10 Ways to Make Your Next Run an Adventure (Even in Your Neighborhood)

woman running on a mountain road at summer sunsetThis post was written by Doug Hay of Rock Creek Runner.

Quick: what are the most important personality traits for a runner to have?

If you’re like most people, you’ve probably come up with things like:

  • Discipline
  • Work ethic
  • Toughness
  • Motivation
  • Focus

Good list. They’re all relevant to training success. But if that’s your list, then you missed the biggest one.

I’m talking about a less obvious trait. One that incorporates everything listed above and more, and sits at the top of my list for traits of a good runner.


Allow me to explain:

To adventure, as defined by the good folks over at Google, is “to engage in a hazardous and exciting activity, especially the exploration of unknown territory.” Just reading that sends tingles of excitement down my spine.

An adventure is thrilling, so it takes care of the motivation and discipline. An adventure takes you out of your comfort zone, which leaves you focused and tough. An adventure is difficult, fun, and maybe even life-changing.

So why is a sense of adventure so important to running success? Because if you can keep the adventure high, everything else follows suit.

And an adventurous runner is someone I can count on to run in the rain, through the dark, when the streets are crowded or the trails remote.

They’re in it for the experience, not just the workout.

That’s what makes running stick. That’s what keeps you coming back for more.

I like to judge a run not by the pace or distance, but by the number of yelps and amount of time spent smiling.

Yelps mean I’m excited and pushing out of my comfort zone (and pushing my pace or distance in return). Smiles mean I’m having fun, and can’t wait to do it again.

All signs pointing towards adventure.

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Ray Cronise on Water Fasting and ‘Our Broken Plate’


“Ray Cronise saved my life. I’ve lost 100 pounds. I used to be fat and sick, and now I’m not fat and sick.”

– Penn Jillette, of Penn & Teller

Unless you’ve heard his other appearances on No Meat Athlete Radio, it’s likely Ray Cronise is the nutrition guru you’ve never heard of.

But that’s about to change, with Ray’s new book, Our Broken Plate, having smashed through its Kickstarter funding goal, thanks in large part to a video that opens with Penn Jillette’s glowing endorsement of Ray’s approach to health.

Of course, you probably have heard of Ray without realizing it. He appeared in Tim Ferriss’ smash-hit 4-Hour Body, where he was the guy who discovered cold stress as a tool for fat loss when he noticed a discrepancy between the number of calories Michael Phelps consumed in a day, and how many he burned through exercise.

And if you read the Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue for anything but the articles (that’s why I do!), then you probably know of Zero-G, the company Ray started with XPRIZE creator Peter Diamandis, whose weightlessness-inducing, parabolic-flight planes were used for an interesting if strange photo shoot last year. (And for the ladies and/or scientists in the audience, Stephen Hawking has taken a Zero-G flight, too.)

I’ve been fortunate to call Ray a friend for a few years since he turned his attention and considerable penchant for disruption towards nutrition, landing on a plant-based diet as the optimal one for long-term health. And in several multi-hour phone conversations we’ve had over the years, I’ve come to believe that Ray has a deeper understanding of nutrition than anyone else I know.

It was my pleasure to have Ray as a No Meat Athlete Radio guest for a third time, for an often-contrarian and always extremely interesting conversation about food, nutrition, and how most people screw them up.

Here’s just some of what we talk about in this episode:

  • Ray’s 24-day water fast (and should we all be fasting?)
  • The “metabolic winter” — how modern comforts sabotage our health
  • Why people run so that they can eat, when animals eat so that they can run
  • Ray’s work with Penn Jillette
  • Protein!
  • The Our Broken Plate Kickstarter campaign

Click the button below to listen now:

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5 Food Habits to Reset Your Health

Preparing vegetables

Cotton candy. Newman O’s. Vegan pigs in a blanket.

If you somehow got the idea that my family and I never eat junk food, think again.

Granted, it’s not what we usually do. But during the summer ordeal that saw us sleeping on friends’ floors for two months after our house flooded, we let our healthy habits slip, often resorting to takeout for dinner and junk food for snacks.

Fortunately though, after a month in our new home, things are back to normal. We’ve hit the reset button on our habits. And we feel great about it.

Everyone knows the feeling of getting off track when life gets stressful. So how do you reset?

In today’s episode, I share the five food habits we changed first to get back on track, and Doug and I talk about how to orchestrate your own health reset before heading into the holidays.

Here’s just some of what we talk about in this episode:

  • Why now is a good time to think about your diet habits
  • Smoothies … good or bad?
  • The key to making sure you eat your salad
  • Quick tricks for reducing oil intake
  • My go-to healthy snack
  • How to cook with a busy schedule

Click the button below to listen now:

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Meals on the Run: Pasta with Avocado Sauce and High-Protein Chocolate Pudding

Today I’m excited to share two delicious vegan recipes from a new Runner’s World cookbook, both for dishes I had the pleasure of eating when I visited RW headquarters last month for their half marathon and race festival.

But first, an announcement …

That’s right: the Kindle version of my book, No Meat Athlete, was selected as a Kindle Holiday Deal for November, which means all month long, instead of the usual 10 bucks, it’s just $2.99!

