nordic walking is sport glaßerThere were times in the past when my relationship with sports activities was far from passionate: I have walked for many a year, but I was never particularly systematic or had any particular goal. As I write today though, I am about to take part in a sporting competition: the ‘10th Fichtelgebirgs Nordic Walking Marathon’, which will take place on 21 September 2013 in Gefrees. I can guess what some people are thinking. Don’t be fooled: if done correctly, Nordic walking is a sport – and a great sport at that!

Nordic walking: a tremendous endurance training

At this point, we should go back to the beginning: About eighteen months ago, I started to develop a passion for physical sport and started going to the gym on a regular basis. I felt, however, that cardio and fitness training were not enough. Luckily for me, it was at this point that the ‘Occupational Health Management’ team in Himmelkron were looking into Nordic walking options for the spring. They got in touch with the very active Gefrees ski club – who organise the marathon – and arranged for all employees to take part in the twice-weekly Nordic walking training sessions offered by the club. One evening of training was enough to convince me that Nordic walking was what I was looking for: the trainers on hand at the ski club were keen to set the record straight and dispel the myth that the sport is just ‘walking with sticks’– a common perception. If Nordic walking is done properly, it is actually an excellent form of cardiovascular exercise, but with one difference: in contrast to jogging or cycling, it also trains a large part of the upper body and arm muscles. As Nordic walking can be done at different intensities, it is suitable for almost all age groups and levels of fitness. I can only recommend that you all try it out for yourself with help from an expert instructor!

A fun marathon and some personal goals too

It’s fair to say I fell in love with Nordic walking straight away and soon decided to take part in the marathon. In fact this ‘marathon’ need not be an actual ‘marathon’, as the Gefrees ski club offers various distances; I myself plumped for a half marathon – there’s no need to get carried away, after all. ‘Our’ Nordic walking is generally less about brutal competition and peak performance and more about team spirit and having fun exercising with others in the great outdoors. That said, I do of course have my own aims: I want to complete the half-marathon distance at a decent average pace and in a reasonable time. I’m deliberately avoiding having any times in mind, as that seems futile given that I don’t know the challenging course and its numerous tricky inclines and slopes.

International team on the start line

MANN+HUMMEL in Himmelkron has its own aim: We would like to have a respectable team on the start line. The number of people registering suggests that we will be able to do that, especially as it looks like we will be gaining reinforcements from Ludwigsburg and the Czech Republic.