This blog is in recess. New contributions will still appear from time to time and new contributors are welcome. Check out and the facebook o scene for your regular online orienteering fix.

Thursday, 28 May 2009

Superseries Final Preview....

"The outcome of the 2009 Silva Superseries for orienteering will be determined this weekend over four races set in the intricate boulder fields of Wharapapa South and the pineforests.. of Aramiro. Darren Ashmore, leading the mens Superseries is relaxed and in good shape for his last major races before heading to Chinese Taipei for the World Games in July".... from, read more here


Orienteering is about keeping your head while running wildly right? Making spontaneous decisions and going with the flow. Maybe we should all take up swing dancing! Watch this video to the end you won't regret it.

It would be a great thing to spread internationally as well, it would sure make for a better WOC banquet theme than the "whose the hottest Finnish guy humour...."

1st Control Blues

I have to admit Jamie did a post on this a few months back when I emailed him with advice. After Katoa Po weekend I was really frustrated in that I would completely mess up either the first control or one of the first three. It has been a hallmark of my orienteering career from when I started a couple of years ago to now. For the life of me I haven't been able to figure out what I am doing wrong until now, perhaps!

Jamie's first bit of advice to me when orienteering was navigate before you run. This has been my mantra since then (Labour weekend 2007) and despite that it is the one thing that I consistently do poorly on either the first control (9 times out of 10) or one of the first three controls (1 time out of 10). So, can the solution be that easy?

I have realised in my process of getting going at the start of a race I just pick up the map and go. No time taken to aligning it properly, read the terrain to the first control or anything. Instead I am running around like a headless chicken trying to work out every 50 metres where the hell am I. It must look great to watch to those observing. However, not fun when it is happening to you.

It is clear I need to slow down and take an extra 10 seconds at the start of an event to read the map properly even if I don't move at all from the start. Surely this will give me some time to think things through and plan properly. As much as this has come as a revelation to me I still haven't had the chance to put it into practice - maybe at the Heights of Winter rogaine when I take off for the first control and leave my more calm and collected partner (wife) doing things properly.

If anyone thinks I am on the wrong track comments are appreciated. Or, just add in your own experiences and techniques for dealing with the problem if you have come across it.

Good luck for all those competing at Queen's Birthday weekend. I will be keeping up my training regime with a wedding at a winery in the Hawkes Bay!

GPS Watches

There is a lot of discussion about the recent banning of GPS watches by the IOF in WRE's etc. Contrary to what seems to be a majority on World of O, Attackpoint and Maptalk, Im in favor in the IOF's decision.
Seems most people think: "Oh no, now Im not going to be able to track my route anymore..." this is crap you can still use a GPS to track your route, the IOF has only banned devices with a screen. Why do you need your GPS in watch form in a race? If you want to be able to upload your route using Quickroute etc then a GPS data logger can do just the same. (One example from World of O is the Globalsat BT-335 Data-logger). What advantages does your fancy Garmin have over a little black box if your not going to use it in a race? Maybe it logs your heart rate as well? just wear a heart rate monitor then. Im not sure how much feedback on your HR your going to get from a race anyway, its more of a training tool than anything. Just suck it up, take some harden up pills, buy a data logger, build a bridge and get over it.

Wednesday, 27 May 2009


Whats going on around the place? Over the ditch they have named their WOC team, with no men present. Australia has finally fallen victim like us to the difficulties of the annual event. The dilution of the WOC brand continues full steam ahead. For those interested in their introspection and insecurities there is a long discussion over on attackpoint.

Meanwhile the JWOC blog continues to provide interesting reading with Jourdan bullying some weekend warriors into submission in the Cape Brett B grade race and Tom map reading while aqua jogging!

Chris, Ross and Bryn have all been quiet, although Chris rumour has it, has a job starting in September which should see the wolf from the door, and keep them happily in Norway for a while. The poor Norwegians won't know what they've unleashed when he gets to grips with their terrain. It reminds me of a Pearl Jam song....

"seemed a harmless little boy...but we unleashed a lion....."

And the rest of us are looking despondently at the forecast for the Super Series final on the weekend. Storms. Its another Simon Addison inspired event: middle on detailed rock and night sprint, followed by a long fast farmland classic then a mass start romp around Aramiro. Should be awesome!

