Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Post-race analysis

Making the wrong route choice on a long leg of a long distance race can lose you minutes, and finding that route can sometimes be a struggle while you are running the race.  One thing I have often been told is to take a couple seconds to decide exactly how I am going to run it before heading off.  Even if I use 20 seconds to make a decision it could save 5 minutes on the leg in total, making the 20 seconds worth it.

Another thing which is important to help avoid mistakes on future races is post-race analysis.  A couple weekends ago I had a short-ish long with a number of kilometer long legs, some of which went well, and other which could have gone better.

This shows where I went in red, and two alternative routes in blue and green.  This leg went alright, although upon later reflection, it may have been better to go further up the hill on the green or blue route.  My route had me crossing many streams, which means steep gulleys right around the streams.  I ended up crossing 3 of them, while going over the top would have meant crossing none.  There was also a better attack point over the top coming down a well defined marsh.  I had no issues attacking the control from the angle I came at it from, but I could have had.  Even though my route choice went well, I could have chosen a better one.

This control was my big mess up on the course.  I ended up becoming unclear as to where I was and curved away from my bearing, leading to a parallel error.  The red route shows where I ran.  The green route shows where I wanted to run.  Although there were features to check off for the first bit of the leg, the end was more of a vague bearing into the control, with no definite attack point.  It would have been a lot better to run down to the trail and up the long marsh into the control.  Although it would have meant more contours to climb, there would have been a clearer attack point and less hesitant running to stay on track over the whole leg.

Regardless of whether you just ran a sprint, middle or long, or even just finished a training session, it is a good idea to look over your map and route choices once you've caught your breath.  The more you do so, the quicker you get at choosing the right route while running and the less likely you are to make the wrong or less optimal choice.  And on long legs during races, even if you are feeling the pressure of time, try to force yourself to take a few seconds to evaluate the different route choices.  It could save you minutes in the end!

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