Ron Marinucci January Column: "Book Review- Get Your Butt Out the Door"
by Ron Marinucci, Dec. 22, 2020
Even veteran runners know sometimes we need a little boost to get out there and run. In his new book, Get Your Butt Out the Door, Randy Step offers some help for us when we are, perhaps, not motivated as much as we’d like.
A self-described “obsessed runner,” (“I’m about as obsessed with running now as I’ve ever been.”), Step does his best to make us “obsessive,” too, if we’re not already. He has the credentials. He’s been running for 40 years and finished more than 70 marathons while completing the Kona Ironman Championships twice. The chain of Running Fit specialty stores is his creation. And he writes a brief running e-newsletter mailed out several times a month. When it comes to running, Step knows of what he speaks and writes.
Get Your Butt Out the Door is a collection of 365 daily words of wisdom, motivation, and even chuckles. Step often combines truth with humor. Starting on January 1, there is an entry for each day/date of the year. (Leap Day is combined with February 28.) Readers can do as I did, sit down and pore through it in a couple nights. Or they can read it daily or weekly, using Step’s words as instant motivation or part of a way to follow a running plan (one motivation tool he suggests).
Much of what he writes comes from personal experiences. But he includes others’ stories as well. We’ve heard or read some of these before: set a goal, target a race, find running partners. There is more, though.
Running, he admits, involves “hard choices.” Runners will nod at one example he uses. We’ve all faced the decision of whether to stay under the covers in a warm bed or getting out to brave the snow and cold of winter. Making the right choices brings, he notes, their own rewards. There are reasons to do so, that is, to run. He reminds us of why it is good that we run.
We “run or grow old and moldy,” he quips. We get out there to escape, “to run away from politics” and other trials of daily life. Running helps us to sort through things, to cope with the complexities of our lives. There are many meaningful tips we can use to push us out the door and to be grateful afterward that we did.
Step has been there with us. Running, he notes, isn’t always a bed of roses. “Some days just suck.” Rather than allowing them to beat us down, he insists we can use these “ugly days” to make tomorrow’s run better.
To help through tough runs, he suggests “counting them double” in your log book. “Make your own rules.” He justifies this with, “Their run is their run and our run is ours.”
Sometimes he asks questions that make us smile and draw us closer to our running, that is, pushing us “out the door.” “Why is it so hard to head out for a run in the rain, but such a fun and free felling [sic] when we are out running and get caught in the rain?” Yeah, why is that?
Several entries seemed aimed at me. He addresses “When the run is no longer fun.” OK, that wasn’t my running this fall, but my biking. Riding seemed like a chore, almost a job. I followed his advice, on my own and before reading his book, putting my bike on the rack in October, weeks before I usually do. I was happy to see he recommended two of my favorite running novels, both by John Parker, as sources of motivation. And grabbing my attention was “Drink beer.”
Along the way, Step offers more than just fresh and quippy suggestions. There are safety tips, such as running in extreme weather and at night, which can be used as excuses not to run as well as dangerous. He allows us and urges it to back off if our running just doesn’t feel right or we get a worrisome ache or pain. And readers will learn things, too. I’ll bet most of them don’t know what “compression of morbidity” is.
Yes, there is repetition, by design. Step far more than once writes, “Again, the important stuff gets repeated.”
Get Your Butt Out the Door would be a welcome last-minute or belated Christmas present for the runner on your list. It would also be a nice surprise for someone, even you, heading into the 2021 running year. I don’t think anybody will be disappointed.