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What you need to know about Plogging

Let’s do a little trash talking – literally!

Have you ever been on a beautiful run and noticed pockets of trash along the way? This happens to me almost every run and about once a month I do something about it. I hope after reading this blog you will too. This is a blog about logging.

Don’t worry, you can close your tab, I’ll define plogging for you before I go any further. Plogging is the combination of picking up litter and jogging – if you want to impress your friends, plogging comes from the Swedish verbs plocka upp (pick up) and jogga (jog).

A quick Google search will tell you plogging got its start in Sweden around 2016; I will humble brag that I was ahead of my time on this trend, getting my start as a plogger in 2013. I had just secured my first post-college job located in the business district of my hometown. My student loans were coming due and parking was expensive so instead of driving, I ran to and from work every day. On those runs home, I often got discouraged by the trash along an otherwise picturesque stretch of trail. Eventually, I began picking it up. A few months later, I officially adopted the trail and committed to cleaning it up weekly. The sense of pride I got from picking up other people’s trash was almost immeasurable – one man’s trash is another woman’s trail cleaning happiness.

I continue to pick up trash on a monthly cadence. Sometimes I go on a quick walk up and down my street, other times you’ll find me with a trash bag in hand for miles along the Charles River. Plogging is a great way to improve your community, give back to nature, and diversify your exercise routine.

Plogging is also a very easy thing to incorporate into your current running regime. Just getting into running and want to start with a walk/run approach? Go plogging! Feeling unmotivated to run? Go plogging! Tired and need a good reason to take an easy day? Go plogging! Want to celebrate Earth Day every day? Go plogging!

Does plogging sound like something you want to give a try? Great! Here’s my advice to prepare you for a successful plog.

What to bring / wear for Plogging

  • Good quality trash bags
    • a reusable canvas bag or doubled up brown paper bags. If you have a plethora of canvas bags, I recommend designating one as your plogging bag – one less plastic bag in the world! Just make sure you rinse it out between plogging sessions.
  • Gloves
    • I usually wear thin running gloves. These breathe better than latex ones, are washable (thus more sustainable), and still protect your hands from the elements.

How to mentally prepare yourself for plogging:

  • Set a goal before you go
    • How long do you want to plog for? This can be measured in miles, minutes, or bags filled.
    • What are you going to pick up? I typically pick up anything and everything I see but there is also good in just picking up (and then recycling) recyclables. Do what works for you and the area you’re cleaning up! Also, it’s Okay to have no-no’s – you won’t find me picking up dirty diapers.
    • Where are you going to plog? Are you going to plog for the entirety of your run or do you want to run to a specific area, clean it up, and run home? I prefer the latter, but both are just as good!
  • Be okay with being done
    • I’ll admit, I struggle with this often. I’ll set a goal to fill up a trash bag and even after the bag is full, I’ll try to shove in just one more piece of trash. It’s impossible for one person to clean up the world. Even though it might be a little frustrating seeing endless trash long after you’ve completed your plog, doing something is a whole lot better than doing nothing.
  • Celebrate yourself!
    • Once you’re done, take a moment to admire your efforts. Take before and after pictures. Call a friend and brag, maybe you’ll inspire them to do the same!

This Earth Day weekend, I hope you will join me in honoring nature by going plogging. If you post about your plogging on Instagram, tag @MarathonSports and @SauconyShadowRep and use the hashtags #PloggingDayMA and #PloggingAcrossMA so we can celebrate your accomplishments with you!