No, not a “quick-and-easy” guide. Not some run-26.2-miles-without-getting-off-the-couch gimmick.
We both know you’re not afraid to put the sweat in. If it didn’t take some serious preparation, then running a marathon wouldn’t be so freaking cool, would it?
But a spreadsheet with a few mileage numbers isn’t going to cut it — there’s so much more you’ve got to pay attention to if you don’t want to waste your time and risk hurting yourself. (And by the way, blindly following one of those freebies is exactly how I ended up with a stress fracture when I first tried to train for a marathon, ten years ago.)
How about a first marathon guide — or better, a system — that’s built just for people like you, who aren’t afraid to work hard and know that eating meat isn’t a prerequisite for doing some pretty kick-ass stuff with your life?
-Rich Roll, author of Finding Ultra and one of Men’s Fitness Magazine’s “25 Fittest Guys in the World” in 2009
The Vegetarian Guide to Your First Marathon
I could have seriously used something like this back when I was training for my first few marathons (super-enthusiastic and optimistic, but always feeling frustrated by injuries and desperately trying all different workouts and diets to figure out what it took).
So about a year and a half ago, when I ran my sub-3:10 Boston-qualifying marathon, a full 100 minutes faster than my first marathon (that’s an improvement of almost four minutes per mile), I got the idea to put this “Roadmap” together to help out others who are in the same spot I was.
If I was starting from scratch, what would I make absolutely certain to do? How would I train to avoid those frustrating injury setbacks? What would I eat every day that would give me the most energy and help me recover quickly?
You don’t need to be a super-athlete to do this
(By the way, I apologize if this page gets a little bit long. I want to make sure you’ve got all the information you need, plus we’ve gotten about nine inches of rain in the past few days, so I’ve got nowhere better to be.)
If you’ve been reading my stuff online for awhile now, you know that I like to keep running and food pretty simple. If your goal is to make the Olympics, then maybe it makes sense to count every calorie you eat and have a computer analyzing all your biofeedback.
Believe me, I tried just about everything when I was training to qualify for Boston. But for someone who wants to run their first marathon – someone with a job, maybe a family, and not nearly enough time for all the other great things besides running that you’re interested in – worrying about all those extra details makes running your first marathon overwhelming.
What I’ve learned is that it’s not about restrictive diet plans, expensive supplements, fancy gadgets or fifty-plus mile training weeks (at least, not for your first marathon). Instead, it’s about showing up to run, week after week, consistently and intelligently, and giving your body the food and care it needs to recover for the next one. Pretty simple, right?
No calorie-and-biofeedback-tracking iPhone app required. (In fact, that would drive me crazy enough to quit.)
The main problem you’re probably facing is overwhelm. There’s so much stuff out there, some of it good and some of it lousy. Maybe you’ve got a nice approach to vegetarian or vegan nutrition and some favorite recipes, but what changes do you have to make for marathon training? And for that training, what’s really necessary? What parts can you throw away, to save yourself the extra time and wear and tear on your body?
I will never forget the day I found No Meat Athlete and the Marathon Roadmap! I decided to finally reach for my lifelong goal of running a marathon, and I remember thinking “Wow, someone out there actually wrote a book about exactly what I want to do?? This is meant to be!”
After I downloaded the Marathon Roadmap, I read it cover to cover in one sitting! I took lots of notes, wrote my goals, and followed the nutrition and running plans just like Matt explained. Six months later, I ran a full 26.2 miles!
I still can’t believe I actually did it, or that I actually ENJOYED it! Not only has the Marathon Roadmap been an amazing guide for finishing my marathon healthy and injury-free, but it has been my gateway into a lifestyle of health, fitness, and confidence that I used to think was reserved for a select few. A few years ago, I couldn’t even run one mile … The Marathon Roadmap helped me go the distance, and if it worked for me, it can work for anyone!
-Wendy Fry, Rock ‘n’ Roll Savannah Marathon finisher
*Note: Wendy now works for No Meat Athlete, bringing her enthusiasm and knowledge to help to manage our Community site. But she used the Roadmap and wrote this (unpaid) testimonial long before she started working at No Meat Athlete.