Tuesday, 26 May 2009

The Moneghetti Fartlek

Seems that down this way Moneghetti Fartlek's are all the rage at the moment. A Moneghetti Fartlek is a fartlek session devised by Steve Moneghetti, who represented Australia multiple times in the Olympics, and now as a master continues to terrorise younger Australian runners ....(in much the same way as Carsten in NZ!)
This is what the session involves:
  • Run two sets of 90 seconds hard (little bit harder than 5km pace), 90 seconds easy ("Float" or steady pace, just above a jog).
  • Run four sets of 60 seconds hard, 60 seconds easy.
  • Run four sets of 30 seconds hard, 30 seconds easy.
  • Run four sets of 15 seconds hard, 15 seconds easy.
Because the sets are based on time and not distance, you can do it up a hill, cross country or on a track which makes it an excellent session for Orienteering training. You can read more about it at:

Monday, 25 May 2009

Map of the Day

I went hunting for maps today and first stop was the best english orienteering blog by a speaker of another language.

No2 is a good leg, would it be too "cute" to go around to the right checking out 6 and 5 in the process?

Sunday, 24 May 2009

Todays Lessons

A couple of quick thoughts from the Wellington OY today. It used to be that when we visited Waitarere we were treated to superlative sand dune forest, now regrettably it is open box thorned dunelands but our time will come again.

It was a short OY with the course modified at the last minute to avoid an infestation of motorbikes and four wheelers, which looked like damn good fun.

I went hard and fast through the first three controls and was very in control. Faced with the route choice leg to four I considered the three options...right (which the planner thought was best) which I didn't like the angles of, left which was better than that, and straight which I decided to go. I figured if I could go hard through the tight green stripe(appears white in photo), slightly to the right of the red line I could break out to the track in good time then follow the obvious lines to the control...

Unfortunately the green didn't go. It was a jungle in there. I bailed out to the farmland to the left and lost four minutes which I was unable to recoup in what was quite an easy and fast race otherwise. Talking to mapping guru Michael Wood afterwards he informs me (and I should probably and may have sometime known this already that tight stripe can mean anywhere between 20% and 60% runnability. This is worth knowing when facing decisions like this and balancing what is a positive aggressive route choice and what is a wild gamble....what do you stand to gain or lose in the context of the race as a whole?

The more common mistake on the day, catching some very experienced orienteers, including Penny Kane, Todd Oates and a resurgent Jason Markham (watch for this guy at QBday weekend!) was the adjusted course which not only knocked one whole loop off, but also cut out ctrl 11, the above went to or towards the original ctrl 11. If you look at the map now you will think "what a dumb mistake", but you see it time and time again. When something "funny" is going on in a course alarm bells should be rung. The little man on your shoulder should be flicking your ear(to go with the previous granny gear image from a few weeks back it could be your granny if you prefer). Its not just map adjustments, but elements like spectator areas, marked routes, map changes (please no comments about the Oceania Classic) and drink stations stationed in the wrong places. Those purple or red map symbols are especially dangerous!!!!

Saturday, 23 May 2009

Map for the Day

Heaven terrain from Italy, Hat-tip to Tom at the JWOC Squad Blog, if you haven't been reading it check it out. Greta training in the wilds of fiordland, Jourdan telling it how it is and Tom being beaten up by the man...

Friday, 22 May 2009

Running for Fitness

Was just sent this link through from Todd. Might appeal to you scientifically oriented trainers out there. I'm not really up with the play for this kind of stuff, so anyone that wants to do a more detailed review of the blog (go Tane!) feel free! Have also added new link to our links list for future reference


I have recently started using Attack Point again, and its great to see how the New Zealand community on here has grown. There is a wide age range now from junior to veteran. Plenty of activity from the women (as opposed to some other online orienteering communities) and some good mutual support going on.

When those of us who are really into improving our fitness and orienteering skills are so dispersed it is a great asset. I would encourage anyone, who has been on Attackpoint in the past, or is thinking about getting involved to do so...its easy....

WOC Squad Coach Runs over Bridge...

Not sure if its his philosophy, if he wants to scare people or if he believes that its better for your training, or maybe he is even protesting. Not sure what he would be protesting though, the commercialisation of running clothes, the lack of sponsorship for top orienteers (like that guy in France with the pole vault) or maybe its a public transport issue (the only thing that makes me think that is the bridge).

