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Cross Training For Runners

The Beginners Guide To Plogging – How To Get Started & Stay Safe

5 Mins read

What if I told you that there’s a new fitness trend that has it possible to get fit and take care of the environment at the same time?

It does exist, and it’s known as plogging. Hordes of runners around the globe are picking up litter while out logging the miles.

Started in Sweden, this amazing fitness trend has crossed the borders, gaining popularity among fitness nuts and environmentalists alike.

So what is plogging, and why should you care?

That’s where this article comes in handy.

In today’s article, I’ll be delving deep into the art and practice of plogging.

More specifically, I’ll look into:

  • What is plogging
  • The benefits of plogging
  • How plogging got started
  • How to start plogging
  • How to stay safe while plogging
  • And so much more

Sounds great?

Let’s get started.

What is Plogging?

Plogging is one of the recent fitness trends sweeping the streets—both literally and figuratively.

Plogging is a craze that first began in Sweden. The movement was started by Erik Ahlstrom in 2016, then it has since spread to other parts of the globe, mainly via social media.

The term plogging combines the Swedish word for pick up, or “plocka upp,” and “jogga,” jogging. So the quirky name is a combination of jogging and pick up, and that’s exactly what this workout is about.

The principle is simple – while logging the miles, you’ll essentially be also gathering up lither you come across on the streets or trails—walking or cycling are also viable options.

Next, you throw the trash out or recycle it, so it doesn’t end up hurting the environment.

The Benefits

Now that you know a thing or two about plogging, let’s look at what the trend has to offer.

  • Reduce Trash

Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past few decades, then you’re familiar with the impact of plastic pollution on the environment.

Three hundred million tons of plastic are made every year, and roughly 9 million of it gets dumped in the ocean. This puts many species on the verge of extinction. It also threatens our own survival if week keeps this harmful behavior.

Plogging, by definition, helps reduce the amount of plastic litter on the sidewalk, walks, streets, roads, and trails.

  • No Taboo

The average person might see litter on their path and walk away, assuming someone else will pick it up.  But plogging puts the responsibility on the person and turns it into a fun workout.

Additional resource – Running Vs Jogging

  • Full Body Workout

Plogging is a full-body workout. Not only will you be running around, but also lunging and squatting to reach for rubbish, which builds total-body strength.

What’s more?

The more litter you amass, the heavier the bag becomes.

Just remember to keep switching sides when carrying the bag so you can make sure you’re building balanced muscles on both sides of your body.

Additional Resource – When it’s the best time to run

  • Feels Amazing

Plogging makes you feel good because you’re doing good. Not just engaging in something selfish.

I don’t want to sound like a broken record, but we’re all responsible for our environment. Collecting a few pieces of trash is helps solve this issue.

By plogging, you’re empowering yourself—and others—to build a cleaner, healthier community.

  • Ideal For Beginner Runners

Plogging suits beginner runners well, thanks to the regular breaks. As a beginner runner, there are no rules on how slow or fast you have to run.

As long as you keep going, you’re on the right track

  • Great Group Exercise

Plogging is also a social affair as it’s usually performed as a part of a group run. Just don’t let that hold you back if you’re a solo runner—solo is okay too.

What’s more, plogging in groups helps cover more ground—the more ground, the more trash collected.

How To Get Started

It’s easy to get started as a plogger.  All you need is the right gear for the job and the willingness to collect the trash. The rest is just details.

Here are a few tips to help you get the most out of your plogging experience.

The Gear

Whether you prefer to use a trash picker, or a durable pair of gloves, make sure you have a safe and foolproof method for collecting the litter. This makes handling the trash easier and safer.

I’d recommend a pair of thick but sturdy gloves. Make sure they’re washable, breathable, and still protect your hands from the elements.

What’s more?

You also need a good-quality trash bag to dispose of the trash. Most garbage bags could get too heavy or big to run with, so you’re better off with a mid-size plastic bag. I’d recommend that you take two–that way, you can devote one for trash and the other for recyclable litter.

Additional Resource – Here’s how many miles should a beginner run

Choose The Right Time Of The Day

While plogging, you’ll likely be taking your eyes off the road more than usual; that’s why the key to wear high-visibility clothing. Stand out. You have to remain seen the entire time.

You should also choose times of the day that suit your lifestyle, preferences, and the local weather.

For example, if it gets too cold in the early morning, consider the afternoon for plogging.

Additional Resource – Here’s how to start running two miles a day.

Start Collecting

To do plogging right, stop and collect any trash you see along your running—jogging or walking—route.

Once your trash bag is full, have the stuff thrown away or recycled—depending on its content.

This might not seem like too much, but it’ll eventually reduce the amount of damaging trash that makes its way to the ocean and damaging wildlife as well as tainting drinking water sources.

Pay Attention

Every piece of litter matters.

No piece of plastic is too small to be removed from the environment.

Be careful when collecting trash—anything that’s likely a health risk, such as needles, broken glass, nappies, and condoms, are best left alone.

The most common type of trash out there is typically single-use food and drink packaging, especially bags, coffee cups, plastic bottles, straws, etc.

Items like these have a huge negative impact on the environment as they can take roughly 500 years—or more—to biodegrade, and most of the plastic litter finds its way into the seas.

Once you have made your litter quota of the day, make sure to dispose of it in the bin or at the recycling point.

How much trash to collect is up to you. There are no rules. You decide.

The more you plog, the better your sense of how much garbage you like to collect—or are able to carry in one go.

Additional resource – How to choose trail running gaiters

Keep it Safe

Make it a rule to only pick up objects you consider safe to pick up.

As a rule, avoid collecting sharp items or broken glass. You don’t want to end up with a nasty cut.

What’s more?

If you come across any dangerous items like razor blades or syringes, leave them where they are. Don’t mess around with this stuff.

Do you feel like you have to do it? Then only do so when you’re pretty sure you can do it without putting yourself in danger.

If in doubt, leave it where they are.

After you get home, you can ask for assistance from the local authorities or your towns’ sanitation department.

Additional resource – How to build the morning running routine

Pair Up

Plogging can be a great social activity.

It’s always fun to exercise with others. What’s more, more hands mean cleaner streets.

Feel free to invite some of your friends.

What’s more?

You can also cover more ground in a group.

And yes, there are plenty of plogging groups all over the country. Just be willing to look for them.

Vary Your Routes

Feel free to either use your regular running route or vary it up. You can find plenty of trash in parks, rivers, beaches, and woods. Trash is everywhere.

Additional Resource – Here’s your guide to cross country running


Once you’re done plogging for the day, post a picture of your “collection” and tag your friends, so they know what you were up to. Going viral helps spread awareness of #plogging.

This, in turn, entices other people to embrace the movement.


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