In my experience, there are two types of runners: those that are happy to run the same routes year-in and year-out, and those that crave variety on their runs. No matter which camp you may fall in, the Pacers Running staff have some routes for you to consider.
If you are content to see how far out and back you can travel on the Washington and Old Dominion (W&OD) over and over, perhaps you won’t think this post has anything for you. But, depending on what your training goals are, you may be eager to blaze some new-to-you trails.
Here in DC and VA, we are lucky enough to have a wicked good system of runner-friendly trails and routes on a variety of surfaces. Freshen up your groove and see what some members of our Pacers Running staff suggest #ForEveryRun.
Hema’s River Views
Hema Khanchandani is a fun run leader at our Clarendon location. On Tuesdays and Thursdays at 7 pm you can join in as she guides a group on the Custis Trail.
On weekends you can find Hema crossing the Key Bridge to get her fix of river views and some sights on and around the Mall. After tagging along the Potomac and around the Tidal Basin, she loops back for home. But, she confesses she does not care to run uphill without the pleasant backdrop of the water. So, sometimes, in Rosslyn, she hops on the Metro for home. Hard to argue with that logic! Here is a map of Hema’s favorite run.
Side note, the hill from Rosslyn to Clarendon is a beast and that is a fact. If you listen to the Pace the Nation Podcast (which you should check out) Chris Farley, the owner of Pacers Running, admits to, even advocates, the use of a Capital Bikeshare bike to ride up that hill on the way home from his long run. He lives in Clarendon and does not always love ending his long run slogging to the summit. Clearly there is more than one way to avoid that hill!
Jenn’s Top to Bottom Run
Jenn Bingham works at Pacers Clarendon, leads fun runs from Pentagon Row and works some Pacers Running events like the GW Parkway Classic. Jenn’s favorite run route is a hilly one and takes you to some places around town you may not regularly see while running.
The route begins in Pentagon City where Jenn lives, then crests a major hill up to Cathedral Heights before finishing at Foggy Bottom. Once there, Jenn relies on Metro to ferry her home.
An option for this run is to veer off the Mount Vernon Trail and enjoy a nice soft surface by taking on the trails of Roosevelt Island. As you loop through, you will appreciate the sheltered remoteness from the hustle and bustle outside the park’s confines.
As you continue on the route, there are water stops available at a fountain across from the Key Bridge as well as another at the Lincoln Memorial. When you arrive at Foggy Bottom, stop for a snack at Starbucks or Whole Foods or even meet up with friends for brunch at District Commons– extra points if you get them to bring you some dry clothes!
Tripp’s Murals Tour
Tripp Southerland is the Footwear Buyer for Pacers Running– he selects and purchases all the shoes for all of the runners.
Tripp’s favorite local route will take you to a spot where you can uncover some hidden treasures you may have never had an opportunity to see on foot. The Metropolitan Branch Trail is a commuter trail in the heart of the city that runs from Union Station to Silver Spring, Maryland. You will find it has a unique urban character with incredible murals and public art works lining the way.
From the MBT, Tripp may run to Haines Point or even do a loop of the Mall depending on his plan for that day.
Katy’s Perfect Mix
Katy Sputo works at Pacers Alexandria, is a running coach, and does timing for RunWashington, so you can bet she has all sorts of ideas of where to go for her favorite local run.
When she selected her apartment, she picked it based on the proximity to the Mount Vernon trail but quickly learned it becomes congested during the summer months with bikers and runners alike. In seeking out other, less crowded options to get her miles in, she landed on a route that she really likes for its mix of greenspace and downtown streets in Crystal City. Here is a link to Katy’s favorite run.
Katy also hits the trails at Chinquapin from time to time. They are not the longest or most challenging trails but it gets you into the woods without a big effort. To make a decent run out of it you would need to do a few loops around the park. Chinquapin pulls you off your usual road running routine, and is a great way to reset your legs and your head.
Eileen’s This Way or That Way
Eileen Gould, the Manager at Pacers Fairfax, offers another option that you may not have tried yet.
She loves running the Cross County Trail that spans 40 miles across Fairfax County. The entrance closest to Pacers Running is off of Old Lee Highway across from Arties Restaurant. From there you have a can’t-go-wrong choice. You can run for miles in either direction– this way or that way– on a mix of dirt and paved/gravel trail and it is nicely shaded in the summer.
There you have it, a few options to weave into your running routine. If you have questions about running routes near a Pacers Running location, or in general, be sure to ask. Pacers Running staff love all things running and are happy to offer suggestions to keep you on track and loving your run.
By Heather Jeff