An All-Season Runner's Guide to Washington, D.C.

An All-Season Runner's Guide to Washington, D.C.

There are many cities across the U.S. that take running very seriously, and it shows. In this series, we'll be taking a look at just a few of these places that are worth checking out if you're an All-Season Runner. Each of these city guides are excerpted from our very first e-book, which you can download FREE by signing up for the All-Season newsletter here.

First up, Washington, D.C. 

Running in the District can be an incredible way to see the nation’s capital city. If you’re running through the National Mall, you’ll spot all of the well-known monuments to democracy and the buildings that help administer them — from the Lincoln Memorial, MLK Monument and Washington Monument, to the Capitol and White House. You’ll also have to navigate the many tourists who crowd these spaces, so considering it as sightseeing run rather than a training run is probably best. 

If you want to get outside the core, and hit your pace a bit more openly, another true gem of D.C. is the access to excellent trail systems. The Mount Vernon Trail is an 18-mile paved route that runs alongside the Potomac River. The Anacostia Riverwalk Trail is 20 miles of urban trail that can get far enough out of the city to feel like you’re out in nature. Another run within the city is to start out on the C&O canal, running the miles of path that go alongside the city’s canal system, or take in a hilly workout at the U.S. National Arboretum.

 Outside the city limits, the surrounding areas of D.C. provide more rustic trail running opportunities. The Seneca Creek State Park is one example, with an 11-mile trail system around a beautiful lake. Other such gems are available if you’re willing to drive out a little further.

[Photo via The National Arbortem]

If you’re looking for a proper trail race in the Washington area, the Fountainhead Half Marathon and 10k trail run are held in May. The courses for both distances are tough, with lots of elevation gain. And the views are said to be well worth it. 

There are some well-developed running groups in the city, including District Running Collective and Black Girls Run! Washington. Check them out on social for some more insights on great places to run. 

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Filled with dense urban spaces and wide open places, the diversity and regionality of the United States makes it perfect for continued exploration. For a runner, getting on your gear and heading out for a run is an excellent way to explore a new city – to take in the sights and discover the “feel” of a place, and to get your bearings for later, leisurely wanderings.

In this free ebook, we have prepared a list that highlights just a handful of the best U.S. cities for runners. For our purposes, we focus mainly on bigger cities, places that have a developed running culture, plenty of sights to see, urban or nearby natural trails.

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