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Top Ten Ways to Be a Greener Runner
By Rick Morris
We need to always focus on running green. No matter how green or eco-friendly we may be, we can always do more. Here are our top ten ways to be a greener runner.
An easy and effective way to become a green runner is to buy and wear running gear made from sustainable fabrics. There are a number of great sustainable running clothes choices out there that include hemp, bamboo, soy and organic cotton. These types of fabric on not only earth friendly, but are also very comfortable and great at both wicking moisture and regulating your temperature.
Sustainable fabrics aren't your only choice for eco friendly running gear. A lot of environmentally conscious manufacturers are making great, high tech running gear out of recycled materials, including recycled plastic bottles and recycled polyester. With eco friendly choices like that, there is just no reason to use up additional natural resources.
Wear Them Out
What is even more green than sustainable or recycled gear? How about sticking with what you have. Don't buy new running clothes when the gear you have is still serviceable. Keep wearing your existing running gear until they are completely worn out. Mother Nature will thank you.
Reuse the Shoes
If it's really time for some new running shoes, don't just throw your old ones in the trash. Either donate them to a charitable organization or send them to one of a number of groups that collect and redistribute running shoes. Go online and search for recycled running shoes. You will find a list of places to recycle your shoes and you will help keep our landfills from over flowing.
Millions of plastic water and sports drink bottles go into our landfills each year. That plastic lasts forever. Instead of buying water and sports fluids in those small, plastic, environmentally nasty bottles, purchase a sports drink concentrate and mix it in your own eco friendly water bottle. If you use bottled water, buy it in the large 5 gallon bottles that are returned and reused.
Let's clean up the earth. One time per week, go on an eco run. Go for a long easy run with a couple of trash bags strapped to your running belt. Pick up trash you see along the trail. Put trash in one bag and recyclable materials in the other. To make it an even more eco friendly run, use a biodegradable trash bag.
Do you really want to save the earth? Go vegan. A vegan diet is much more environmentally friendly and you will be saving the lives and improving the quality of life of lots of our fellow earthlings. There is a big personal benefit to going vegan. Your health and fitness will rise to new heights while your weight plummets to your most healthy level.
Social Cross Training
Cross training is a good way to balance your fitness as a distance runner. Since you love running it can sometimes be a challenge to replace a running workout with cross training. How about adding in some social cross training instead. By social cross training I mean riding your bike to the store, out to eat, to work and to social gatherings. You will reduce your carbon footprint, burn some additional calories and become a fitter distance runner.
Spread the Word
Distance runners are on the cutting edge of the eco revolution. That just makes sense because most distance runners are close to nature both physically and spiritually. We need to spread the word. Encourage your friends, family and co-workers to be more eco friendly. If every distance runner convinced just one associate to become greener, that would mean millions of smaller carbon footprints.
In the past, distance running races made no effort to be green. That is beginning to change but we need to encourage even more change. Try to choose green races. Pick races that produce sustainable or recycled fabric shirts. Choose a race that recycles all discarded drink cups. Some race are even using a new "cupless" hydration system in which they give you a hydration pouch to carry with you. Try to pick a local race that you require little or no travel. If possible, bike to your race or jog to it as a warm up.
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