A Midpoint Update on #WriteAndRun31 (and a Brand New Challenge)

angled-cover_largeIt’s been 16 days, and suddenly I remember why I started this.

The first few weeks of running and writing every day have had their moments, no doubt: it’s one thing to start a runstreak, quite another to start a runstreak in the dead of winter.

Several times I’ve opened the door and felt the cold, then quickly searched my brain for an excuse before realizing that none will be good enough. Like it or not, this run is happening. And of course, that’s the point.

A yogi will tell you that when you stop resisting and “breathe into” a tough pose, it gets easy. When it sunk in that there were no good excuses, ever — I’m running today, no matter what — that was the turning point.

At 16 days straight, it’s my longest streak since 2012. And just like that time, the simple act of running more has caused me to want to run more.

Put another way: the more energy you use, the more energy you have. Funny how that works.

It’s no different with writing. The more ideas you put on the page, the more ideas you have.

It all seems so easy, now. Why? And for the past year, two years … why not?

It’s the accountability, plain and simple. Having a group of people who in moments of weakness I imagine myself reporting to, having to explain why I didn’t do my run or my writing today … that’s why.

So who are these people? Here are just a few of their blogs — many of which were started just for #WriteAndRun31:

These represent just a tiny fraction of the bloggers participating, the blogs that were near the top of the feed when I wrote this post or that have caught my attention for some other reason. But just seeing them listed like this makes me feel something special; far better than what this challenge has done for my own habits is seeing so much goodness born into the world as a result.

It’s not too late to join us (never is; your 31 days can start whenever you want). But I’m pretty sure we’ll do something for February, so you could also wait … and waiting may actually help with habit change (see #7, here).

An Even Tougher Challenge (and What It Means for You)

While I’ve written every day this year, I haven’t published nearly that often. The two posts per week I’ve averaged so far this year feels like a lot compared to what I had been doing, but daily is another level altogether. (I only wrote about 40 posts in 2014, not counting podcast posts.)

And yet Seth manages to do it. So I’m going to do it. For a week.

Short version: I’m going to publish a new post on No Meat Athlete every day next week (Sunday, January 18th through Saturday, January 24th). It’ll be the most I’ve posted in a week since 2009.

No promises after that week is up, but I think it’ll be fun, an interesting challenge, and — in the same way that running more has made me more excited about running — that’ll be good for me. And you.

(For those on the newsletter list — I won’t email the new post every day, but I’ll jam two newsletters full of them over the course of the week. If you’re interested in reading each post as it’s published, check back at nomeatathlete.com or pay attention to our Facebook or Twitter accounts.)

Long version: Seth Godin is a huge inspiration, example, and teacher of mine. I had the money-can’t-buy privilege of spending a week in his office last summer, with Seth and 14 other entrepreneurs, artists, and ruckus-makers, and it was everything I expected and a billion times more.

Then, to top off what was already a surreal experience, he put us in his new book, What to Do When It’s Your Turn. (So of course I bought 8 copies to send to friends.)

And so when he announced this new challenge, something told me I had to do it. Fortunately, that something happened to be louder than the voice which was reminding me, “You can’t publish a new post for seven straight days.”

So I’m in.

Finally: Calling All Designers to Help Design Our Running Group Shirts!

If writing isn’t your thing, here’s one more idea to get your creative juices flowing.

We’re holding a design contest for the No Meat Athlete 2015 Running Group shirts. The winning design will be printed on our running groups’ shirts across the world this year (each city’s shirt will be customized with that city’s name), and the winning designer will win 200 bucks and free shirts for their local group.

Interested? I hope so. The deadline is January 31st, and all the details are here.

Alright, that’s all for now. I’ll be back tomorrow (with the third post in the Whole Foods / Garmin ambassador series). And then the next day. And the next day. And the day after that. This should be fun.



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  1. Thank you for the accountability of #writeandrun31! I had been thinking of starting a run streak, but this group is what got me to actually DO it. And on the days I am tired and sick, I still get a mile in around the block. Because the group exists.

    Looking forward to your posts next week!

  2. Tyler Spaghetti says:

    Do you have to be in a NMA group to enter the contest? And if I do when will the shirts go straight to me or the Chicago NMA group? Because even though I’m not in a group, I am an high-schooler runner on a whole food plant based diet. (If I did win I would keep a shirt and give the rest to the group)

  3. The accountability is what has helped me the most (for the writing), so thanks to #writeandrun31 for that! I did have to take a couple days off due to a minor concussion last week, but I’m right back at it! And thanks so much for linking to my little blog 🙂

  4. Thanks for mentioning me! I’m definitely not posting every day, but knowing that I have to sit down and write for 10 minutes a day (which was my goal) has gotten me to write some decent stuff that never would have been written otherwise. So thanks a ton for this challenge!

  5. Great post! It’s so exciting to see so many blogs that started as a result of #writeandrun31. Yay, habits! 🙂

  6. Love the commitment, Matt! I just adore what you do online, in your podcasts, etc. I can’t get enough, so the good news is – you can never write or podcast TOO MUCH! BRING IT!
    I had a random thought – a life hack, if you will, for your running in the winter: Instead of going out in the cold at the start and trying to get warmed up, try jump roping for 3-5 min, in all your gear, and THEN go out and run. It’s helped me immensely on extremely cold days when my usual 5 min W/U will take 15-20 outside. No Bueno. Plus, jump rope is great for you form and mid-foot balance, etc. Thanks again!

    • Natalie, Great idea for cold day warm up, thanks! Thanks too to Matt for so much inspiration and good info. You really helped me keep at it a few years ago with your half marathon book & I’ve continued to enjoy your content! As a coach, runner, and writer I am really intrigued by the #writeandrun31 and will check it out more…

  7. Thanks for the challenge. Not much of my writing has gone public this month, but when my new website is up and running I will have a collection of posts.
    And for the first time this month I ran today. And what a feeling! After an injury at the end of last month I have been walking and deep water running but today I RAN.

    This challenge has also been a great way to connect with others. Thanks!

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