This also means — aside from Oprah surely blowing up my slide-out keyboard LG phone soon — that you or someone you love can read it now and go into the holidays with a full head of healthy-eating-and-habit-change steam. And even if you don’t own a Kindle, you can still read via the Kindle app on any smartphone or tablet. You can’t read it on a slide-out keyboard LG phone, sadly.

To get the deal, check it out in the Kindle store, where you can get more details, see ratings, and read reviews. (Right now it’s #1 in both the Running & Jogging and Vegetarian categories!)

Most people who read my blog already own the book, I know, but if there’s a friend you can recommend it to while it’s so cheap, I’d really appreciate it. Thanks!

Meals on the Run

rw-pasta (1)

Want another idea for a gift you can feel good about giving? Runner’s World Meals on the Run, edited by Joanna Sayago Golub, is the “30 minutes or less” followup to The Runner’s World Cookbook (which coincidentally was released on the same day as my book, back in 2013), and I’ve got two recipes to share from it today.

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How to Start Your Movement

Microphone in focus against unrecognizable crowd of people

Even since the early days of starting No Meat Athlete, I’ve gotten a good number of requests for advice about how to start a blog or podcast. Or, more generally, about how to turn your passion into something that allows you to do it for a living.

This stuff is incredibly meaningful to me because of the impact it has had on my life, but I’ve never written or talked about it on No Meat Athlete. “Starting a business” certainly isn’t what this movement is all about, and doesn’t really fit with the other content here.

But today, inspired by a listener question, Doug and I are breaking from that rule. What this question (about starting a business around environmentalism) made me realize is that even though blog and podcast advice is a bit off-topic here, if that advice can help other people start movements that promote health, sustainability, or plant-based diets, then so much the better.

So here you have it: an episode all about how you can turn your ideas and passions into a movement or business through the internet.

Here’s just some of what we talk about in this episode:

  • Should you start a blog or podcast?
  • Why you have to pick yourself
  • How No Meat Athlete became more than just a blog
  • Why writing “for everybody” is like writing for nobody
  • How to handle criticism (because if you’re doing something attention-worthy, it’s going to happen)

Click the button below to listen now:

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Runner’s World, Deena Kastor, and How to Choose Between the Things You Love


Last weekend, the Runner’s World Half and Festival was held in Bethlehem, PA, and Doug and I were lucky enough to be invited back for a second straight year. It was sponsored again by Altra, whose co-founder, Golden Harper, was a guest on NMA radio last year.

Just as before, the races, people, and events were a total blast. It was re-energizing to run with blogger friends, inspiring to hang around the Runner’s World crew and tour their headquarters, and entertaining to be hosted by the Mayor of Running himself, Bart Yasso.

But the event that stood out most for me wasn’t any of the races or the tour of Runner’s World, but instead the lunch chat we had with Deena Kastor.

For those who don’t know Deena, she’s arguably the most accomplished American female marathoner, and the American women’s record-holder for the marathon with a 2:19:36. Most, though, know her from her role in the documentary Spirit of the Marathon (which I used to watch on the eve of every marathon I ran).

During Deena’s time with our group, she talked mostly about the mental side of running, but also touched on her struggle to balance a career as an elite runner and the responsibilities of being a mother (to which she has, fortunately, found a resolution).

It’s a topic that hit home for me, as I’m still figuring out exactly the right balance among being the best father I can be for my two young children, running a business, and achieving my fitness goals. So in today’s episode, Doug and I decided to share our own thoughts on the topic, and how we attempt to navigate the constant give-and-take between the things we love.

Here’s just some of what we talk about in this episode:

  • Our favorite moments from the Runner’s World Half and Festival
  • Deena Kastor on running with your brain
  • The question that immediately made Deena cry
  • Is it possible to be a great parent, partner, or friend, and still do the things you love?
  • Why it’s so important to involve your partner in your training

Click the button below to listen now:

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On Bouncing Back

On the night of June 29th, I packed my suitcase for what was supposed to be just 10 days in Italy.

We would be spending some time with family before and after the trip, but we could do laundry there. So I needed only 10 days’ worth of clothes, my running shoes, my Kindle, and my computer. My wife, Erin, packed her suitcase and our kids’ similarly.

What we never could have guessed was that come October — more than three months after we left home — we’d still be living out of those same suitcases. Or that that night at the end of June would be the last we’d ever spend in our house.

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NMA Radio: How to Run Farther

Marathon running

Last week’s episode of No Meat Athlete Radio was all about running faster. This week we’re exploring the other big improvement runners desire: running farther.

Let’s face it, a new distance is intimidating. Each new mile is uncharted territory.

Do you need to eat or drink more while on the run? How do you keep from getting bored? And how on Earth do you make time for all the training?

In today’s episode, we answer those common questions and a whole lot more to help you run farther than you’ve ever run before.

Here’s just some of what we talk about in this episode:

  • Can you train to run faster and farther at the same time?
  • The first step in increasing distance (which has nothing to do with distance)
  • How to approach nutrition and hydration
  • Boredom and mental fatigue while running
  • Why you should consider taking walk breaks

Click the button below to listen now:

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