As summer heats up training miles get longer and, we all know, it is always better to run with friends than alone. Every Saturday morning we meet and go for a long run and here is the breakdown on what happens and what you can expect.
When someone joins us for a long run, they should expect to find a group of folks running a variety of distances ranging from 4-20 miles. There are a variety of paces ranging from about 7:30’s – 11:30’s, with a concentration of folks running in the 9-10/10:30 pace range.
People should expect to have a variety of different course options that link together the area’s trails and pedestrian paths together in different ways so that the courses don’t get stagnant. We typically cover the Mt. Vernon, 4 Mile Run, W&OD, Capital Crescent, Custis, and Rock Creek Trails. We also tackle the Mall, as well as the neighborhood streets of Alexandria, DC, Georgetown, and many commuter courses in between these different locations. We make a point of getting out to Wakefield Park and Burke Lake once or twice a year, as well a couple of runs that start in Rock Creek. We do a run from Crystal City to Eastern Market for pancakes, the Pancake Run, twice a year. This tends to be one of the more popular runs that we do.
A typical Saturday will see anywhere from 30-50 folks, depending on who’s in town, the weather, and life in general. The run starts at 7am June through October, and 8am November through May. The first Saturday in June is when we switch to 7am, and the Saturday one week out from MCM we switch back to 8am.
We do not provide water stops on the run, so we strongly encourage all of the runners to bring their own hydration and energy along with them. After the run we do provide post run water, Gatorade (often donated to the group by the different folks in the group), and coffee, plus lots of post-run chatter. At the end of the run it’s kind of like watching a family reunion with everyone milling around and chatting. As we head toward MCM, we will do some runs designed to take folks along different chunks of the racecourse.
Other bits and pieces about the group: the long run has been going since the fall of 2006, when a small group of Alexandria Fun Run regulars started training for MCM together. Over the years faces change but the idea is the same: a long run that welcomes everyone regardless of pace or distance. We don’t have set pace groups with pace leaders but we do cover paces before each run, identifying folks going different pace ranges so people know who to pair up with. The more the merrier, we have a pace for you and running in a group is always an adventure worth taking.
Note: this Saturday is going to be a hot one. There is a Pacers Oasis on the trail by the Mt Vernon and Custis trails and the Key Bridge from 7-10am. The Oasis will offer free nutrition, hydration, and a chance to take a break in the shade. For more details on this and upcoming Oasis see this week’s Scoop.