Split Time Analysis   Leave a comment

I've been doing some analysis of the split times from the weekend races. The first day was easier technically, so there wasn't much to analyse, but the SplitsBrowser shows very clearly that I started too fast:

That was the plan, of course – run as fast as possible, in order to limit my losses (in minutes) due to lack of speed. The graph shows that I started slowing down after the long leg (8-9), due to fatigue and mistakes (caused by fatigue), but I think I wouldn't have got a better result by starting slower.

The second day was very technical – 25 controls in detailed terrain. I looked at the split times in LapCombat (I'm the third from the left), and I was surprised by where I did well. Though 3rd on the course, on most controls I was behind 10th fastest, and that reflects my slow running speed. The exceptions were not the legs that I expected, so I started thinking about the reasons for this:
Leg 11 (2nd fastest time) – an easy leg, in my opinion, involving just rough orienteering. Maybe my fast time reflects the fact that many orienteers would tend to over-orienteer this leg, trying to read too much details along the way, while I just headed fast across the ridge and aimed for the open area.

Leg 14 (2nd as well) – very similar in concept, and I think I did well for the same reason. I ignored all the details and ran hard over the ridge, aiming off for the open area.

Leg 15 (3rd) – this was the long leg, and nearly everyone I talked to took the same route as I did – around to the east, using a major path. So how did I do so well if my running speed isn't good? I think the approach to the control was decisive: you can run very fast along the path, and easily make a mess of finding the control. I had ages of time to plan ahead, and I slowed down in time, made sure I identified the stone walls clearly, and hit the control spot on.

Leg 1 (also 3rd) – not so surprising. I could see that the start was straight into the thick forest, which has lots of details, so I guessed the first control would be very close. I also knew (by the control descriptions) that the start point was a clear detail – the edge of the thicket. Therefore I didn't take any shortcuts, ran straight to the start flag while reading the map, and took a safe route (parallel to the green) to the control.

My worst legs (relatively) were some of the very short ones (less than a minute), and the last control. This can be attributed to the fact that I started early, and I was running alone most of the time. The fastest times for the short legs would belong to those orienteers who were in a group of runners and saw those ahead of them from the previous control, and on the last leg I had to find the control by myself (and so I slowed down), while later on there would have been runners from all the courses approaching the last control and making it easy.

Conclusion – don't take anything for granted, and analyse your split times even if you think you know exactly how well you did on each control. You might be surprised.

Posted 30/12/2008 by dchissick in Uncategorized

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