On your first few events you will probably be doing fairly simple courses where the controls will be on paths, line features and other reasonably obvious features. In these cases the triangle on the map which signifies the Start often seems to point, not only at the first control, but also directly up the path you are facing as you start. Do not be fooled by this. Later, when you become more experienced and the courses become more complex you will find that the triangle doesn't always point straight up the path you're facing at the Start. It will always point directly at the first control though.
Each of the controls you need to visit is marked on the map with a red circle. These circles are joined by straight lines (as the crow flies) which are NOT always the fastest route as they can go through rough undergrowth, even through rivers and ponds. Always check your map and plan your route between controls. Try to look for features past your control on the map (called catching features) that you can use to stop yourself if you run past your control. Use your compass to check your direction, the map has lines with arrows going across it which show which way is North.
If you get lost, try to work out your position by studying your map. Failing that, ask someone who looks like they know where they are and who looks like they're not too worried about their finish time. It will probably take a few seconds to explain where you are, so try to be careful who you ask, most people will be happy to explain. Failing that, try to orient yourself towards the finish and retire.
If using the Sport Ident dibber system then at each control you 'dib' the SI box and wait for the beep. If there is no beep, then punch your map with the pin punch. If using control cards then the pin punch is used to punch the control card to prove that the runner has visited each control. They must be visited in the correct order otherwise it is considered a 'mispunch' and you are disqualified. However, if you dib control number 3 before control number 2, for example, you can dib control 2 and go back to control 3 and continue without being disqualified.