Why I Pushed ‘Too Far’ (and Will Never Regret It)

No U-Turn traffic sign in Bangkok, Thailand

This post is written by Doug Hay of Rock Creek Runner.

Have you ever had one of those conversations that just sticks with you? Where someone makes a comment you can’t let go?

It happened to me last summer, the day after I ran a 50-mile ultramarathon. I was sitting in my 93-year-old grandmother’s house telling her about the race, and I’ll never forget her reaction.

It wasn’t one of joy or amazement.

It was sadness.

Not sadness about the race itself — I’m sure she was proud of my accomplishment — but sadness about what I was doing.

She looked right at me and said, “I’m just so worried you’re taking it too far and will regret this one day.”

That’s not something you want to hear from your grandmother after a big race. Especially when it was only a training race for the main event: a 100-miler just a month later.

But that’s the way most people look at ultrarunning, or endurance running in general. They respond to your long run miles with:

“Aren’t you taking this a little too far?”

“You know that’s bad for you, right?”

“What’s wrong with you, man?”

Beware the Status Quo

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NMA Radio: All About Supplements!

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It seems to me that when it comes to supplements, most vegans fall into one of two camps:

  1. The “Eh, I’m probably getting everything I need from my food” camp, or
  2. The “Ahh! I need supplements and lots of them!” camp.

Until recently I was completely devoted to Camp 1 — supplements were the last thing on my mind. And as much as he might not like to admit it, I think Matt started out in Camp 2.

Over time, and after blood tests, we’ve both shifted our views to reflect a more moderate approach to supplements for plant-based athletes. We both take a few, find them to be useful in some situations, perhaps even necessary in others.

In today’s episode, it’s all about the supplements. What we take, which we recommend, and which can be avoided through a whole foods diet.

Here’s what we talk about in this episode:

  • Do vegan athletes need to supplement their protein?
  • Getting to the bottom of B12
  • Why vitamin D is such an issue
  • The problem with over-supplementation

Click the button below to listen now:

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7 Warning Signs Your Vegan Diet Won’t Last

You’re trying hard … but it’s getting harder.

Something compelled you to adopt a vegan diet — your health, the animals, the environment — and you dove in enthusiastically, sure that it would always feel this easy.

“This is the new me!” you thought to yourself, as you pictured health, energy, compassion, and a sense of oneness with the earth.

And for the first few days, maybe even a couple of weeks, it was interesting and new and fun.

But the novelty wore off — maybe it was a family gathering or an awkward conversation with friends — and now you’re wondering …

Is this really for me?

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NMA Radio: Staple Foods in the Vegan Athlete’s Pantry

glass jars with spices

Today it’s all about the staples: for a new vegan, it’s easy to find cookbooks and recipes that guide you through dinners, but what about a simple bowl of cereal, toast, or cup of tea?

With an increasingly large number of vegan substitutes available, it can feel like an overwhelming task to choose the healthiest ones. Not to mention making sure your favorite bread or pasta is actually 100% plant-based.

Inspired by a listener question, co-host Doug and I dig deep into our pantries and refrigerators to discuss the most common staples you’ll find in our vegan kitchens.

Here’s what we talk about in this episode:

  • Milk substitutes — what are the differences?
  • Eliminating the need for butter
  • Cooking with different oils (or none at all)
  • The spice dilemma
  • The nuts, seeds, and flours we keep in stock

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The Secret to Fulfillment: Untangle Your Happiness from Your Results

By now you know I’m a big advocate of setting crazy, unreasonable goals.

Big goals are how you generate the energy and excitement to actually make things happen. And for this reason, I believe you’re way more likely to achieve the “unrealistic” goal (that inspires you to no end) than you are the one that’s more modest (and therefore, not that exciting).

But a lot of people get stressed out when I talk this way.

Unrealistic? That means I’ll be chasing this goal that I might never get. And even if I do one day make it happen, it’s going to take a really long time and a whole lot of work.

I’m not mocking. Even those who have created massive change in their lives, people I really respect, sometimes question whether goals are a good idea at all.

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NMA Radio: The Most Important Daily Habits

Young female meditate in nature.Close-up image.

The easiest things to do are also the easiest things to not do.  — Jim Rohn

When most of us wake up each morning, we’re immediately faced with the perpetual list of to-dos. The whirlwind. Those urgent activities that demand your time: take the kids to school, answer emails, make phone calls, drive to work …

The problem is that often, we get so caught up in the urgent that we neglect the important.

What’s the difference? While the urgent activities need to be handled now, the important activities aren’t screaming to be done this minute. Nothing blows up if you don’t do them.

But the important hold tremendous power to shape our days positively. These are the habits that lead to physical and mental health. Happiness. Gratitude. Energy.

The crazy part? Most important habits take just a few minutes to complete, but still get brushed aside. Easy to do, but so easy to not do.

In today’s episode, Doug and I discuss our most important daily habits, why we fight so hard to keep them, and how you can establish beneficial habits of your own to start honoring the important.

Here’s what we talk about in this episode:

  • Why the morning is the best time for most habits
  • The one habit Matt values the most
  • Daily writing and brain dumps
  • Gentle movements as a way to fight aging
  • The power of visualization
  • Urgent versus important
  • How to establish your own important habits

Click the button below to listen now:

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Want to Go Vegan? A 30-Day Plan to Make the Transition (and Make It Last)

Young Woman Buying Vegetables at Grocery

Of all the changes I’ve made in my life over the past six years, none has had such a profoundly positive effect as the choice to become vegan.

This diet and lifestyle have changed me from the outside in: I expected the health benefits and to feel a boost in energy, and I got them. But I had no idea how the choice to put different foods into my body would improve my mindset, deepen my sense of compassion, and increase my willingness to take risks and march to the beat of my own drum. And if you’re vegan or even vegetarian, I bet you’ve experienced the same.

And if you’re not yet vegan? The very fact that you read a blog like this one makes it likely that you at least know where I’m coming from. Maybe you’d even like to become vegan, but have never quite been able to make it work.

In that case, let’s talk about what it takes to make the change — and just as importantly, to make it last.

The short version: I’m hosting a free live webinar this Wednesday night, August 19th, at 8pm EDT to answer that question in detail. In it, I’ll lay out a plan for you to make the transition to a vegan diet in the smartest way possible over the course of 30 days, and answer the most common questions about making it work. If you’re interested in going vegan, I hope you can make it.

So here are the three things I believe give you the biggest chance of succeeding in this diet change (assuming you’ve got your own compelling reasons for wanting to do so):

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2 New Tart Cherry Drinks for Optimal Workout Nutrition

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For the final post in this ambassador series with the Cherry Marketing Institute, I set out to solve a problem in deciding how best to incorporate tart cherries into my diet.

What problem, you ask?

Well, we know that tart cherry juice has been shown to reduce recovery time and inflammation in athletes, as well as help with sleep (which itself plays a big part in athletic recovery, of course).

But the apparent downside is that, like with typical fruit juices, most of the calories in tart cherry juice come from sugar. How can you get the benefits of tart cherries without adding too much sugar to your diet?

Turns out there’s an easy solution for athletes: drink tart cherry juice at the one time during the day when lots of sugar is precisely what your body needs. And this time, of course, is around workouts.

But how do we do it most effectively?

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