Regardless, that is Kenneth our WOC team coach, whose pasty white butt you see running away there. Maybe he is just celebrating the onset of summer!

Thanks Ross for the tip off, or maybe that should be for "butting in":-)...maybe someone who speaks the language could tell us the story!...

Tuesday, 19 May 2009

Norway WOC Maps online

Well at least the old ones...

Not sure of the wisdom of announcing the sprint location so far in advance...and having it in the middle of a big city that has probably been used for would be like NZ hosting the Sprint World champs on One Tree Hill...and there is nothing in the embargo to stop you passing through, ie going running and getting to know it without a map.

Is Norway really that small a country that it couldn't find anywhere more original?

Swiss Ball Work-Out

All the rage at the turn of the century, Swiss Balls work for some...

Maintenance Training (Having a Plan)

Ok, this is important. If you are going to Europe this year, or firing up for some other goal be it the National Secondary School Champs or World Masters Champs have a plan for after...and I don't mean the after party, I mean have a plan for when the event is done dusted, you and your mates have gone home and the post event lurgy sets in.

You need to rest but every year I see people loosing much of the fitness, and motivation, that they had due to prolonged spells of non training after goal events. A long term goal worth achieving, for you as an individual athlete making the most of your potential, is 3-5 seasons into the future.

In my opinion, a break should be more mental than physical...substitute the running miles for cycling or team sports, keep the short runs going, even if its only 20 minutes fartlek, and try something different. For example at the moment I am doing more rock climbing...great for core strength, for socialising and seeing some beautiful places and sun (if you do it outside).

I am interested in what other people have found works for them (feed those comments through!)but below is a rough program, to start one week after your goal event. And whatever you do just make sure you have a plan for afterwards!

Mon: bike 1 hour, recovery
Tues: 20 min fartlek/speed play, with focus on balance/jumping etc
Weds: team sport/something different, bike polo?
Thurs: bike 2 hours, preferably with others make it fun.
Fri: 20 min fartlek/spped play
Sat: walk/bike/run a long session, go explore somewhere new at a low intensity
Sun: Club orienteering, geez its been a while since I've done much of that!

Neil ends up on the Isle of Man

How appropriate is that! For a guy that looks, smells and oozes everything man to end up on the Isle of Man. Three months starting in June.

For those that are not quite sure where the isle of man is, check out this photo...

Imagine the hordes coming to see the manly orienteering guru..."he's over there in his turret".

Although I guess in reality Neil (and his lovely partner Karyn) may be in the servants (read estate managers) cottages out back...which look quite good, on a nice day...

Monday, 18 May 2009

Winter Classic

Hot off the press, NZ's premier blodslitet hard man, one man relay to be held in the urban jungle/jungle of Wellington. Te Aro 1:5000 sounds diabolical. The flyer is around and features a bloody banner, which will no doubt reflect reality.

To encourage people to come to Wellington for this wicked event, a show piece of NZ orienteering. I am going to organise some high quality sprint training on the Saturday...nothing too physically demanding of course...just some high speed start practises, pressure loops, that sort of thing. On a tour of the best maps I can get my hands on in Wellington. If I can arm twist anyone there may also be a talk on the seasons international orienteering experiences.

So mark that weekend down now.

Ross Sprinting

And more adventures from Ross. The first of a Danish Park Tour series with two 20 minute events. Ross currently second more here.

O Kansas

One of the better orienteering blogs around is O Kansas. It popped up on my google alert again this morning so I thought I would check it out and found this awesome training session from Jan Troeng. Check out O Kansas for more details...

Friday, 15 May 2009

Highway to the Danger Zone

I have been looking into the mental aspects of training lately. I think in Orienteering it is often over-looked as Navigation fills a large amount of your available "mental space". Like any sport, getting into the right frame of mind before a race is critical to your performance. And to make it all the more complicated everyone is different and requires a different approach. In my internet browsing travels I came across this article: Into the Danger Zone, an interview with Michael Johnson and his mental preparation before a race which reminded me of the movie Top Gun....

Off like Flynn

I caught up with Greg Flynn the other night and he has exciting plans for this orienteering season. Not one but two trips to Europe. Firstly to Finalnd and Norway for a month for some World Cups...then three weeks in Hungary for the World Champs. I asked Greg a couple of questions for public consumption....

