This morning’s session was about getting the feeling of nailing a course.
We rarely get the chance to repeat a course, to see how we might improve. Even in training people very rarely return to a leg that they got wrong to try to get it right. This implies that we are often coaching the experience of failure rather than success.
Today I planned 3 small loops in the dunes of Haverigg. These were about 1.1K long with 4/5 controls and were as technical as I could make them. Each runner put out a couple of controls as a warm-up before arriving at the start triangle. We discussed some of the techniques for running in sand dune areas before each runner set off at 2″ intervals on one of the courses. Their aim was to simply run this as well as they could. When they returned they downloaded to give us times to compare. After they had recovered, they ran the same course again, with the aim of still navigating, but trying different route choices or perfecting the one they used before. Not surprisingly, everyone did better, but on average they were something like 10-20% better! One runner went round a third time, and was slower because of fatigue, but only by 3′, so I think his routes execution was actually better.
Once everyone had done two loops, they had a go at a different loop, with varying degrees of success, probably due to fatigue. They collected controls in and we gathered at the Beach Cafe to discuss what had been learnt.
All agreed that the format was very worthwhile. With the JK approaching, all had a better idea of their strengths in terms of the type of route choice they should make. They also had a better idea of the types of errors that can be made in a dune area, but also now had some concrete evidence of what to do to alleviate these mistakes.
There was a general feeling that repeating legs in training was an excellent habit to get into.
The session was completed in 2 hours + 45″ in the cafe. No controls were hung beforehand and the planning/printing only took about an hour.
Pdfs of the courses used are attached here.