The influence of surface on the running velocities of elite and amateur orienteer athletes

K. Hébert-Losier, K. Jensen, L. Mourot, H. C. Holmberg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


We compared the reduction in running velocities from road to off-road terrain in eight elite and eight amateur male orienteer athletes to investigate whether this factor differentiates elite from amateur athletes. On two separate days, each subject ran three 2-km time trials and three 20-m sprints "all-out" on a road, on a path, and in a forest. On a third day, the running economy and maximal aerobic power of individuals were assessed on a treadmill. The elite orienteer ran faster than the amateur on all three surfaces and at both distances, in line with their better running economy and aerobic power. In the forest, the elites ran at a slightly higher percentage of their 2-km (∼3%) and 20-m (∼4%) road velocities. Although these differences did not exhibit traditional statistical significance, magnitude-based inferences suggested likely meaningful differences, particularly during 20-m sprinting. Of course, cognitive, mental, and physical attributes other than the ability to run on different surfaces are required for excellence in orienteering (e.g., a high aerobic power). However, we suggest that athlete-specific assessment of running performance on various surfaces and distances might assist in tailoring training and identifying individual strengths and/or weaknesses in an orienteer.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)e448-e455
JournalScandinavian Journal of Medicine and Science in Sports
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • Athletic performance
  • Field testing
  • Foot orienteering
  • Off-road
  • Sport surface
  • Sprint
  • Time trial

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation

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