Photo: Rob Crawford

How are you feeling about orienteering at the moment?

I'm loving it, loving the fact that I can actually run and not feel like a massive blob of lard running through the forest....I'm really enjoying my training, doing hard sessions that I haven't been able to do for years

And whats your plan between now and when you head overseas?

Train to my plan. a nice balance between quality sessions & building up some mileage

I'm thinking, good luck with it Greg and make the most of those chances! I'm also thinking while it is hugely motivating to see the improved performances of our top elites like Ross and Chris over in Europe. Its also great to see some others taking positive steps forward, creating new habits and making the most of the time and resources that they (and most of us reading this blog) pour into orienteering. Don't just accept your place in the pantheon of orienteers.

Thursday, 14 May 2009

Advice from Ross and Al...

Some interesting thoughts from Ross and Al on the JWOC Squad Blog...great to see some quality orienteering writing coming from the New Zealand juniors..and their fans :-)

From 8-9 I think you want to avoid 'bombing' straight down that steep slope. I have a feeling it's a lot steeper and rockier than what you'd expect to see in NZ. The track to the right is good (I think faster too). You can run hard and don't have to read your map much, and you don't risk breaking your ankle (or your neck).

Wednesday, 13 May 2009

Shall we do it?

News from Aussie Camp

JWOC Team Appeal Upheld

Wednesday, 13 May 2009

Orienteering Australia announced last night that an appeal against the selection of the JWOC team has been upheld. The Appeals Committee released the following public statement last night:

"The Selection Appeals Committee was asked to consider an appeal from Kurt Neumann following his non-selection in the 2009 JWOC team.

The appeal argued that the Selectors had inconsistently and incorrectly applied the selection criteria in a number of areas, namely:

* Individual day results against overall placing’s at Easter 2009;
* Performance in secondary criteria not being adequately considered;
* Prior experience on competition maps.

The Appeals Committee found that, whilst the selection criteria are open to some degree of interpretation, there appeared to be some inconsistencies in the application of those criteria to all candidates and that selections, not fully supported by selection criteria, appear to have been made. The Appeals Committee also found that some criteria were given little or no weighting when consideration of such may have assisted in separating candidates for selection.

For these reasons, the Appeals Committee has recommended to the OA Board that the appeal by Kurt Neumann be upheld on the grounds that the selection criteria have not been properly implemented."

The OA Board has convened a new selection panel to re-select the JWOC team. The panel is comprised of senior selectors, and is comprised of Paul Liggins, Sue Neve and Dave Shepherd. The revised team will be posted on this website shortly.

Alcohol and Injury

Maybe one of the Doctors, or nearly Doctors, can do a review of this research for us...

"Alcohol and the Athlete." Sports Medicine. 29(5):295-300, 2000. O'Brien, Conor P. 1; Lyons, Frank 2

I could only get access to the Abstract, but a couple of things to be aware of:

"It is suggested that alcohol related problems may be more prevalent in the athletic population due to their risk taking mentality

"Alcohol consumption also appears to have a causative effect in sports related injury, with an injury incidence of 54.8% in drinkers compared with 23.5% in nondrinkers (p < 0.005). This may be due in part to the hangover effect of alcohol consumption, which has been shown to reduce athletic performance by 11.4%."

Tuesday, 12 May 2009

The JedO Master

With no apparent sign of effort and complete disregard for the formbook, the flash returns to his throne at Nationals and claims a World Games spot!

Living the Dream or Not

So I've been thinking. Occasionally. Well seldomly but well. You know training is only half of it. The other half is living, and to be honest its this part that lets most of us down as athletes.

Theres reasons why elite squads in top sports often live in controlled situations. Close to their coaches and support structures. Think of David Tua in his ranch with his minders, the East Germans in their dormitorys and Murray Halberg and co down the road from Arthur Lydiard. Your lifestyle is key to your sporting performance. You need to eat well, sleep well, stay warm and healthy and stay inspired.

Think about it this way. Remember those days you just couldn't get off your butt to go training. It wasn't your training that let you down, you probably weren't really tired from the day before, or the race at the weekend. You were unmotivated because you hadn't recovered well, you possibly hadn't eaten well and because of this you lacked the motivation, the necessary chemicals to get out there.

