Running is one of the most popular forms of fitness for people of all ages. It is an excellent form of cardiovascular exercise, and it only requires a pair of running shoes. If you are participating in an upcoming 5K, 10K or half-marathon, you have a lot of training ahead of you, and you also have a lot of choices to make. Will you use a plastic water bottle every day? Will you eat prepackaged snacks? You may not realize it, but your choices can have a large effect on the environment. Here are some suggestions for making decisions that will save on resources.

  • Refuel: When you are training for a race, it is important to fuel your body with the right foods. Be sure to eat locally grown fruits and vegetables before and after running. Not only are they good for your body, but eating local foods reduces waste associated with transporting food and plastic waste from prepackaged snacks.
  • Hydrate: Dehydration increases the potential for cardiovascular stress and the risk of heat illness, so make sure you drink enough water – especially in the summer! Invest in a reusable water bottle so you can always stay hydrated and avoid using plastic water bottles.
  • Carpool: When you are going to a race, carpool with your friends or take public transportation. This will reduce your energy impact and save on gas money for you. It's a win-win!
  • Download: Download a running app to track your route instead of printing a paper map for a race. With apps like MapMyRun and RunKeeper, you can keep track of all your routes and stats digitally, and you can listen to music at the same time!
  • Donate: Most races have a variety of fruits, snacks and drinks available for runners after the race. Volunteer to bring leftover food from the race to a local food bank so it doesn't go to waste. You can also donate your gently used running shoes to those in need instead of throwing them away when you get new ones. Check out organizations like MORE and Soles4Souls to find a drop-off center near you.

Running races is a great way to stay active, be involved with your community and raise money for charitable organizations. Sign up for a race with your friends and family and encourage them to run with you. Take the extra step and make your run great for the environment, too.

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