O Log - 50/50

[30-Mar-04] 

    (and now for some pointless speculation)

    When I was starting out, I was told O was 50% mental, and 50% physical (or 50% technique and 50% running, I guess). I recently heard this reiterated, and along with it the assertion that training could be broken down this way.

    I've always been skeptical of this whole notion, and the more experience I've gotten, the more skeptical I've become. First of all, if there even is this breakdown, I would put it at about 70-65% technique, and 30-35% running. I've come up with this guess at a ratio based on my runnings in woods with others, running on trails and roads with others, and general opinion of technique skill of myself and others.

    But I really feel the whole notion of breaking it down is misplaced. Running thru the forest and reading the map, navigating, and route planning is a far removed, separate and distinct skill from running, or navigating. Not that running training and navigation training aren't useful cross training, but I get the sense that that actual skill of O is somewhat farther removed from those skills than people give credit.

    I wonder if any science has been done in this area? I wonder how wrong I am? I guess one experiment would be to take sets of identical twins, put one set on a training program of running, armchair orienteering, and a race once a week, and the other set at 5 races or running training courses a week (same volume as the runners), and see whose results are better in the long run. I suppose this flies in the face of running training theory, and I'm certainly not convinced I'm right. But my intuition from experience leans this way. I'm sure research along these lines has been done elsewhere in the developed O world, but I am way too busy to ferret it out.

    I guess until I see science one way or the other, I rather trainers emphasise -- race race race, find controls at race pace, do line O at race pace, rather than running volumes and other attempts to decompose the skill.

Home