A real dangerous time for losing the battle to "live well" is immediately after school. Athletes change into a much less regimented, much less supportive environment full of all sorts of influences that however fun they may be are negative to their sporting performance. Now I'm not making a judgement call on choosing to be influenced or under the influence, of these influences. I chose to be. I just want to make sure that you know what you are choosing.

Some of my posts over the next while will focus on this choice....

Monday, 11 May 2009

Thoughts on the Dolomites

Great posting from Tom over on the JWOC Squad blog. More terrain to make you whimper than dribble with delight, but how exciting! I think I'm due back in Europe pretty soon.

Introducing Marcus

Marcus is relatively new to navigation sports - yep, all of them: orienteering, rogaining, AR etc etc. With this in mind he will bring a different perspective to the OSQUAD blog, that of the rank beginner which could lead us to question our assumptions about navigation sports. Marcus feels more at home on topo maps which is where his background is. And topo maps are never wrong, it is always the navigator! Marcus lives in Rotorua is married and has one daughter now 15 months old. He is currently unfit - something to do with wanting to spend time with family instead of training - but Jamie has given him the hard word to get fit again. Will Jamie's advice be adhered to? Watch this space...

DNF at Zealand Championships

Read about the rocketmans latest adventures here

Hill Intervals

I can't help notice the proliferation in interval training on peoples Attack Point diaries, its great to see people building speed and strength for the Super Series final and international adventures!

Somebody asked me for advice on hill intervals the other day, but I'm not an expert, so I found the following video for you guys to think about to make sure you get your hill interval technique all sweet.

Saturday, 9 May 2009


Apparently, Tane is a quirky South Islander with a strange sense of humor. Born in Invercargill, grew up in Wanaka, went to school in Dunedin, University in Christchurch, and now looking for a job (full time training). He is progressively making his way up the South Island, the Greater Island of the two!

An avid reader of the O Squad Blog, he has now been sucked-into/asked-to contribute to provide another and more importantly an Orienteering perspective from the deep south.

Friday, 8 May 2009

TWALK Map: Leg 1

Courtesy of sneaky Smithsons attack point log

Apologies for the Profile! And Blog authors sought!

Hey, apologies for the profile but you can probably figure out the method behind the madness.

I am now on the warpath to find more contributors. The O Squad blog has been going from strength to strength readers wise, and it seems clear as mud that it provides occasional amusement to some if not many. A few more authors will only improve this as we get more regular postings, different perspectives and more specific news from around the country or possibly even the world.

It is also about legacy building. I want the O Squad blog to be around for long after I have passed away. I am thinking 2200 at the earliest.

The first new author will introduce himself very soon. A quirky south islander with a bizarre sense of humour he will no doubt contribute much.


One time DNF King and one time Coaching Coordinator of the New Zealand National Orienteering Squad (although these responsibilities were temporally located some time apart). Jamie is now a kept man living in Wellington who tries to train consistently and amuses himself by working on a variety of charitable projects and ridiculous schemes.

He founded the O Squad Blog to aid the spread of information through the New Zealand elite orienteering community, to provide motivation and amusement for many on those rainy shitty days when nothing else seems to be happening and to help all orienteers think of ideas to improve their physical and technical performance.

Thursday, 7 May 2009

Spot the Orienteers

WOC Your Body

Great to see the WOC Team named over the weekend, and expecting big things from this talented group.

Rita, with her awesome performances at Oceania and Nationals joins Tania in the Womens, again unfortunately there will not be a NZ Womens relay team. While in the blokes Bryn and Flynn will fight it out for the final relay team place having the sprint/long and middle respectively to push their case! Meanwhile Ross and Chris will be pushing for the elusive top twenties...or maybe higher??

Awesome stuff.

Wednesday, 6 May 2009

The good stuff.

Chris and Em report on Tio Mila

Media Coverage in Hawkes Bay

Coverage of the World Games selection on a Hawkes Bay website

Tuesday, 5 May 2009

Don't Forget your Core Strength

Even when fit and training well it is possible to neglect your core strength. This omission may lead to injuries, lack of strength in terrain and the development of a runners belly. The carefully chosen routine above should enable you to stay healthy, sidestep obstacles at will and impress with the post race shirt off.