five ways runners can celebrate earth day

Happy Earth Day!

Can you believe this is 50th Anniversary of Earth Day! This movement began in 1970, with over 20 million Americans lending a hand to help make positive changes to environmental policies and protections.

earth day

Go For A “Plog”

Plogging is the act of picking up litter while jogging. The trend started in Sweden in 2016, and by 2018, had spread to other countries. It’s a shame that, in today’s day and age, people still feel the need to toss their trash in places other than the garbage bin, but here we are. Obviously, plogging isn’t for speedwork days, but during your less intense workouts, it would be great to tuck a (reusable) bag into and gloves into a pocket, and work on picking up discarded cups, bottles, cans, and whatever else you may find. This would be the perfect way to honor Earth Day (and please remember to wash your hands really well, especially now!)

earth day

Say “No” To Plastic Race Bags

I know we’re not racing at the moment, but when we do, consider the choices at bib pickup. For events with lots of swag, organizers usually hand out some kind of bag, and many times, it’s a single-use shopping type bag. The good news is that a lot of races are either skipping the bag altogether, or offering something like a branded string or tote bag, which can be reused. If I’m not sure, I bring my own, to contain my shirt, bib, safety pins, and assorted goodies.

Hydrate With Reusable Items

It’s so easy to grab a water or gatorade bottle for your run, and then dispose of it. Recycling is fine, but even better is moving to reuseable cups, bottles, handhelds, and even straws when you can. Some events are going entire cupless, encouraging runners to bring their own handhelds or hydration packs. This helps to eliminate unnecessary plastics and waste, and is a fabulous way to give back, especially on Earth Day.

Try Run- (Or Bike-) Commuting

If you live close enough to your work, gym, or even grocery store, you might want to leave your car in the driveway and run to get there and back again. I do admit that it’s a tough sell in Florida, where the heat and humidity would make it necessary to have a shower waiting for you at your professional destination, but you never know what you might be able to work out. I always loved taking my bike to the store to pick up a few items at the store, or even to walk to get coffee or lunch when the weather is nice. Driving is great, but it’s also great to stretch our legs and cut back on some exhaust.

earth day

Donate Your Old Running Shoes

There’s no question that runners go through shoes at record speeds. Of course, it’s also true that shoes aren’t yet made entirely of biodegradable materials, so when they have outlived their usefulness to us, tossing them means they just sit in a landfill. Shoe donations, however, changes the picture a little. Most local running stores accept shoe donations. You can even donate at certain races or events.

earth day

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What are ways you can celebrate Earth Day as a runner?

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33 Responses to five ways runners can celebrate earth day

  1. Catrina says:

    I love your suggestions! I used to plog when walking the beach in Florida, although there was not much rubbish. Clean people!
    And I bike or walk everywhere, as a car in a our city is not needed.
    Catrina recently posted…Do Something Silly, They SaidMy Profile

    • runswithpugs says:

      We have always loved doing beach cleanups. Obviously, I hate that there’s a need for it. I remember once, I was out with A and his buddies and someone just literally dumped their lunch trash on the sand, picked up their blanket and left. Right in front of us! I mean, they could have put it in one of our buckets! Lazy, lazy, lazy.

      I would love to live in a walking city. We really have to take the car a lot of places, for safety reasons.
      runswithpugs recently posted…week 14 (20): loss of joyMy Profile

  2. These are great ideas! Its crazy to think of all that waste from the plastic cups used at races. Most of the races I have done lately have given a reusable bag which was nice to see.
    Lisa @ Mile by Mile recently posted…5 Simple Ways To Stay Motivated When Racing AloneMy Profile

  3. stephanie says:

    Great blog. Will be sharing this for sure. I need to get my kids invoiced in earth day in some way this year. I may have them write someitng about how earth is benefiting from stay ate home orders.

  4. Wendy says:

    All great ideas! Right now, I’m bummed that I can’t use my reuseable grocery bags. The plastic is piling up at my house and I don’t know what to do with it!

    • runswithpugs says:

      A lot of people are just putting their grocery back in the cart without any bags, and then transferring them to their reusable bags when they get to their cars. I have no idea what Mr PugRunner is doing. I ask zero questions about the process.
      runswithpugs recently posted…week 14 (20): loss of joyMy Profile

  5. Darlene says:

    It’s snowing as I write this. Ugh.

    Great ideas.

    The only thing I haven’t done is bike to work. Lol.

  6. Darlene says:

    It’s snowing as I write this. Ugh.

    Great ideas.

    The only thing I haven’t done is bike to work. Lol.