Thanks Matt for guiding me to my first marathon! The challenging course of Cape Cod couldn’t have been tackled without you. Having only been running for 18 months and a plant based diet for 8 months, your book fit perfectly into my training. From warm ups and stretches to stories of no meat athletes, meal plans, and of course workouts, you have covered it all!I never thought I could run a marathon and the Roadmap is what did it for me. It was challenging and it worked.
-Tom Giammalvo, 3:48:10 in Cape Cod Marathon
What’s included with the system
Here’s what you get when you download the Marathon Roadmap program:
The 117-page Marathon Roadmap Guide
The main guidebook features 4 main sections and covers all the details you’ll need to know:
- The mental game — setting your goal, choosing the right race, and a simple trick that virtually guarantees you’ll stay committed
- Smart training — how to properly build up the mileage and the fitness you’ll need to feel confident at the start line, while minimizing the chances of an injury
- The vegetarian marathon training diet — the foods you should eat to ensure that your plant-based diet is an advantage, not a hindrance (with special emphasis on what to eat before, during, and after your workouts)
- Conquering the race itself — every last detail you need to know about what you should be doing in the crucial days leading up to the marathon, including a comprehensive race walkthrough, so that you’ll know what to expect at every mile
The 26.2-Mile Training Plan
- An 18-week program shows you exactly what to do for every workout, so there’s no confusion about what to do on what day
- An optional 6-week base-building plan to help you safely build your weekly mileage before you start, if you need to
- 5 types of running workouts train different systems to ensure all-around fitness, so you won’t “just barely” cross the finish line
- Built-in recovery days and weeks prevent injuries by giving your muscles time to rebuild (and you a chance to relax)
- 3-week taper period ensures you’ll arrive at the start line feeling fresh, light, and ready for the day you’ll remember for the rest of your life
- Guidelines for adjusting the plan to meet your particular fitness needs
Worksheets, shopping lists, and race checklists
Printer-friendly sheets you can print off to fill out, bring to the store, or travel with to your race:
- A goal-setting worksheet, with three steps to truly commit yourself to follow through
- Three shopping lists: one for each week of the meal plan and a general list of staples you’ll want to have on hand, so you won’t be caught without ingredients for dinner
- A checklist of what to pack if you’re traveling to race (trust me, you don’t want to realize on race day morning that you forgot your running socks)
- A checklist of what you’ll need to bring to the race itself or give to your spectators
BONUS: 6 audio interviews with plant-based endurance experts!
Given the drastic difference between my first marathon and my more recent ones, I like to think I have a pretty good handle on what works and what doesn’t. But I’m only one guy. And that’s why I want to give you even more to learn from – six audio MP3’s totaling four hours, where you’ll get spot-on advice from vegetarians and vegans who are achieving incredible things in the endurance sports world. When you download the Marathon Roadmap now, you’ll get instant access to my interviews with these amazing vegan and vegetarian athletes, which you can download to your iPod or burn onto CD’s and learn from their experiences and expertise while you run or drive to work:
Brendan Brazier, former professional Ironman triathlete, author of Thrive: The Vegan Guide to Optimal Performance in Sports and Life and Thrive Fitness: The Vegan-Based Training Program for Maximum Strength, Health, and Fitness:
- Why a plant-based diet is optimal for recovery, and the best foods for marathon training
- The problem with whey protein powder, and some better alternatives
- Why you need to make sure you don’t become a “starchitarian”
- How better nutrition can give you more time in your day
- How strength training can improve your running efficiency
- The three most important supplements that make training and recovery more effective
Matt Ruscigno, vegan Registered Dietitian who worked with Veganomicon author Isa Chandra Moscowitz on her most recent book, Appetite for Reduction, and has completed the Furnace Creek 508, a 508-mile solo bike race through Death Valley, three times:
- The protein-carb-fat ratio that Matt recommends to his athlete clients
- Three reasons dietary fat is not to be feared
- The one time of day when athletes MUST eat
- Three steps to successfully transition to a vegetarian diet
- How much protein you REALLY need
- A ridiculously simple approach to getting enough protein
- The nutrition mistake a lot of first-time marathoners make during their training
Richard Roll, vegan ultra-endurance athlete named one of 2009’s “25 Fittest Guys in the World” by Men’s Fitness Magazine, placed highly in 2008 and 2009 Ultraman World Championships and completed 5 Ironman-distance triathlons in under a week, author of Finding Ultra:
- How he went vegan and became the amazing endurance athlete that he is AFTER the age of 40
- The best investment you can make for your marathon training
- The mistakes that made his first marathon a “grim experience”
- The most common pacing mistake endurance athletes make in their training
- Why Rich focuses on “high-vibrating” foods (and what exactly that means)
- Why he doesn’t count calories or worry about how many grams he’s getting of important nutrients
Ed Roshitsh, vegetarian athlete running across the entire United States this year, at 300 miles per week:
- How someone trains to run across the country
- The food he eats for energy while running (hint: it’s not many carbohydrates)
- Ed’s favorite vegetarian protein sources, and why soy isn’t a big one
- The calorie-dense food Ed starts every day with, and another he eats 2-3 pounds a day of
- Why he eats almost no grains
- The exercise he swears by for training his body to run on “borrowed” energy
Robyn Flores, vegan runner whose goal it is to break the American 24-hour treadmill record of over 114 miles
- How going vegetarian helped Robyn get off medication, and improved her energy, thinking, and health issues
- How she handled the protein issue when she decided to go vegetarian as an ultrarunner
- How to balance training for endurance sports with having a family
- Robyn’s favorite foods for fast, whole food energy (like the “MacGyver” salad)
- Her advice for making your change to vegetarianism last
- The beliefs about food and fitness that helped her recover from an eating disorder
Scott Spitz, vegan marathoner with a PR of 2:25:55
- The type and amount of a training that a runner at his level does
- What a typical day of training looks like
- How Scott gets all the nutrition he needs without counting calories
- Scott’s best advice for new vegetarians and vegans
- The importance of the taper period for making your race a success
These expert MP3 interviews will provide you with different perspectives from people at the top of the plant-based fitness game. You’ll hear their first-marathon stories about what went wrong and what they got right, so that you can apply it to your own training to avoid disasters. You’ll also get their different perspectives on how to make the transition to a vegetarian or vegan diet, and learn the fundamental plant-based nutrition concepts they adhere to.
So many marathon guides are written by super-intense athletes who expect you to dedicate all your waking hours to becoming a running machine. But reading the Marathon Roadmap is like having an experienced yet realistic running buddy training with you, cheering you on every step of the way. It makes you feel like you — not some elite competitor version of you — can accomplish each step . I even felt like I could have the occasional bad run and still lace up my sneakers with confidence the next day.
Running 26.2 miles all in one go sounds so intimidating, but this guide makes it absolutely approachable. Doing a few months of high-quality 2-4 milers during the week is no big deal. And it works! Once I hit the road on race morning I felt strong, calm, and prepared — and was still able to walk a couple miles to my car afterwards. I actually have a photo from after the marathon where I’m standing upright and people around me are laying in the street and walking hunched over. Now that’s a sign of a good training plan!
Who is the Roadmap for?
The Marathon Roadmap is for anyone whose next goal it is to run a marathon on a vegetarian or vegan diet for the first time. If you’ve never run a half marathon, that’s fine…all that’s required is that you’re capable of running three miles at a time, several times per week, before you start this program. (If you can’t yet do that, I recommend you start with the Half Marathon Roadmap instead.) But if you really want to run the full 26.2, and to do it on a plant-based diet, then you’ve come to the right place.
-Brendan Brazier, vegan professional Ironman triathlete, bestselling author of Thrive, formulator of Vega natural sports nutrition line
Just so we’re clear about all that you’re getting with this system, here’s everything that’s included, all available for immediate download:
- The 117-page Marathon Roadmap guidebook, with all the details you’ll need to know to make your first marathon a success
- The 18-week marathon training program, with the optional six-week base-building plan
- The two-week meal plan, plus 17 easy recipes fit for marathon training on vegetarian or vegan diet
- The goal-setting worksheet to get yourself laser-focused and ready to follow through with your training
- Three shopping lists, one for each week of the meal plan and a list of staple foods you’ll want to have on hand
- A travel checklist and race-day checklist, to make sure a simple oversight doesn’t ruin your race
- BONUS — Six interview MP3’s with incredible plant-based athletes, totaling 4 hours of audio
This is a ton of stuff, and it’s everything you need (okay, along with a healthy serving of determination) to run your first marathon on a vegetarian or vegan diet. And you get this entire system for just
I’m sure you realize that the information here, both what I’ve gained in 10 years of running marathons and ultras, and what the experts and vegetarian athletes I’ve interviewed have to contribute, is worth way more than this. But still, I know there’s a tendency procrastinate when it comes to big, life-changing decisions. And the decision that you are going to run a marathon is certainly one of those life-changers.
