Celebrate Earth Day and Try Plogging on Your Next Run
It is the question burning in the minds of all environmentally conscious runners, especially around Earth Day: How can I use my love of running to help the earth?
The good people of Sweden have provided an answer: Plogging. It may sound odd, but it has become a global trend. The term comes from combining the word “jogging” with “plocka upp”, which is Swedish for "pick up."
So what exactly is plogging? As the name suggests, plogging is picking up any litter you see when you go for a run. It sounds simple, but it can have a huge impact. Litter is a huge problem in America's cities and waterways, with very serious consequences on the environment.
That is why plogging is so useful, and so popular. It's something any individual can do to take direct action and make a difference, and in most cases, it's something someone can do in their own communities. Huge amounts of litter that would potentially be overlooked can be properly be disposed of by the dedication of one plogger.
Speaking of community, plogging is a great way to work together with friends. Any run can be a group activity, but with plogging, you can increase your cleaning impact simply by bringing along some running buddies. Three people running together means three times the amount of trash removed from the ground.
If you want to spread the word on social media, plogging is a huge hit on Instagram! Upload a picture of your environmental run using #plogging and become part of the trend! You can join the global community that has taken up the cause and support your fellow ploggers wherever they may be.
Still not convinced? Well, plogging is not just great for the environment, it helps your body too!
Every piece of litter picked up is an opportunity to throw a lunge or a squat into your workout. NYRR coach Melanie Kann has this advice for incorporating plyometrics into your plog:
"Try doing your lunges in a walking motion—walking lunges really train your body to accelerate forward and decelerate, which builds balance as well as strength. Squats will help strengthen and fire up your glutes, which will add more power to your stride."
So what do you need to have a successful plog, and to do it safely?
"Keep in mind the same rules apply to 'plogging' as regular running when it comes to safety. Make sure to wear bright colors with reflective features and/or safety lights if plogging along a road with automobile traffic, particularly in the evening or early morning hours. Bring gloves to protect your hands from any broken glass, sharp, or unsanitary objects." says Kann.
You will also need a trash bag or other type of container to hold the litter as you go, and if there are hard-to-reach spots on your route that you know have trash, consider employing a claw grabber or another pick-up tool to help you out.
That is all there is to it! The only thing left is decide where you are going to start.
If you need some ideas for where to plan your Earth Day plogging adventure, check out NYRR Running Routes, a resource for Instagram-worthy running routes throughout New York City! You can help keep these spectacular areas beautiful.
This Earth Day, turn your workout into something more and get plogging!