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Blog: The Fitness Zone

You're never too old or too fat to uncover the competitor within. The Nelson Mail's Peter Gibbs helps readers to overcome their fears and discover the pleasures and benefits of being fit.

Runner reaps the rewards

05:00am 20 Jun 2014


My first few years of running were like an infatuation. I couldn't get enough of it - I'd be at every harrier club run in the winter and every pub run in the summer.

Training was no chore - I looked forward to it. When I wasn't running I'd take every opportunity to read about it.

That wasn't easy, in the mid-80s there didn't seem to be many books about running.

In those days, one bought running gear at Taylor's Footwear in Richmond, or Athletic Attic in Hardy St. The Nelson shop was then owned by Robbie and Margaret Johnston, who soon changed its name to Athleisure as they broke away from the franchise.

In that shop, I found a book which was to become my bible. The New Zealand Road to Fitness, written by Hawke's Bay physiotherapist John Wheeler and published in 1984, was an inspirational book that talked enthusiastically about the joys of running, then in later chapters went into some detail about injuries and how to deal with them.

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Warming up for summer racing

05:00am 12 Jun 2014

The competitive sea swimming boom shows no sign of abating.

There's no active sea swimming going on right now, but the symptoms are there if you duck into your local swimming pool.

At most times of day, the pools are getting good use from both dedicated sea swimmers and recreational users getting some healthy exercise.

There's a condensed version at Riverside Pool early on Saturday mornings, when triathletes and sea swimmers take up four lanes for a two-hour session. Last weekend, 40 swimmers were there - quite a squeeze.

The other lanes were taken by teen swimmers from the Nelson South club, so close to 60 highly proficient swimmers were making waves at the same time.

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Teenage racers make their mark

05:00am 06 Jun 2014


One impressive aspect of the recent Shoe Clinic Mountainbike Duathlon Series was the huge pool of teenagers who are coming up through the ranks.

We're not talking here about kids just finishing in the top half of races - during the last series competitors as young as 13 were winning the short series against very fast adults.

In the long series, teens from 16-18 were filling most of the top five places against athletes with national titles against their names.

It'll be interesting to see how the next wave of multi-discipline athletes aged 5-13 do in Sunday's Sport Tasman Kids Duathlons over short versions of the same courses.

In these races, kids will compete on run and bike courses from a few hundred metres upwards.

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How about a spot of torture just for fun?

05:00am 30 May 2014


Noticed any well-built Greek soldiers walking around Nelson lately?

What am I talking about?

Apparently, when the cast of the 2007 movie 300 were training for their portrayal of the battle of Thermopylae, they were put on a rigorous training schedule, resulting in 300 soldiers with very impressive physiques, who were able to overcome a Persian army of thousands.

Members of Migym in Bridge St have been challenged to undertake the same schedule during May, June and July.

As well as the daunting challenge undertaken by the movie cast, Migym has adapted the challenge with two lower levels, so participants can build, improving their times on the easier levels before stepping up.

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Competition not a dirty word

05:00am 23 May 2014


It's not the winning that counts, it's the taking part.

Yeah right.

I blame my generation of parents for being so PC that they didn't want anyone to come second (or last). In doing so, they created a whole generation with a sense of entitlement that they would never have sand kicked in their face (an allusion familiar to an older generation).

I had to teach my own children not to feel guilty about their achievements, although they seem to pretty well have the hang of it now.

It's wired into our human system that we're competitive. It's a survival instinct - to deny it is to somehow miss the point of being alive.

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