So don’t wait around. Be one of the few who take action, rather than the many who wait around saying “someday.”
Make someday now. Click the orange button below to download your the entire No Meat Athlete Marathon Roadmap system for only
Please note: the Marathon Roadmap system is entirely downloadable, as PDF files and MP3’s. There are no hardcopies (and no shipping costs!). As soon as you complete your purchase, you’ll be redirected to a page where you’ll find the link to download the Roadmap and get started.
What if I don’t love it?
Test drive the Roadmap for two months. Pick a race, start your training, and get excited. I think you’ll find that once you go about it intelligently and with a solid plan, training for a marathon (and on a vegetarian diet, no less) is easier than you expected.
As your body changes to adapt to the training and your clean-burning diet, I’m confident you’ll experience massive increases in your energy, your outlook, and even the way you feel when you get out of bed in the morning. But if you don’t absolutely find that all of this is true, and that you’re well on your way to conquering the marathon and setting an example of the sheer power of a plant-based diet (or if you just don’t like it for any reason), then just let me know within 60 days of when you bought the guide. I’ll be happy to refund your money (and we’ll still be cool).
What others have said about the Marathon Roadmap
This ebook is insanely readable and realistic, and –- dare I say it? –- the best ebook I’ve ever read (and I’ve read a lot of ebooks!). Plus, I’ve never seen anything like it –- a complete guide to running a marathon for vegetarians and vegans. It was so thorough and complete. I don’t think I would’ve had a single question if I had read this book before my first marathon.
-Caitlin Boyle, HealthyTippingPoint.com, author of the Healthy Tipping Point book
I learned about the Marathon Roadmap just as I began preparation for my first marathon. The comprehensive guide provided this novice with so many valuable do’s and don’t’s that most simply learn through painful experience. From meal plans to training plans, the Roadmap saved so much time and effort which was used to actually prepare for the race. In the end, I achieved my personal goal running a 3:36 on a very demanding course. No telling what the result would have been without the Marathon Roadmap. Even experienced marathoners will see its value. I know it will be my guide to my next marathon and beyond. Thanks Matt!
-Steve Riccio, 3:36 in the Gettysburg Marathon
I didn’t know exactly what to expect, because first, I really had no interest in running a marathon, and second, I had even less interest in not eating meat. But I couldn’t put the book down. I was fascinated by everything I was reading, and ended up reading the whole thing in 48 hours. The more I read, the more I found myself nodding and thinking “wow, I think I could actually do this.” Never in a million years did I anticipate I’d even be interested in trying a vegetarian diet … now I’m going to do it. I loved the book. The thing I appreciated the most about it is how it lays everything out for you in small, very attainable steps. Like I’ve mentioned, going vegetarian never even crossed my mind, but after reading Marathon Roadmap, I really believe I can do it.
The Marathon Roadmap is an amazing resource! It has a truly effective plan that not only helped me survive my first marathon but also helped me do it well. I ran my marathon in July and not only did I run it without injury but I felt surprisingly strong at the end — so strong that I have already signed up for my next marathon! The Roadmap is an easy-to-follow plan that never is too punishing on your body.
-Jose Sanchez, 3:33 in the Tijuana Marathon
Want more details about what’s inside?
After having answered dozens, maybe hundreds of emails about marathon training, and thinking for months about the best way to give you everything you need without overloading you with information, I’ve boiled the main guide down to four major sections. Here’s a look at what’s in each.
