I just got back to Maine from the weekend in Alabama. And it's really cold here. So... while I will still brave the cold to run, it would also be awesome to do something inside related to orienteering (in addition to reading attackpoint discussion threads of course). Besides just looking over old courses and looking for different route choices, what do you do for indoor map study? Discuss:)
Play Catching Features. Duh.
Playing Catching Features.
Setting courses on different maps - forcing yourself to think like a course setter.
study the routes on the maps in o-sport. try to pick which one you think is fastest. check the splits to see if you're right. try and figure out why.
or do some 'thierry georgieou' training: look at a route for 10sec, then try and draw it on a blank sheet, using only the necessary features
For drawing courses on different maps, I recommend using blank overhead transparency and a wet erase marker (you teacher types should have plenty...). Infinite fun.
The Swedish orienteering magazine Skogssport has a photo orienteering contest each year, in the winter.
Somebody makes a course on a map, goes out and takes photographs of each point, with camera direction given. The course length is also given. Then it's up to you to try to puzzle these pictures together, to make a course with the correct length, passing the intended points.
you can also look at the "climb profile" of a leg, or compare different route choices. It is also good to anylyze your old courses from last year, see what you can learn from them, you can put them in different piles (good races, ok races, and bad races...)... are there certain mistakes you keep on making over and over... (i know there are for me!)
I favor what Matthias called "Thierry Georgieou" training, except I recommend starting with more time--maybe 30 seconds--and working your way down to 10 (or even fewer) seconds. On the other hand, I recommend against map-gazing, studying maps for long periods of time in an unfocused, terrain-touristy way. My hypothesis is that it's counter-productive, because when I have done a lot of map-gazing, it has seemed to reinforce poor map reading habits when racing.
I've found "map-gazing" to be helpful if I'm looking at a course I've run. I try to remember what the terrain looked like as I look at the map.
An exercise that was definately productive a few years back was going through all my competition maps for the year and looking at all the legs where I made significant (over 3 minute) errors. I found that over half of these were on the same type of leg - coming over a rise and descending diagonally across a few contours to a point feature, typically in thick woods.
I started setting legs like this in training, and also became more concious of the potential for error when I'd hit one in competition. The following year I did the same analysis and found that my big boom rate had dropped significantly and that type of leg was no longer causing me inordinate problems. Not coincidentally, my Blue rating shot up 10 points.
Pretty productive use of a few hours in the living room.
Almost any map study can be worthwhile, but I think ebone is onto most relevant exercise, Mentally running courses with the same bang- bang intensity you use in competition, the quicker the better. This is the quality work that actually produces improvement, the rest is at best only base training, and I agree that some low quality training (physical, technical, or mental) can reinforce poor habits.
I got tired of getting concussions from running into trees playing Catching Features, so I found another o-game where you can run through them: