Skills Training

Looking for a dramatic improvement in how quickly you find controls? Running fast or being able to walk a long course helps, but it's all for naught if you don't find what you're looking for! Improving your navigation skills is often one of the most dramatic ways to drop the amount of time you spend out on a course.

Basic Techniques

  • Handrail: Using a linear feature, such as trails, streams, fences, power lines, as a guide along a route. Advanced courses may use more subtle handrails, such as swamps, reentrants, ridgelines, and vegetation boundaries.
  • Attack Point: An unmistakable feature near your control that signals you to slow down and use precision navigation to find your control.
  • Collecting features: Features you mentally "check off" on a route that tell you you're on track; often referred to as "staying in touch with the map."
  • Catching features: Features behind a control, such as a trail, a stream, or a hill, that tell you you have passed your control.
  • Aiming Off: deliberately approaching a control along a linear feature from the left or the right to increase the chances of locating the control quickly.

As a general guideline, a competitive beginner has mastered the basics when they can complete an Orange (Intermediate) Course at a rate of 10 minutes per kilometer for men or 12 minutes per kilometer for women. For example, a male runner who completes a 3.5km Orange course in 35:00 minutes has met the 10 min/km standard.

Advanced Techniques

  • Rough compass
  • Precision compass
  • Rough map
  • Precision map
  • "Red light, yellow light, green light"
  • Contouring
  • Control extension (enlargement)
  • Projection / visualization

Check back often - more coming!  Got a training method you'd like to see here? Email it to Tori Campbell. Illustrations such as pictures from training maps are much appreciated.