Running is one of the most eco-friendly activities, right? After all, besides running shoes, clothes, and motivation, there aren’t many other necessities.
Obviously everyone knows to drink from a reusable water bottle, but unfortunately, many other extracurricular activities surrounding your run (i.e. getting to your destination, the gear you buy, and the ways you fuel) can increase your carbon footprint. Make your footprint the size of a minimalist shoe instead of a maximal shoe with following tips:
Run commute to work...just invest in a great running backpack like an Orange Mud one here or Gregory backpack here, buy some of those body wipes, and voila! Or run to go shopping or to the grocery store instead of driving, and then take the subway home afterwards. Don’t forget the reusable bag (no one has time for the judging eyes of the cashier after a run).
Shop Local & Local Running Shops:
Don’t ship your new running shorts a greater distance than you’ll ever run in them. Shop for running gear at local running specialty stores, such as NYC favorite shops like Paragon Sports and Brooklyn Running Company. And look for running gear and clothes that are made in the USA (like OnlyAtoms - made in USA and NYC!) Also read more here in this interview with our founder about eating local foods and buying locally made goods.
Public Transportation to Running Routes:
Instead of driving to your favorite running trails or trail greenway system, take public transportation. No one cares if you’re sweaty and smelly afterwards; they’ve all seen worse on the buses and subway.
Do you really need another race tee-shirt and medal? Swap out a “conventional” race on your racing schedule with a no-frills race or a "fat ass" ultra instead. You’ll pay less, travel a shorter distance, and fewer resources will be used by the race organizer.
DIY Recovery Tools:
A lot of our favorite run recovery devices use materials that are hard to recycle and difficult to produce, and they can be expensive (like our favorite vibrating foam roller!). Make your own at home, instead. No foam roller? A Nalgene bottle works just as well. Can’t spring for The Stick? Use a rolling pin. Tennis, lacrosse balls, and golf balls work great for isolating difficult-to-reach knots, and rolling the feet too.
Recycle your Running Shoes:
Don’t throw away your running shoes when they don’t have any life left in them. Most local running stores have a shoe recycling program, and some will even give you a discount on your next purchase when you donate. Also read more here about our sustainability, how we use fabrics made of plastic bottles, and how we upcycle our leftover fabrics to make free hairbands - perfect for your run.
If you have (safe) soft surfaces nearby and no underlying reason why running barefoot would be a dumb idea for you, consider ditching the shoes one or two days a week. Start off with only a few minutes of barefoot running and gradually work your way up to 20 – 30 minutes. Giving your shoes a break will increase their lifespan.
Buy Gear in Bulk:
Obviously we all know the bulk section at the grocery store is the best, for a number of reasons (mostly because buying candy in bulk is everyone’s dream). The same principles that make bulk groceries a good option apply to running items, too. Consider buying multiples of essential running gear items, like socks, sports bras, and running shoes, in order to cut down on the energy used to travel to and from the store. Look for inventory-clearing sales when the seasons change, and stock up when prices are low. Energy gels and hydration tablets can also be bought in bulk quantities, typically at a discounted price. Recently, GU gels even announced a new 15-serving “flask” to decrease waste from energy gel wrappers, which are perfect for ultra-distance athletes.