Steve Penn is a Lab Services Administrator (and mileage-maker extraordinaire) for Learn on Demand Systems.

We caught up with Steve after he ran away with an outstanding output in our second corporate challenge, Move-ember, to ask him five questions about his own fitness journey.

What’s your #1 tip for making time for activity?

Make it part of your daily routine/schedule. If you miss it, add lots of self-loathing (I kid). One idea is to run or walk with someone else that may need a little encouragement. I have a neighbor who is recovering from a heart condition. I pester him to get out and walk which helps him as well as me.

I also get a few miles in with my aging dog. She used to be a runner, but at 14 her running career is over and now she’s good for two to three miles.

Are you mostly running, hiking or do you split the mileage between activities? 

I’m doing about a 20 percent walk and 80 percent run. A year ago, I had a back injury and was unable to run at all. I attribute my walking to the relative quick recovery. I also think the walking I do with my dog and my neighbor is making a big impact on the distances I’m doing now. Walking should not be underestimated.

What’s your advice for somebody who would like to be more active on a regular basis?

A person really has to want to get fit, obviously. One thing that I do on the days where I don’t really feel it is employ the 10-minute rule. No matter what, go out for 10 minutes and get into your run/walk/whatever.

If after that 10 minutes you still aren’t feeling it, you can head back to the house. This one really works for me. It takes a few minutes to get things flowing and once the heart starts beating and the endorphins do their magic, there’s a good chance you’re not turning back.

How often do you need to purchase new shoes, putting in all those miles?

I run in minimalist shoes with none to very little padding. It’s a tad controversial and there are people on both sides of the fence, but it changed my running. I started doing it about eight years ago and I’ve had no leg or foot problems since.

I can get six to nine months out of a pair. If you are interested, there is a book called “Born to Run” by Christopher McDougall. It’s a good read even if you aren’t a runner. A person can’t do a quick swap from padded to unpadded shoes. It takes time, but it’s really worth it in my case.

What’s your favorite spot to explore?

Where I am now! I’m currently living in Germany and there are hundreds, if not thousands, of miles of trails that start 10 steps from my front door. There is a region called the Odenwald that is quite beautiful with farms, mountains and castles. My wife and I also like to do destination races where we travel to a race and then spend some time in the area as well as the race.

Steve and his wife exploring a castle in Germany. “No real dragons, but a squirrel did fall out of a tree and missed me by about five feet. He lost all of his cool squirrel points.”