  7. Chaitali says:

    Great ideas! I hadn’t realized that running shoes could be donated, I’m going to have to look into that. I have a bunch of old shoes sitting around because I didn’t really know what to do with them.
    Chaitali recently posted…Wednesday GratitudeMy Profile

  8. Great tips, Jen! Have to admit I hadn’t thought about the plastic bags for swag (of course, I do a lot of races where there’s basically no swag) — I’ll be keeping that in mind . . . some day. 🙂

    • runswithpugs says:

      I know that sponsors are needed for races, but I’m really onboard with the online race bags, so we’re not getting all the postcards and flyers and whatnot. I hate having to sort and discard all that stuff. If it comes to that, I’ll just take my t-shirt and bib and decline the rest.
      runswithpugs recently posted…week 14 (20): loss of joyMy Profile

  9. I actually forgot it was earth day this year! These are great ideas that we can do all the time. I do donate my old shoes but I can surely do more. Thanks for the reminders

    • runswithpugs says:

      I think anything we do is important. Mr PugRunner bought paper plates for lockdown, and I finally had to put a stop to it because of the waste. Hurricane season is one thing, where we may lose water and won’t be able to wash them, but we are all good on electric and utilities. We can wash our meal dishes.
      runswithpugs recently posted…week 14 (20): loss of joyMy Profile

  10. Chelsea says:

    I love this!! These are all such great recommendations! Adding plogging to my future run-to-do list! I never knew that was the term for it but now I do! 🙂

    Have a great Earth Day!!

  11. Rachel says:

    Happy Earth Day! Plogging is such a great way to make a difference. I’m SO thankful I haven’t seen a lot of litter in my area in quite some time. It makes me think people are actually being careful and cognizant!

  12. I love the idea of going for a plog. I need to do that on my road. Also, yes to saying no to plastic race bags!
    Sandra Laflamme recently posted…At Home Workout Guide for Coronavirus SurvivalMy Profile

    • runswithpugs says:

      Plogging is an easy enough thing to do while you’re out and about. We are lucky that there’s not too much litter in my area, but I always wish I had a bag handy when I see it and hadn’t planned on it.

  13. Laurie says:

    LOVED this post! I used to be a science teacher, so I celebrated Earth Day every year with my students. We always did something special, usually involving going outside (if the weather cooperated). The idea of going for a “plog” is great! Just remember to wear gloves and wash your hands. Really important these days, right?

    • runswithpugs says:

      Absolutely gloves, especially right now! We do a lot of beach cleanups, and I always snag a few pairs of gloves, because there are some gnarly things dumped and washed up on the sand. Ew.

  14. Debbie says:

    I forgot my bag to plog today! I’ll have to make it up tomorrow. Great tips. We all need to do our part to take care of our earth!
    Debbie recently posted…5 Things I Wish I’d Known When I Started RunningMy Profile

  15. I’m a huge believer in plogging, and try to do it regularly. I always donate my retired shoes, as well….which reminds me, I’ve got to scale down my “collection.” Our collection sites (for clothing, etc.) currently are not accepting any donations through the COVID-19 crisis…probably the same for shoes?

    • runswithpugs says:

      It’s a great contribution to the environment, and even the community!

      Our running stores have donation bins, and since they are closed, we are out of luck. I am holding on to a few extra pair, just because my flip flops are so uncomfortable on my right foot right now. Sturdy shoes, even old running shoes, are a bit better suited to my needs at the moment.

  16. Great suggestions! We always donate our old running shoes to Goodwill, my husband accumulates several pairs in a year! I’ve never plogged but I appreciate those who do it!

    When it comes to races, I have so many of those expo bags it’s ridiculous, I should start using my own reusable bag!
    Janelle @ Run With No Regrets recently posted…Weekly Rundown: Doing My BestMy Profile

    • runswithpugs says:

      There have been a few races with fabulous plastic bags (Disney events come to mind), that i’ve used for gear check and then wiped down and used afterwards. I think I still have a few of them. They were super thick and heavy-duty. Great quality. But other than that, I don’t need more plastic.

  17. Shathiso says:

    My husband is such an environmentalist so religiously cycles to work if he doesn’t have to do the school run. Luckily, he has a shower at work so it really works for him. Plogging is a great idea – but I’m with you, I still don’t get why people see the need to litter in the first place!

  18. Heather Hart says:

    Yay Earth Day! One of my favorite “holidays”! We regularly organize trail clean up days for our local running group. It’s amazing (and unfortunate) how much trash accumulates out there. But it’s up to us to be good stewards of the trail! Great tips!
    Heather Hart recently posted…How to Maintain Running Fitness When You Aren’t Training for a RaceMy Profile

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