Google Reader Users: Find an Alternative Way to Get NMA Posts (Before July 1!)

Kind of a weird post, since usually I prefer to handle housekeeping issues with social media or email. But this one’s important if you read No Meat Athlete and other blogs via Google Reader.

Google Reader officially goes away on July 1. That’s this coming Monday, just a few days from now.

Which means if you want to keep having No Meat Athlete posts delivered to you, without having to remember to come visit the blog, you’ll need to choose a new way to do it.

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6 Make-or-Break Factors to Dial In Before Race Day — or Pay the Price!

For as long as I’ve written this blog, I’ve advocated treating your long runs as rehearsals for the big day. Hone in your nutrition, pacing, and even clothing strategies while it doesn’t count, so that there won’t be any surprises when it does.

Actually, I think you should go beyond just rehearsing: instead of just “sticking with what works,” use your long runs as a testing ground for potential improvements. I truly believe most runners have many minutes of improvement just waiting to be discovered, but instead they fall into the trap of never varying from a routine that works well enough.

Up until I started training for a 100-miler, though, I hadn’t actually done any of this.

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5 Recommended Books for Healthy Summer Reading

At the beginning of the year, I wrote a post called “On Turning Pro” where I laid out my plan to make some changes in my mindset — this after the roughest six months of my life, when anxiety issues came (seemingly) out of nowhere to render me pretty darn useless.

Central to my plan: reading for one hour each day.

It’s the one habit I can identify that is most closely tied to my sense of well-being. My hope was that by making sure I absolutely stuck to it, other good habits would naturally form.

And I’ve actually done it! I’ve gone through busy periods where much of the daily hour has shifted to listening to books (easy during 100-miler training), but that’s acceptable, and I must say it’s worked pretty much as I hoped it would.

I’ve taken on a lot this year — finishing up writing my book, training for a 100, moving to a new house, and having a new baby (granted, my wife played a slightly larger role in that than I did) — and anxiety has really taken a back seat to it all. Gooooo, reading!

My Summer Reading Recommendations

Anyway … in this past month I decided to read five health and running books that had piled up on my to-read list. Many of them had been sent to me for review by publishers, and I had back-burnered them in favor of books that I personally wanted to read. (By the way, I’m trying to get back into updating my GoodReads account, so you can follow me on there if you’re into that sort of thing.)

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22 Ways to Take the Stress Out of Your First Triathlon

[triathlon start image]

It’s triathlon season! Shout it with me, people: IT’S TRIATHLON SEASON!

I haven’t always been such an overeager pain in the ass about this sport. I used to be scared — really scared — before triathlon races. I knew what I was doing as a runner, but triathlon was just so … complicated.

With running races, it’s simple: get a bite to eat and hit the porta-pot ahead of time, and beyond the actual running, there’s not a whole lot that can go wrong. But triathlons are a different beast, with not just three sports to worry about, but also the transitions and plenty of logistical opportunities for bigtime screw-ups that bodies of water and racks of bikes add to the mix.

Before my first few triathlon races, my hands would shake as I quietly set up my bike in transition area, and instead of confidently rehearsing what I needed to execute during the race, I’d focus on everything that could go wrong:

  • What if I have a panic attack during the swim and hyperventilate?
  • What if I forget where I put my bike and wander around transition like an idiot?
  • What if I drop a water bottle and get dehydrated?
  • What if I make a total ass of myself?

Sound like you?

Fears like these prevent a lot of runners from ever jumping into the triathlon game, and it’s a shame. In addition to providing runners with more strength than ever before (cycling is an excellent cross-training activity), accomplishing the mental challenge of triathlon gives an athlete more tricks in their wheelhouse for breaking through “the wall” of their next road race. On a personal note, triathlon has given me confidence I didn’t have before, introduced me to friends around the world, and led me to a new career with No Meat Athlete and print magazines Competitor and Triathlete. Triathlon has changed my life – literally. All because I took a chance on a new sport.

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My 12-Hour Race Report, and a 102-Mile Fastpacking Adventure

Well, I’ve officially cleared the biggest hurdle on my path toward running a 100-miler (until race day, that is): a 50-mile training run.

Actually, 52.7 miles. Last Saturday I ran the Black Mountain Monster, a 12-hour race around a 5K loop that comprises single-track trails, roads, and a few fields. I had hoped to cover 100K (62 miles) on the day, but when I completed my 17th loop at 11 hours and 15 minutes, I was fairly certain I couldn’t run another in 45 minutes, and called it a day.

Anything over 50 miles was good enough for me and for my preparation for the 100-miler, so the race was by no means a failure. But still, 10 miles short of my distance goal is a lot, and I can mainly blame myself for that — I started out way too fast, clocking 10-minute miles for the first three loops, when a steady 11:30 pace was all I would have needed to reach 100K.

The good news, though? I learned more during this race than in any previous one. I paid careful attention to exactly how many calories and electrolytes I was taking in, my paces, how my body responded to the heat, my shoes, and much more. Nothing like a little fear of running 100 miles to make you get serious, I guess — I even took notes! (You can see them here, if you’re interested. I’d love to hear answers to my questions at the bottom from any experienced ultrarunners; feel free to leave them in the comments on this post.)

I’m not a huge fan of writing race recaps — I honestly can’t imagine someone sitting in front a computer long enough to read thousands of words about my race. But somehow, listening to those words on a podcast seems a bit more reasonable, so all the details are in this episode.

Doug, my co-host on the podcast, did a little ultra-adventure of his own the previous weekend — a 102-mile, mostly self-supported trek over three days on the Appalachian Trail. This style of covering a fairly large amount of ground (compared to traditional hiking) is called “fast packing,” and Doug tells us all about his first experience with it here.

Enjoy the show!

Click the button below to listen now:


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Are You Getting the Nutrients You Need from Your Plant-Based Diet?

[4 hour body cover]I make no secret of the fact that I’m a huge fan of author and blogger Tim Ferriss. His personality and approach are (apparently) polarizing, but his experimentalist attitude of questioning long-accepted (but untested) assumptions, testing them, and valuing the results over theory makes total sense to me.

Tim’s work is fascinating. The 4-Hour Workweek is the most valuable business book I’ve ever read (well, it’s a tie between that and Seth Godin’s Tribes). The 4-Hour Body is perhaps even more interesting; it’s a “choose your own adventure”-style book, one that’s not meant to be read cover-to-cover. And Tim’s most recent book, The 4-Hour Chef, though far from vegan-friendly, is one I’ve learned a lot from — about cooking, sure, but even more about learning.

Tim is not a vegan or vegetarian. Anyone who has so much as flipped through The 4-Hour Chef, especially the section on hunting, knows this. But this isn’t to say he’s anti- plant-based diet. Indeed (from The 4-Hour Body):

I suggest a two-week PPBD (primarily plant-based diet) test after 3-4 months on the Slow-Carb Diet. No matter where you end up afterward, the awareness will lead to better decisions that benefit appearance, performance, and the planet as a whole.

And I especially love what he writes in regards to the all-or-nothing approach many people have towards diet:

It’s better for the environment if you locally source a 70% PPBD indefinitely, rather than eat 100% vegan for two months and quit because you find it unsustainable. Some vegans, lost in ideological warfare, also lose sight of the cumulative effects: getting 20% of the population to take a few steps in the right direction will have an infinitely greater positive impact on the world than having 2% of the population following a 100% plant-based diet. To both uninformed meat-eaters and vegetarians — stop ad hominem attacks and focus on the big picture.

(If you’ve read my post Why Vegans and Paleos Should Stop Hating Each Other, it shouldn’t surprise you that I wholeheartedly agree with this last line.)

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