Are we training wrong? (Part 1)

I’m not convinced that the way many orienteers train is very effective for orienteering. Why?

It pretty much started when I looked at my training for this year.

2021 isn’t over yet, but by the end of the yea I don’t expect to have much more than 250 hours of training logged on Attackpoint.

That is 100 hours less than last year when I was injured for 3 months, but training way more (especially in university). And now I am in the best orienteering shape of my life after a relatively small amount of training this year.

Do I think that training less is better? No.

But what I’ve learned this year is that more specialized training for orienteering is super important and having effective training sessions can makeup for a HUGE lack of training hours.

Would I have liked to train more this year? Yes, I just ran into some problems and instead spent my gap-year time focusing on how to make my training more effective rather than just more.

The second (normal red) bar in the graph above represents orienteering and I expect that by the end of the year my orienteering volume will match or exceed that of last year while both conditioning and running volume will be significantly lower.

Not only have I been doing more orienteering training this year, but I’ve tried to focus my workouts to be more orienteering specific.

By orienteering specific workouts I mean the following:

Terrain Intervals / Running – running through terrain at a fast pace

Hill Workouts / Training – running up hills at a fast pace

Dynamic Movement Workouts – running/jumping/climbing over obstacles

Why do I do these orienteering specific workouts as opposed to normal running workouts? Well it is pretty self explanatory.

Despite being at a lower speed than say a track workout, these orienteering workouts help develop the leg strength and power necessary for speed through terrain which, as I’ve mentioned in another post, is the primary physical component of orienteering (at least in the forest).

Is doing track workouts useless then? I don’t think so.

At first I thought that replacing all speed work with these kind of orienteering specific workouts is the way to go. But after some thought, it seems to me that track workouts at a fast pace also have their place in orienteering training because 1) they will be easier if you have a good base of strength from orienteering and 2) they help train aerobic endurance and speed in a way that orienteering specific workouts can’t seem to do.

So I do think that if you HAD to choose between doing only orienteering specific speedwork vs. typical speedwork then do the one more specialized for orienteering (like terrain intervals).

But since we have the option to do both I think that doing both is more effective than only one or the other even if traditional speedwork isn’t specifically designed for improving your orienteering.

Oregon Ducks add 5 more victories to close out Hayward Premiere track and  field meet -

So, what would a good week of training look like for me?

Monday: Rest Day / Cross Training

Tuesday: Orienteering Specific Workout

Wednesday: Easy Run w/ Map

Thursday: Traditional Speedwork (either tempo run or track workout)

Friday: Easy Run w/ Map or Cross Training

Saturday: Easy Orienteering Training or Terrain Running w/ Map

Sunday: Long Run or Hard Orienteering Training

I plan to follow something similar to the above when I go back to school in a few weeks (although my club does workouts on Wednesday so I’ll have to move things around).

Anyways, I want to go into how to train during actual orienteering sessions and why running with a map is important, but I think I will leave that for another post.

Thanks for reading! Read Part 2 here.

1 thought on “Are we training wrong? (Part 1)”

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