Sustainable Endurance Training Tips

By Bruckner Chase, Swimming & Ocean Sports Editor

Positive Impact Aerobics

As endurance athletes we are constantly looking for ways to go further and faster with less effort and less negative impact on our bodies. As more of us spend time in the waves and wilderness, the environments we love are coming under even more stress than we are. Every athlete understands the need for balance. They are also the ones who can positively impact not just their own lives, but also the lives of those who first watch and then join in on their own endurance pursuits. Organizations such as NY Seascape, Plastic Pollution Coalition, Ocean Positve and Surfrider Foundation recognize that taking even the smallest donation or change can lead to a huge effect. The Hawaiian Ironman may have made us aware of what we could accomplish as a triathlete, but without the action of signing up or hitting the water the I-Dot tattoo was never going to happen. Here are a few ocean positive and earth friendly actions that can insure we have thriving waters and trails in which to train, race and play.


  • Cross train when you can by biking to your run or swim workout or running to the gym.
  • Tell WaWa you don’t need a bag for those two items.
  • Look for trails or training venues closer to home or work.
  • Shop local and look for companies giving back to their communities or the planet. A great source is the list of companies registered with 1% For the Planet.
  • Carry a water bottle at your next race and use one less cup. Use the aid stations to fill rather than grab if you have the time.
  • Carpool by contacting race organizers or host clubs to find out who is heading the same way from your area.
  • Look for eco-friendly hotels or local bed and breakfasts at your next overnight event. Check out the hotel’s website or look at
  • Use bio-degradable soaps and solvents on your bikes and gear
  • Just because it’s the newest doesn’t make it the best. With training gear becoming even more of a fashion rather than function issue make the lifespan of your training gear at least as long as your favorite Ironman Finisher’s T-shirt
  • Leave less than a trace when you hit the trails by packing that empty GU back out. Better yet earn rewards and ship them back to TerraCycle as part of GU’s program to performance energy packaging.
  • Make your post-race or pre-race dinner out an ocean positive choice by following Seafood Watch’s guide for sustainable seafood or support restaurants that source locally.
  • Ship your race gear and make it carbon neutral by selecting the UPS carbon off-set option


  • If you must have them then make the most of those water bottles and plastic bags.
  • Carry and use that eco-friendly tote bag in any store and not just the grocery store where it was purchased.
  • Patch your tubes.
  • Flaunt your “High-techness” at Starbucks by pulling out your own titanium spoon or stainless steal straw.
  • Turn in your timing chips. If the race is using the new disposable chips let the race directors know you prefer the re-useable ones. The disposable timing chips contain elements that are not biodegradable.
  • Take that down-tube shifting frame hanging in your garage to your local mechanic and discover the joys of fixed gear riding.


  • Give your training shoes a second life through a local recycling program or Soles4Souls.
  • Hated that brand new pair of goggles? Pass them to someone new or send them to the Legion of Ocean Heroes for use in a developing youth program in the South Pacific.
  • Turn in your timing chips and let the race directors know that even the new disposable timing chips can be re-used.
  • If your training spot or race does not have a recycle bin hold on to that can until you find one.
  • Support companies using innovative, recycled materials and environmentally friendly manufacturing processes.
  • Preserve your favorite venues by volunteering at beach clean-ups or trail maintenance days hosted by local environmental groups. Better yet don’t ever leave a workout without removing at least one piece of trash along the way.
  • Recycle good advice by becoming an advocate for sustainable training and racing.

Training today means paying attention to heart rate, power output, stride length, gps position, yardage and mileage. Stepping out the door for an easy run does not have to be that complicated, nor does being aware of our individual impact on the environment and our global community. Athletes are action types, so make those small actions add up and count.

Learn more by checking out some of the groups and companies working to make action easier for the long run.

Bruckner ChaseBruckner Chase is a triathlon and swim coach, ocean lifeguard trainer, endurance waterman and ocean advocate whose marine and community endeavors have taken him to waters around the world is places such as Australia, American Samoa, Denmark, Greece and Poland. He is a global ambassador for the Lifesaving World Championship 2018 organizing committee, and he is the Technical Director and Media Ambassador for the Red Bull Surf + Rescue Championships. Closer to his home in New Jersey he is a member of the Sea Girt Beach Patrol and the founder of the Ocean City Swim Club. He is a professional member of the US Lifeguard Association, the American College of Sports Medicine and the American Swim Coaches Association.

Bruckner’s athletic career spans the most challenging events on water and land. He competed as a professional triathlete, and he continues to be an elite level competitor in every endurance sport he takes on. On the water Bruckner has completed multiple ultra-distance swims and paddles in some of the harshest conditions imaginable: a record setting no wetsuit swim in Alaska, a 22-mile swim of Lake Tahoe and historic swims between the islands of American Samoa. Bruckner competes in professional surf lifesaving sports across multiple aquatic disciplines. He is the fifth American in history to compete in the iconic Coolangatta Gold Surf Iron Man in Australia, and in 2016 he became the only American to finish the event three times and the first to earn a spot on the winner’s podium.

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