Thursday, November 13, 2008

Running Green

This week's topic for Take It and Run Thursday at the Runner's Lounge Blog is Running Green.

I try to live a pretty green life, even though I know there is a LOT more I can do. Some of the green things I do on a regular basis include biking to work (and anywhere else I can instead of driving), bringing my own canvas bags to the grocery store/farmer's market, and using my Kleen Kanteen water bottle instead of buying bottled water. I am sure there is more, but those are the big ones.

The November 2008 Issue of Runner's World was all about running green and they now have a Green Running section on their site. I am going to use one of their articles, How to Be a Greener Runner, as the basis for this post and a sort of meme. Below is a the list of "30 things even a busy, sane person (i.e., you) can do" and how my own habits stack up (written in green and italics below the items from the article).

Get to Workouts
  • Good: Bike to all group runs and track workouts.
  • Better: Run to a local farmers' market to buy produce.
  • Best: Start all your runs from your home or office.
What I do: I drive to my long runs with the Galloway group because it is too far, and too early, to bike there. However, I make it a point to make the most of the drive and run errands in the area, such as going to the farmer's market. Most of my other runs I do around my neighborhood so I do not have to drive to run. From time to time, I will run to or from work or bike to a local park to run.

Race
  • Good: Participate in eco-conscious races (check out page 74 or go to runnersworld-greenteam.com)
  • Better: Carpool or take public transit to get to and from events.
  • Best: Race in your hometown as much as possible.
What I do: Most of my races are within 30 minutes of my home and I carpool to them with Jason. We recently ran a race at UCF, where we work, and we biked there and to brunch after. It was awesome and I wish they had more races close enough to do this more often.

Hydrate
  • Good: Buy powdered sports drinks and mix them yourself.
  • Better: Wave away plastic race cups by carrying your own water in a secure container (like Amphipod's Hydraform Handheld Pockets).
  • Best: Use reusable bottles instead of throwaway plastic water bottles.
What I do: I don't drink sport drinks, so the first does not apply. I used to carry my own water bottle when I ran, but I find that it started to hurt my shoulder as I got faster. I guess this means I need to work on my form or get a fuel belt. I hardly ever buy bottled water any more and refill my own instead, but I do grab bottled water when at races. I do try to find the recycling bin to dispose of it. Now that I think about it, I will bring the bottles home and recycle them if I can't find a recycling bin at the race.

Buy New Shoes
  • Good: If you run on trails only occasionally, buy one pair of shoes that can handle light off-road use.
  • Better: Pick shoes that are made with fewer nasty solvents and recycled components, such as the Nike Air Pegasus 25 and END's Stumptown.
  • Best: Buy the Brooks Trance 8. Its midsole is made out of BioMoGo, a material that reportedly decomposes 50 times faster than conventional midsoles.
What I do: I have no idea how environmentally friendly my shoes are. I should look into this.

Buy Apparel
  • Good: Buy shirts, outer layers, and especially socks made with merino wool, a natural and renewable resource.
  • Better: Buy clothes made from recycled postconsumer polyester, like Patagonia's Capilene 1 T-shirt. And when you're done with it, Patagonia will recycle it into other apparel.
  • Best: Hold off on new purchases and wear your existing apparel as long as you can.
What I do: I have no idea how environmentally friendly my clothes are, but I do recycle my clothes by giving them to my mom or the local thrift store. Since I just started running, I've been buying a lot of gear, but I am going to try to make do with what I have for now. I do need a few things for winter running, but after that I am done! :)

Make a Difference
  • Good: Donate to the Rails-to-Trails Conservancy, local parks boards, or other organizations that create and promote new trails or running paths.
  • Better: Volunteer to clean up a local trail, or adopt a road you like to run on.
  • Best: Organize a recycling drive at a local race where participants can bring old gear.
What I do: None of these apply, but I should look into getting more involved in making my running community more green.

Care for Your Gear
  • Good: Restore the breathability and repellency (and extend the lifespan) of your waterproof gear by washing it with McNett's ReviveX.
  • Better: Reduce your consumption of plastic and water by switching to superefficient concentrated forms of laundry detergents.
  • Best: Wash your apparel in cold water and hang dry. (Bonus: Your clothes won't pill, and they'll last longer.)
What I do: I always wash all my clothes in cold water. I do not even know when was the last time I washed anything in warm or hot water. We recently installed a clothes line in the backyard, and I am actually enjoying hanging all our laundry to dry every weekend.

Fuel Up
  • Good: Recycle energy-bar wrappers with the Energy Bar Brigade (see terracycle.net), which up-cycles them into other products. For each wrapper you save, sponsors give 2 cents to a charity you pick.
  • Better: Make your own energy bars. You can buy mixes or see page 41 for a recipe.
  • Best: Eat one less serving per week of meat, which requires significantly more fuel and water to produce than other sources of protein.
What I do: Ever since I started losing weight, I've been trying to eat less meat as well. I go through phases, but I am definitely eating way more veggies than I used to and my meat portions are a lot smaller. I need to get back to Meatless Mondays.

Cross-Train
  • Good: Run outside whenever you can (rather than inside on a treadmill).
  • Better: If you need snowshoes, a bicycle, or a set of weights, purchase gently used equipment rather than new gear. Try buying it from someone local through a resource like Craigslist.org.
  • Best: Leave your car in the driveway and bike or run to the gym once a week.
What I do: I hate the treadmill, so running outside is a given. I am in the market for a new bike and plan to check out our school's bike auction next week. I bike to work at least 4 times a week and to run errands whenever possible.

Deal with Old Shoes
  • Good: Wear them casually afterward. They may lack cushioning for a long run, but they're fine to walk the dog.
  • Better: Donate them to Nike's Reuse-A-Shoe program, which recycles the shoes to help surface new tracks and for other uses.
  • Best: Donate them to Soles4Souls, Shoe4Africa, or One World Running, outfits that give shoes to needy people. For more information, check out runnersworld.com/donate.
What I do: I just bought my 3rd pair of shoes, but still using my 2nd pair. I mainly bought these new shoes now to break in a bit and wear at my first 1/2 marathon. I am using my 1st pair to bike and other non-running activities. I am going to look into donating shoes once I start accumulating more.

4 comments:

Holly said...

I loved this idea and borrowed it for my post !:)

Lacey Nicole said...

I really like the format you have going on here!!! topics and the good-better-best breakdown with what you do. Thanks!!!!

DatabaseDiva said...

The #2 race on the Runner's World list is the Nature's Path Whidbey Island Marathon, which isn't my hometown, but is fairly close. I ran it in 2008, and was impressed with the effort they made to keep it green. The only plastic I saw throuhout the event was a roll of mylar blankets that they passed out at the end of the race (it was cold, rainy & windy). This reminds me. Save your mylar blankets, and reuse them. They can be folded up pretty small. We use ours before and after races. Much friendlier than throwing garbage bags on the ground!

Scale Junkie said...

Great lists!!

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