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Tania
It’s just before midnight. It’s cold. I’m still recovering from a cold. I’ve been up since 4.15am. I’ve spent a good portion of my day on my feet or running around. I would love to be in bed right now. But I’m not. I’m leaning over a barrier, reaching for high fives from people I don’t know. I’m clapping and cheering to hopefully give people a last burst of energy to make it down that finishing chute before the clock strikes 12. No, they’re not going to turn into pumpkins if they don’t make it. They just won’t make that exclusive list of Ironman finishers.

stu-run-ironman2I just witnessed my fiancée take the journey from 70.3 to Ironman finisher. In fact, he was standing on the road and I had to give him the final push (my seal of approval) before he committed to making the journey happen. It’s definitely not for the faint of heart. Nor is it something you should attempt without first getting buy-in from your nearest and dearest. Yes, the day is hard slog. But that’s nothing compared to the nine months prior.

There is some real magic in the air in Taupo, and it’s just on steroids for Ironman weekend. The nerves are almost palpable. The day starts with a local group of men emerging from the lake on their waka and doing a haka to pump up the crowd. The mass swim start fills the lake with limbs and water spray. There are intense sights like the guy cycling past holding his seat, not prepared to give up and not able to sit down to let his quads rest. The very vocal Iron Maori supporters. The slight smiles on exhausted faces when you cheer on someone using their name. The guy with the ukulele, sitting in the dark, playing Bob Marley for those still pounding the pavement on their marathon after the sun has set.

But back to the finish line. Setting out to complete something as massive as an Ironman is such an incredible goal. It’s a long journey for everyone taking up the challenge and that journey is filled with many, many hours in the pool, out on the bike and in your running shoes. I am so, so proud of everyone who was brave enough to state it as a goal; to enter the event; to make it to the start line; to keep pushing to make all those cut-off times; to make it to each Transition; to cross that finish line; to be an IRONMAN. You are all such an inspiration to me. Even though I won’t be joining your ranks, you inspire me to set and smash my own goals. And a special thank you to Stu for taking me on this incredible journey with you.
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Stu, Tania

It’s summer, finally. Sort of. Most of us are back at work now, full of food, good intentions and a few too many celebratory wines or beers. This time of year is one of New Year’s Resolutions, which often come with new gym memberships. It’s also the perfect time of year to build new habits and make the most of the beautiful country we live in. Whether you’re city based, in the country or near the ocean, strapping on a pair of running shoes and getting outside is not only a great way to get fit and smash your resolutions, it allows you to see your neighbourhood from a new perspective. Not to mention the wonders that fresh air does for your mind. You can’t get that sweating away in some over air-conditioned gym filled with other New Year’s Resolution makers!

Some tips for running in your area:

1. Get to know your area. Get onto old Google Maps and find your nearest park, put your shoes on and get out there to familiarise yourself with it. Some parks have trails, fitness equipment, hills and great grassy areas where you can do core strength exercises, sprints, run drills. Or just get to know some of the streets in your neighbourhood.

2. Close proximity is key. This can help with motivation and ease of access. Being able to head straight out from the office can help prevent that dip in motivation that occurs when we walk in the door after a long day to spy the couch and the TV remote. It will also help you process everything that happened at work so that you can come home and be more present with your family and friends.

3. Know what works for you. Maybe you run best on your own. Maybe you need a buddy to help keep you motivated. Maybe you need a run group to learn from. There are lots of different types of running groups out the re – big, small, boot camp, technique focused and many more. Get in touch with the coach or organiser and ask for a complimentary trial session. This way you can see if it’s for you or not. And if it isn’t – find another group!

4. Variety is the spice of life: Make sure you try a few different running routes in your area. This is really important to keep your motivation levels up. Running the same route every time can become boring, the brain switches off and injury can creep in. Try running the same route in the opposite direction even. It is amazing what you see from a different angle sometimes.

5. Have a goal. It doesn’t have to be to run up Everest or to run a marathon. Although there’s nothing wrong with those goals, it does help if you can break them down into smaller, more manageable steps. Want to complete a full marathon? Maybe book in a half marathon first. Or even a 5k or 10k race. Make an action plan for the year, that’s realistic for you to stick to, and you’ll be running down that finishing chute in no time.

Summer is definitely the perfect time to build up those good habits for when winter creeps in and can start eating away at your motivation. Go on, get outside, enjoy your local area and get fit!
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Stu
Building on the last couple of weeks, Stu is going to show you the High Knees Skip to help improve your running gait. Want to know more about how to use this running drill? Come along and check out the Wellness Room Run Squad on Monday nights.
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