Register | Login
Attackpoint - performance and training tools for orienteering athletes

Discussion: Sprint Orienteering Tips

in: Orienteering; Training & Technique

Jun 11, 2009 6:44 AM # 
Sprint Orienteering is a huge weakness in my Orienteering. I was wondering if any of you experienced orienteers have any tips on ways i could practice / improve sprint orienteering???
Jun 11, 2009 7:15 AM # 
well its probs one of the few good O events im good at, if you are fast at running in general u'll be fast at sprints imo. so i guess hit up the track and do a few sessions
Jun 11, 2009 8:11 AM # 
Bert Bennett:
True to a degree Gibbo but I know plenty of people that I can beat on the track that will beat me in a sprint course. I think factors such as control flow and map contact are more important than general speed.
Jun 11, 2009 9:51 AM # 
Jun 11, 2009 10:58 AM # 
Being able to read the map at top pace is key. So get out there and train with a map, even if yo are just map reading complex granite while you run around a park.
Apart from that, follow the same plan for each leg just like any other event - control feature, attack point/direction, route to get there. If you are in control then read ahead so that you know exit directions etc, but this is irelevant if yo're not spiking the controls in the first pace.
Jun 11, 2009 11:56 AM # 
Anne Margrethe Hausken once did a feature, I think maybe in Orienteering Today, about her "laws of sprint," which may be exactly what you're looking for. Anyone else remember this - I read it on tour so I don't have a copy.
Jun 11, 2009 4:34 PM # 
If you're using manual punching, working on how quickly you punch will yield benefits at any distance. It has an especially important impact on sprints though since you have to punch so often over such a short time period.
Jun 11, 2009 5:38 PM # 
Go to a sprint training camp.

Make a map using the ISSOM to get a good feel for the mapping issues and the standards.

Practice not skipping controls (which is remarkably common in sprint races).
Jun 12, 2009 1:48 AM # 
Practice not skipping controls (which is remarkably common in sprint races).

Oh really. I thought it was just me. I somehow managed to do it 3 times last year, twice in sprints. And every time without realizing it until after the race was over. The funny thing is I don't recall ever having done it before last year.

I've made a concerted effort to concentrate on avoiding it this year, and so far so good, but how exactly does one practice not doing something?
Jun 12, 2009 2:16 AM # 
Hey Fossil maybe you need a golf score counter that you can press after each control to show how many you have been to. May even motivate you to play golf too. Or at least give you an excuse.
Jun 12, 2009 2:44 AM # 
The funny thing is I don't recall ever having done it before last year.

Electronic punching is now more common than it was for most of your career. Could be a factor.
Jun 12, 2009 2:55 AM # 
The only times I've skipped by accident, epunching was involved. I think looking at that box and thinking "punch box 7" makes you more aware of the fact that the next control should have an 8 next to it.

I'll second Spike's suggestion of making sprint maps. I made five of them the year I won M40+ at US Sprint Champs. I don't think that was coincidence. I also designed a bunch of sprint courses that year which helps you think about the problems from the other side (that is, what can I do to create a leg where map reading is important?) I did a lot of web searching to get sprint courses from elite events and tried to think about how those same problems could be posed on the maps I was using.
Jun 12, 2009 3:12 AM # 
I like the video with the sprint techniques above.
I can add the following points that work for me:
- Getting as much information as possible from each glance at the map. For that holding one's thumb or a thumb compass edge either at the place you last checked your map, or the place you are expecting to reach, helps locating where to look at the map when you glance.
- Reading the map at high speed while on a road or open area. For me works sticking it close to my face and hope I don't hit a tree :)
- Treating the race really as a fast intervals session. On average you are slowing down to punch every 40 - 50 secs, so treat each leg as it is your last. If you have done your speed /fast running training the several seconds while you look at your map and slowing down / stopping to punch should give you enough recovery to go for the next leg. If/when you loose 10 - 20 secs here and there, there is some more recovery time as well ;)
-Semaphore/green-yellow-red orienteering technique is really really important, with the difference that you don't go to red. I treat a full stop on a sprint as time lost. So it is green-lime green-yellow technique for the sprints for me.
Jun 12, 2009 5:21 AM # 
A specific point, NMFC - make sure that you understand the out-of-bounds and crossing point overprints (purple) - from the route you plotted on RouteGadget for last Monday's NSW Sprints you didn't use the marked overbridge which would have reduced the distance and climb on 8-9 & especially 3-4.
Jun 13, 2009 9:07 AM # 
yer i did have problems with whats out of bounds
Jun 13, 2009 9:10 AM # 
Thanks all. Especially Nikolay. I think that should help
Jun 14, 2009 10:11 AM # 
thanks for bringing it up NMFC coz it helped me too (:
Jun 25, 2009 2:43 AM # 
Nick Harris:
@ Becks:
Yeah I remember that article... off the top of my head I remember 3 out of 4 "laws"... To paraphrase:

Look ahead - as far as you can to pick up prominent buildings etc along your route. These give you confidence to go fast

Maintain a higher speed by running straight lines rather than twisting & turning - (ie: be prepared to go wide to stay at top speed)

Look at the whole leg - the "dead-end" is a common course setters trick. Avoid it by reviewing the whole leg & esp how you will enter the circle
Jun 25, 2009 7:05 AM # 
If/when you loose 10 - 20 secs here and there, there is some more recovery time as well

here and there what 2 or 3? which is 20-60secs

If you lose that much time, unless your burning up a track, you'll be well out of the running in most sprint races that have a quality field!

Other than that, sound advice.
If i had that much speed, i'd just pick a route and go for it. Planners want you to stop/slow down to pick a route, alot of the time the routes are 50:50
Jun 25, 2009 8:53 AM # 
@ Nick Harris

Got it - the first rule was "Read everything to the first control." So take it a bit steadier (We're talking Anne Margrethe here, it's still pretty darn fast), but make sure you pick off all the detail - it helps you get into the map scale most importantly, but also gives you a sense of the mapping, ready for the demon route choices later on.
Jun 25, 2009 9:51 AM # 
Tip from experience at the Scottish champs 2006: Beware of lampposts.

One minute I was planning a route, the next lying on pavement with a sore head. Must have been a good comedy moment for spectators.

Moving cars will often attempt to keep out of your way. Lampposts are hard b*st*rds who just dont care. Dont trust them.
Jun 25, 2009 2:28 PM # 
Beware of lampposts.

Yeah. They're kind of like trees.
Jun 25, 2009 11:05 PM # 
Nick Harris:
@ Becks - aahhhh thats right, well done. I would've used that if i'd remembered it... I still use the other 3 - have to add #4 now you've reminded me...

One more thing to add: For me, brain explosions have been my main weakness in sprint (run fast & explode OR run slow & be slow = can't win). The only solution? Fitness. I guess this applies in all forms of orienteering but the margin for error is much smaller in sprint O; every second counts. You won't win a sprint title by taking a conservative approach to speed control. You've gotta maintain max speed and be fit enough to hold your brain together for that crucial 12-15mins.
Jun 27, 2009 9:26 AM # 
JJ. Funny, I've never run into a tree. Touch wood.

Meanwhile, some JOK top tips from Nick Barrable.

If you really care about doing well, at the expense of some of the fun, have a good look at the area ahead of time (there's always a map) - in particular the dead ends and cut throughs.

This discussion thread is closed.