Vary your training A lot of the running is not on paths, but over rough ground, and up and down hills, says orienteering world champion Graham Gristwood: "So work on strengthening your legs with resistance exercise, and vary the intensity of your cardio work with interval training, taking in hills where you can."
Hone your map skills Running and map reading simultaneously is tough, "so take the maximum amount of information from the map each time you look at it", Gristwood says. "It should always be orientated in the direction you're running, using a compass, and you should stay 'in contact' with your map, looking at it every 10 seconds or so, and keeping your thumb over your current position."
Throw a ball Good balance is very important for staying upright over rough terrain. "A great exercise is to throw a medicine - weighted - ball between you and a friend while standing on one leg, throwing it out to the sides of each other."
Analyse that "Post-race analysis is one of the key tools for improving," Gristwood says. "Mark your route on the map, then analyse where you did well, where you could have done better, and why. And talk to others about their route."
Slow down The best orienteers are good runners, but it doesn't always work the other way around, Gristwood says. "Take it easy when you're new to the sport - make clear, calm decisions and run only as fast as you can orienteer."
Look around Your compass is essential, "but also learn to navigate without it by looking at the features of the land - it's a vital skill, and you never know when your compass might break."