Section 1 – Making it Real: Goals and Commitments
Obviously, if you’re going to follow a “roadmap,” you’ve got to know where you’re going. And it’s just as important to know why you’re going there, so that when you hit a bump along the way, you don’t just turn around and go home. Once you’ve completed this section, you’ll have written down a few things about why you’re going to run a marathon, and have taken some sort of action that commits you. Maybe for you that’s signing up for the race, or even something as simple as telling everyone you know that if you don’t run a marathon by such-and-such a date, they can take your first-born and shoot you with paintballs. And you’ll have chosen the perfect race to target, based on a variety of important factors you need to consider. Some of the main points we’ll hit in this section are:
- The three crucial steps to making a real decision (trust me, deciding to run a marathon counts as “real”)
- Six factors to consider when choosing your marathon
- Whether or not you should have a time goal (and if so, how to set the right one)
One of the neat things about this section is that you’re actually taking some actions. By the time you’ve finished reading it, you’ll be measurably closer to your first marathon, having built a foundation by making some real-world changes that are pretty tough to undo.
Section 2 – The Training
This section gets into the nuts and bolts of training. You’ll setup your training plan and get familiar with the different types of workouts you’ll be doing – all designed to get you into marathon shape while minimizing the stress on your body. By the time you’ve finished this section, you’ll have answers to where you’ll do your long runs, how you should run so that you give yourself the best shot at avoiding injury, what exercise (if any) you should be doing besides running, and what you can do to speed your recovery between workouts. Some of the highlights in the training section are:
- The training-plan mistakes people make that cause them to fail, and how you can avoid them
- Hill, Interval, and Tempo workouts that are approachable for those who have never done this type of training
- How to take the intimidation out of the long run
- A simple technique for injury-proofing your stride
- Trail running basics
- Cross training, equipment, foam rolling, safety and dealing with injuries
You’re probably incorporating some of these things into your training already – this section brings it all together into a cohesive, flexible plan whose only goal is to get you (uninjured) across the finish line of your first marathon.
Section 3 – The Diet
Here you’ll learn the ins and outs of making a plant-based diet work with marathon training (you’ll quickly see that it’s anything but a disadvantage). If you’re already vegetarian or vegan, this section will help you meet the demands that marathon training places on your body. And if your diet isn’t yet plant-based, you’ll learn everything you need to know to get it there. The key points in this section are:
- How a plant-based diet can be a help, not a hindrance, for endurance training
- How to go vegetarian (and make it last)
- Seven guidelines to keep you focused on the right foods you need for training, without being so strict that they control your life
- How to eat before, during, and after your workouts to maximize performance and recovery
- The “Ultimate Smoothie Formula” – one recipe, endless possibilities for starting the day right
- Where to get your protein
- Common deficiencies for vegetarians and how to avoid them
Section 4 – The Race
After many weeks of tireless, determined training and focus, you’ve still got the biggest test of all – the 26.2 miles that will change your life forever. But if you don’t know what to expect, everything you’ve done might be at risk. And that’s what this section is for. Here you’ll learn everything that nobody bothers to warn you about: what to eat during the days and hours before the race, pitfalls to watch out for if you’re traveling to your race, what to pack, how much to sleep… and lots more. Here we get into:
- What you’ve got to remember to bring to the race
- What to eat in the days and hours before the race and during the race itself
- How to help your spectators help you
- What to expect at the expo and what to watch out for
- How to know if you’re going too fast
- A mental trip through the 26.2 miles
The coolest part of this section (I think) is the walkthrough (or should we say runthrough?) of the marathon. I’ve broken the 26.2 miles down into quarters for you, with specific instructions of what you should be thinking about, focusing on, and doing at each distinct part of the race. This section will not only get you excited; it just might be the most important advice you can read for making the day the success you’ve imagined. Oh, and by the way … the guidebook also features contributions from several well-known authors and bloggers, including Vegan Bodybuilding and Fitness author Robert Cheeke, Karol Gajda from RidiculouslyExtraordinary.com, Operation Beautiful and HealthyTippingPoint.com author Caitlin Boyle, Clean Food and Clean Start author Terry Walters, Gena Hamshaw from ChoosingRaw.com, Competitor.com columnist Susan Lacke, and vegan Registered Dietitican Matt Ruscigno.
Isn’t life too short to sit around saying, “Someday I’ll run a marathon”?
Lots of people say that. But for most people, “someday” never comes. But if you’ve made it this far, that’s not you.
P.S. Even if you decide the Marathon Roadmap isn’t for you, I sincerely hope you make your marathon happen somehow. The decision can change your life! If you’ve made it this far down the page, it’s obvious that some part of you really wants to be a marathoner — so do something to commit yourself while you’re inspired, whether it’s with my program or not.