From our guest writer Paul in the UK
In 2016, a group of Swedish runners started picking up trash and called it ‘plogga’. The word is a combination of the Swedish words for picking up ‘plocka upp’ and jogging ‘jogga’. The world now calls it PLOGGING and it is a craze that is gaining more and more momentum.
So, simply put ,it is ‘picking up trash while out for a run/jog’.
With the world currently seeing a surge in the number of people taking up running during lockdown, it is worth looking at the benefits in joining in.
Let’s start with the obvious one …
Absolutely! You are removing trash from the area. That can only be a good thing!
It also has a knock-on effect; it raises awareness. You aren’t just picking up trash, as people are seeing you do it too. That is going to stick in their minds. It might come out later in a conversation they have with someone. Or maybe they even start joining in! You can inspire others and make your impact even greater.
The environmental benefits are of course much deeper than this, but if you are reading this, I suspect you already understand all the implications of picking up trash. So instead let’s look at other benefits.
It is a great way to stretch
It is so easy to forget to stretch or warm up the muscles when you go out for a run. This is a brilliant way of warming up, improving flexibility and adding movement beyond the simple forward motion of running.
Many runners use plogging as a warm-up or cool-down activity.
A lot of people new to jogging/running can feel self-conscious when they first start running. Plogging can be a great way to start.
You can use it to catch your breath or to begin gently.
A good tip for beginners is to start with a combination of walking and jogging. Picking up trash on the walking segments really helps you feel like you are achieving something; which you are!
It is great fun as a group activity
In Sweden, it started as a group activity, and that is really where some fun can be had. Maybe you can suggest to your running friends to do a plogging run once a month.
You will be surprised how much fun it can be! I guarantee you will soon be sprinting against each other to get to the trash first.
Runners tend to run too fast. Most runs should be done at a speed where you can hold a conversation, but getting a runner to do that can be a real challenge sometimes. Plogging is a great way of forcing a slower pace.
Tips / Next Steps
To help you get the most out of it and to get you started, here are some extra tips
- Find a local group. Facebook and other local social media channels are a great place to find a group who do it already.
- Plycling/Palking? You don’t have to limit yourself to running, try doing it with cycling (plycling) or walking (palking). It can be combined with any activity.
- Set boundaries. Often running groups and individual ploggers will split their runs into a plogging and running segments, such as plogging for the first 2kms only and then running the rest. Doing it this way means you still get a nice run in too. There are no rules, do what works best for you!
- Be safe. Lastly but very importantly (especially during the pandemic) be safe. There are lots of ways to be safe, and perhaps the easiest is to use a clothes peg; it is small and handy to use. And there is no need to pick up the first piece you see, so wait until you see a piece that is easy to pick up safely.
Notes from our Editor
Thanks for great pictures Paul!
You can click on any image above for a larger version.
You can read more and really learn a lot from Paul’s blog and Instagram links below.