Summer: Get Out and Run!

by Jim Steel

Steel says get out and run.

Summer is a time to get in shape. It a time to take a step out of the front door and go for a run. And that’s the key: taking the step out the door and just starting. Believe me, you can do it. I’m not talking about running a marathon, but a 10 to 30 minute run a few times a week.


Because it invigorates you in both body and soul.

How satisfying is it to get on an elliptical and watch television?

It isn’t. It feels like work to me, and exercise shouldn’t feel like work. If you are already running, great, keep it up. If you are just starting out, it’s easy to begin.

Let me relate my own story. I have been up and down in bodyweight over the years and in the late 90’s, I topped out at 312 pounds. I wanted to be a superheavyweight in powerlifting and at that bodyweight, I was a superheavyweight. After a few years at being heavy I knew that it was time to start dropping some pounds. Now I was out of shape. I mean just bending over to tie my shoes was a problem. I decided to start running, but I knew that I couldn’t run very far or very long, so what I did was start out slowly. I would run literally for 5 minutes, and then walk back to the house. The next day, I’d go a little longer. Eventually, with some dietary changes, and plenty of running, I was able to lose over 100 pounds in a year and a half. The furthest I ran was about 3 miles. Looking back, if I would have started out trying to run for a few miles, I would have never made it, might have gotten discouraged or even injured. Start slow and you’ll be fine.

Here are some tips on making this running thing work for you:

1. Avoid running around a track if you can. Find a trail to run that takes you by some water or into the woods. Find one that has some hills on it.

2. Go at your own pace. If you run with someone who is in better shape than you, and you realize this fact, don’t push so hard that you won’t finish your run. That’s what is important-finishing. Slow down if you have to and eventually you’ll get there.

3. Spend money on some good shoes. I know that barefoot running is “in” now, and I love the concept. But realistically, not many people have the desire to run barefoot. I would suggest going to a specialty running store and have them look at your feet, your build, and then help you decide on a shoe. If they can’t do that, find a place that can.

4. Vary your pace and your exercises. Sprint up the hills and glide down. Change your speeds, try some backwards running. Stop and shadowbox for a minute and then go back to running. The same thing over and over gets boring.

5. Don’t put pressure on yourself. If you only feel like running for a half mile, and that’s all the energy that you have, go for it. Want to run 5 miles to see if you can? Give it a shot. We are not trying to be professional runners here. What we are trying to do is perform an exercise that fits into an all-around training program, not one that crushes us. Again, have fun.

Give running a shot this summer- a few days a week along with some short sprints and your weight training will get you in great shape.

Be sure to check out Steel’s new book “Steel Reflections” available here. It is jam packed with good information and stories (though the photos are more of the serious type since I did not have creative input on the images). -JP


7 Responses

  1. Tom R

    Not only that, but barefoot running as well…….

    July 3, 2011 at 10:32 am

  2. Butch

    Great, simple advice for sure. I’m getting a lot out of the book “Steel Reflections” and will post a review when I’m done.

    July 3, 2011 at 12:22 pm

  3. sapper09

    Thanks for the encouragement, Steel. As always, it’s the simple stuff that’s easiest to overlook!

    Also, congratulations on finishing Steel Reflections – haven’t got it yet, but I’m looking forward to reading it.


    July 3, 2011 at 12:39 pm

  4. sapper09

    Good photo, by the way – looks like an Aussie cop in hot pursuit (Victorian, if I’m not mistaken…)

    July 3, 2011 at 12:42 pm

  5. Steel

    Thanks guys, I appreciate it. And I hope that you like the book. It has stories, routines, the whole deal.

    July 5, 2011 at 8:17 am

  6. Courage Wolf

    I second Sapper, Steel–great stuff. I’ve started mixing in running with my walks in the morning. I’ll alternate 1:00 walking with 1:00 running for 20-30 minutes. It’s good stuff, enough running to get the job done but not too much where I dread going out and doing it.

    July 7, 2011 at 7:00 pm

  7. Traci

    Great post Jim! I started running a few years ago, exactly like you said, 5 min at a time. I ran a 1/2 marathon last Sept. One comment, though. After 2 years of running in Asics I bought at Kohls’ for $50, I went to a “real” running store to get fitted. I spent $150 on the worst running shoes I ever had. Don’t get talked into shoes that don’t feel great on your feet. Expensive doesn’t always mean better.

    July 9, 2011 at 7:04 pm

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