Mapping Your DC Running Route

Written by Brooke Cary – Program Advisor, IPJ

Washington, DC was recently voted one of the most active cities in the United States. No matter the time of day (or the temperature) you will always see people jogging through the city. So, whether your style is short and sweet, or long and casual, DC has some great run routes for you.

But first, a few tips:

  1. Avoid the “short” streets. One of the most irritating things about running through the city are the stop lights. Having to reboot your momentum every 350 feet because the stop light changed is no fun. Before you start your run, be sure you stick to the longer roads for a smoother run, especially if you’re tracking your time.
  2. Safety (and joint health) first. DC is a concrete jungle. City routes can wreak havoc on your joints if you’re a regular runner. Make sure your shoes have a good amount of cushion and support for your arch.
  3. Switch it up. There are so many options. Get creative and mix up these routes, or do them backwards to avoid running into a rut.

Now, the routes!

Short and Sweet (1 – 3 mile routes)

  • Circle the Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool. This is a great route if you’re looking for something that’s easy, brief and just under two miles. Leaving from Potomac House, at the GW Campus.
  • Run to the Arlington Memorial Bridge to see one the best views of the Potomac River, then circle the monuments and head back for a slightly more challenging 3.4 mile run. If you’re feeling extra energetic, you can run the steps near the bridge.

Long and casual (4 – 6 mile routes)

  • This route is pretty self-explanatory, but a favorite route for DC runners. It’s a 4 mile run down to the Jefferson Memorial and back again.
  • On this route, you’ll get the best of both worlds: running by the waterfront and pass by the White House. Head down through the President’s Park and cross the Arlington Memorial Bridge.

Muscle slay (7 – 8 mile routes)

  • Run past the monuments to scope out some new landscape in DC like East Potomac Park. This 7.5 mile run will give you a good workout, while giving you some new scenery if you’ve already run the National Mall more than enough times.
  • Classic run to Capitol Hill – This route is just over 8.5 miles and avoids the majority of the irritating street lights (unless, of course, you need a breather). You’ll pass by several of the Smithsonian Museums on your way there and the Jefferson Memorial waterfront on your way home!

Finally, after a good run head over to Burger.Tap.Shake or Captain Cookie in Foggy Bottom for some delicious, well-deserved calories. Happy jogging!

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