Beginner's Corner

New to Orienteering?

You'll find lots of information on the Orienteering USA website.

by Peter Amram
Originally appeared in the NEOC Times, Volume 35, No. 4 , June/July, 2005

Choice is at the heart of orienteering.

You decide for yourself which course you want for the day, whether to go alone or in a group, what pace you want, and which routes you prefer. The first and most important choice is which course to select. At each NEOC event a "menu" board is posted listing each course by color code, length, climb, number of controls. Knowing what to expect on each course makes your decision-making more realistic and the experience more enjoyable.

by Peter Amram
Originally appeared in the NEOC Times, Volume 35, No. 5, Aug/Sep, 2005

A truism about orienteering is that the sport is 50% physical and 50% mental. There is, however, a third component, which might be termed "administration." Administration refers to procedures which relate specifically neither to foot speed nor navigational skill but which greatly affect your time on the course.

An orienteering race should be a single smooth flow around the course. If there are 11 controls plus the run-in to the finish, the result should not be 12 different mini-races from point to point. Too often, however, a race is jerky, disconnected, and correspondingly slower than it ought to be.

by Peter Amram
Originally appeared in the NEOC Times, Volume 35, No. 6 , Oct/Nov, 2005

Because each orienteering course is unique, and because terrain varies, absolute time spent on a course is rarely significant. Competitive runners care most about their ranking compared to others, while recreational folk are concerned with attaining a feeling of satisfaction.

But there is a reliable tool to help analyze orienteering effectiveness, and that is running pace, expressed as minutes per kilometer. Pace will vary with the venue itself, amount of climb, weather conditions, and the inherently increased difficulties of each color-coded course. However, if carefully recorded and studied, your pace can help in telling you what progress is being made in skill acquisition and physical training.

by Peter Amram
Originally appeared in the NEOC Times, Volume 36, No. 1, Dec/Jan, 2005/2006

The best way to improve time on the O-course is to reduce the frequency and magnitude of mistakes.

If you could have trimmed 10 minutes worth of errors off that last 67-minute run on Orange, that would have been an improvement of 15%, just by running smarter, not faster. (How likely are you to quickly improve your 10k time by 15%? Could you speed up that much ever, at any distance?)


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