As runners, we spend a fair bit of time in the outdoors. We get to experience both the best and worst aspects of our local environments, so it’s no wonder that so many of have a deep connection with where we live. This is why Lonely Goat Running Club are supporting Keep Britain Tidy as part of our 1% for the Planet pledge. For many runners, this love for where they live has motivated them to take up plogging.
What is ‘plogging’?
Plogging is litter picking while running. It’s not necessarily a new phenomenon, but in the past few years, it’s been given a name and grown in popularity.
The word ‘plogging’ is a combination of the words ‘jogging’ and ‘plocka’, which means ‘to pick’ in Swedish. The expression was promoted by Erik Ahlström in Stockholm in 2016 and has spread across the planet.
The benefits to the planet are clear. The less litter that lies on the street or in the natural environment, the better the prospects for nature, animals, the oceans, and us. Anything that can be done to divert rubbish to the correct disposal methods has got to be a good thing.
In addition to the usual fitness benefits that running offers, plogging introduces an added, core-exercise element. Running is a linear motion, whereas plogging involves squatting, bending, twisting and reaching, which works a broader range of our muscles.
Also, the stop-start nature of plogging makes it similar to a fartlek session (another wonderful Swedish word for unstructured speedwork), with changes of pace working different energy systems.
It can be dispiriting to see litter where it doesn’t belong. Plogging is rewarding as you get to do something about it.
Plus, if you do a plogging session with someone else, you get to share that feel-good feeling with others.
Goats who plog
There’s already a few Lonely Goats who include a spot of litter picking when running, so you’ll be in good company. Martin Drewery is one of them, and he posted the following about one of his runs in the Facebook Chat Group:
Finally made it out for a run and ‘yes’ I was prepared to run even if it had been raining. Concluded with a walking warm-down litter collection to keep the playground tidy and warm my mental cockles.
It’s not just about looking after your local area, but can help you look after yourself, too.
How to plog
All you need is your usual running kit, plus some gloves and a bin bag. A litter grabber and hand-sanitiser can be a good idea too. Go out, fill your bag with rubbish, and dispose of its contents responsibly.
If two or more of you go out (if there aren’t any coronavirus lockdown restrictions preventing you from doing so), you can put different kinds of rubbish in different bags, so that you can easily separate the litter into the appropriate bins when you’re finished.
Love where you live
Yes, your Strava record is going to look erratic, with a slower-than-usual average pace, but pop ‘Plogging’ into the title of your activity and you might just start a local craze – The more ploggers the better!