Before that stage, there's a whole lot more to discuss.
Thank you thank you thank you Veegan Keegan for your first hand and insightful look at orienteering training and how to make the most of it.
Would any hobby mappers out there be interested in joining me in helping national team and aspiring national team members have orienteering maps for physical training closer to their home bases?
Is there anyone in America, in North America, that can coach terrain running?
The name that immediately popped into my head was Erin Schirm, aka schirminator
I believe there's a corollary to Keegan's thoughts on navigating at full speed, O-intervals, etc: Choose to "run down" to deliberately practice navigating faster.
How many times have we seen, or been guilty of, "running up" on a longer course for the "training?" For an intermediate-level (orange-level) orienteer, a longer course makes sense to get more repetitions on basic and advanced navigational techniques. For an advanced-level orienteer, Keegan's ideas are spot on.
At your local event, why not choose to "run down" and train navigating at a faster pace (albeit for a shorter distance)? That local event, after all, is the best all-around training you'll get for that longer race you care about and are training for. Want more when you are done? Run it again and see how much time you can actually take off. Come back the next week and take more time off...suddenly, you can glimpse a whole other level of the possible in your orienteering...
I myself am guilty of counter-productive peer pressure at the post-race refreshment table along the lines of "Dude, you smoked the Green course today...why not move up to Red (or Blue) where you belong?" Why do we value plodding around the 8-km course more than we value zooming thru the 5km course? The faster course probably had a better training effect...
-Train on shorter courses
-Eat, don't talk, at the refreshment table:)
It might be useful if someone more informed and less old than me would give a definition / description of O-intervals.
not a definition, but a WOC 2023 O -Intervals training on Livelox https://www.livelox.com/Events/Show/98850/O-Interv...
Are there race formats that encourage interval-like running? I know I run faster than normal for me in the last 5-10 minutes of a Score-O, trying to get a few more controls. I suppose making groups of controls valid only during specified time intervals with additional bonuses for completing the group ahead of time may do the job? Weaker runners will run faster towards the end of each interval trying to get more controls before they expire, and stronger runners will finish the group ahead of time and take a rest before the next group becomes valid. Any other ideas?
Keegan's point is sort of what I was trying to emphasise earlier in the thread about only being quick enough in local races (I'm talking MTBO here but it equally applies to foot events) to beat the competition that I know is there on the day, which is rarely my top speed. Then I go and compete at the world level, have other riders go past and think 'I could/should be pushing a whole lot harder than this'. It's not what I've trained for though so pushing harder goes against my natural way of racing.
Keegan makes a very good analysis though and congrats on some excellent JWOC results this year.
Vancouver Sprint Camp famously has an "O-terval" session every year. They are self-timed, but you are asked to participate in trios of runners of similar speeds, so that you can push each other.
It's definitely possible to design an SI race format that simulates this. Just design several short sequences of controls with "rest" legs in between that you can remove from the results.
I remember a big race in BC several years ago where there was a sketchy stream crossing on the course; they put controls on either side of the stream and removed that "leg" from your time, as long as it was within a certain reasonable time limit.
For an O-terval race, just do that several times.
Knock Out Sprints are essentially O-ints. Don't personally see much further appeal in a race environment.
The Pilzen 5 Days (yes MTBO again) had an unofficial prologue in 2019 with timed and untimed legs. You were supposed to follow the tapes for the timed legs though rather than use the map. Many didn't and got ridiculously fast times on the timed legs so it negated the comparison factor for the rest of us.
I missed a tape on the final leg so ruined any chance I had of 'winning'.
A very insightful analysis by Keegan. There are many factors which go into navigating fast and running fast in terrain. As Eric W pointed out, one must be in constant contact to run and navigate an interval, which is very difficult to do if you are running faster than you can read the map.
Interestingly, in that link to O intervals, it was quite chaotic around the controls, Sara Hagstrom had a lot of misses, and she came 5th in the WOC long! Perhaps successful O intervals do not translate to high performance. There are many factors.
As for running in the woods, vs a track....yes the woods are tougher, use more and different muscles, BUT, the faster you are on a track, the faster you will be in the woods....it is true that track times will not correspondingly translate to faster orienteering times, but (having looked into this for women competitors that I know times of) there is some correspondence...the differences are accounted by, as Keegan alludes to, the ability to navigate at higher paces.
As for running shorter courses, faster....my experience is that one has a pace one can navigate at in certain terrains, once you exceed that pace, you are prone to errors....assuming you have the endurance to run 8Km. (and many do not), it is still going to be difficult to up your navigation pace, for 5Km.
If you are preparing for a race of 11km. (or what ever), and your m/Km are 10, 12, 15, etc. have you done training which has you running, in the woods, or even on trails for 110, 132, or 165 minutes?
As for TG, one of his favorite trainings was corridor O,,,a very narrow corridor, which he ran at full speed....but he was, and is, a superb map reader.
New post about NAOC from Jessica Colleran here
There is a new blog post out about team members experience in Canada for the Ottawa O-Fest and Canadian Champs! Read it here
A great posting by Bridget--definitely worth reading--I laughed a lot.
It was fun and exciting to see USA and Canadian Team members pushing each other at the Ottawa O-Fest/COC.
This all definitely makes me more eager for the next NAOC! Thanks for sharing the experience
A day late, but hopefully very much worth the wait: a blog post
about the Corn Maze Orienteering yesterday!
I appreciated this opportunity to vicariously corn-maze-orienteer :)
about the New England Champs!
In case you missed it, there is a blog post from the international races that happened in October :) https://usorienteeringteam.wordpress.com/2023/10/2...
New post: https://usorienteeringteam.wordpress.com/?p=4313&a...
A big thank you to everyone who helped the juniors travel this summer!
Love it. The pics are priceless. (The video is really fun but most of the pictures go by so fast!)
New Blog post up here
about the Queen of the Hills!
Please login to add a message.