Green Runners Guide to Eco-Hydration

By Rick Morris

One of the best ways to be an eco-conscious green runner is to avoid the use of resources. If you don’t use something, it won’t be wasted. Unfortunately, there are times that avoiding  the use of resources just isn’t possible. Hydration is one of those times. You must stay hydrated when you’re running, unless you want to end up being carted off the road or trail and enjoying a ride to your area hospital. You have to drink, but you can still be a green runner. Here are a just a few ways to hydrate the ecologically friendly way.

Bottle It Up

The most serious ecological problem with hydration is how to dispose of the millions of plastic water bottles that are tossed in our landfills each year. That plastic lasts forever. This one is also easy to solve – don’t use the bottles. Instead, use fill up your own water bottle or hydration pouch. You will be doing your part to clean up our planet.

Mix Your Own

Filling up your own water bottle is easy, but how about sports drinks. Do you really need to buy your sports beverage in the ecologically unfriendly plastic bottles? Of course you don’t. Buy your sports drink as a powdered or liquid concentrate and mix your own. Not only will you be a greener runner but you will also save money.

Go Big

I don’t like to drink tap water. I prefer to stay away from the chemicals. Does that mean you should buy the small bottled water and contribute to that environmental nightmare. No way! Purchase your natural spring water in the large, returnable, 5 gallon bottles. No waste and no energy required for recycling.

Choose Green

Races can be ecological disasters with all of the discarded water bottles and cups. Some races are trying to go green by using recyclable cups or even individual, refillable hydration pouches. Most of these green races also produce race shirts made from sustainable fabrics. Try to pick green races in your area. If there aren’t any, contact the race directors and ask them to take step to become more ecologically friendly.


This may seem like a no brainer, but many runners forget to recycle any plastics or paper products that they use for hydration. Be sure you recycle any materials you possibly can.

Above and Beyond

OK – You’re taking all the steps you can to be a green eco-hydrator. Is there anything else you can do?  Yes, there is. You can go above and beyond by cleaning up after others. It always makes me sick when I go to my area track for some speed training. There are always lots of plastic bottles carelessly left on the field and the trash cans are usually overflowing with those wasteful plastic bottles. The next time you go to the track, bring along a bio-degradable trash sack and fill it with those discarded bottles. Take them home and recycle them. Now pat yourself on the back for a green deed, well done.