Get access to everything we publish when you sign up for Outside+.
The current state of the planet is leading many people to adopt a more eco-friendly lifestyle. If you have been brainstorming ways to become more sustainable in your daily life, well, that probably includes your running too! Here are a few ideas on how to become a more eco-friendly runner and help Mother Nature in the process.
Check Your Apparel And Gear…
The fabrics and materials that your clothes are made of can actually make a difference. Adidas, for example, partnered with Parley for the Oceans to create a line of shoes and apparel made out of recycled ocean waste, all in an effort to keep plastic out of the oceans. Each pair of Ultraboost Parley shoes keep 11 plastic bottles out of the waters. Other companies are using sustainable fabrics such as organic cotton and hemp when making their clothes.
…And Then Change How You Care For It.
So why change your fabrics? According to The Guardian, synthetic microfibers are winding up in the oceans when water is drained from the washing machine. Once you change your fabrics you still aren’t in the clear, however, and you can choose to wash your running clothes less often—by doing larger loads of laundry—to use less water and air dry your clothes instead of opting for the dryer (which is recommended anyway, to prolong the life of your technical fabrics).
Ditch The Prepackaged Fuel…
When it comes to being more sustainable, choosing to make your own homemade fuel can help reduce waste from wrappers found on bars and gels. Additionally, you can control what is in your fuel, choosing organic ingredients. Should you use prepackaged fuel, sticking with companies that offer recyclable packaging.
…And Then Carry It Responsibly.
Using reusable bags and pouches versus plastic sandwich bags as well as reusable water bottles are the key to being more sustainable when carrying your fuel. You can take it a step further by choosing packs that are made out of sustainable materials, such as this backpack by Green Guru that is made out of recycled bike tubes. You can even choose to use it as a gym bag if you don’t want to carry a pack on the run.
Keep The Trails Clean…
You may not throw your trash on the trails, but you probably see other runners who do (or see their aftermath). The next time you go for a hike—as opposed to a run—you can choose to carry a trash bag and pick up trash along the way. Other options include organizing a trail clean-up with your running group or volunteering at a local race at a water stop to make sure all of those abandoned paper cups get cleaned up. Getting your best running friend a reusable water bottle so they aren’t tempted to ditch their trash is another option, too! Points for customization.
…And Then Take Those Trails To Work.
Cutting down on pollution is easy for people who already log miles upon miles and hours upon hours on the roads and trails a week thanks to running. If you are a bit too far from work to run there, choose to ride a bike or carpool with coworkers in order to reduce your carbon footprint. You probably already have to run today and you definitely have to go to work, so why not get your workout out of the way and kill two birds with one stone?