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If the thought of a workout makes you think exclusively of treadmills, stationary bicycles, stale scenery and boredom, then it's time to change your perspective - training is boring only if you make it boring. With a wealth of parks and trails, Washington, D.C is the ideal urban environment for outdoor activity. Break up the monotony and get fit with the amazing routes throughout the city.
Hike the Billy Goat Trail
As one of the most well known hikes in our nation’s capital, the Billy Goat Trail in Great Falls Park is the perfect spot to escape from the hustle and bustle of the DC-area. This trail has three sections for you to choose the one right for you. For the more experienced hiker, try Section A - a technical and strenuous 1.75 mile trail. Looking for a dog-friendly path? Then Section B or C might be a good option as both are dog-friendly though Section B is a bit shorter (1.4 miles) and more challenging, while Section C is longer (1.6 miles) but easier to climb. Witness spectacular views of the Potomac River as you wall along the trails. Pro tip: bring good, comfortable hiking shoes or sneakers that drip well on rocks and hills, water, snacks, sunscreen and map.
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Run Along the Chesapeake & Ohio Canal Towpath
The historic C&O Canal used to be a transportation system for various sellable goods that were headed to the city. Today, it’s merely a charming waterway with a towpath that stretches 184.5 miles between Georgetown and Cumberland, MD. Choose any distance you like to enjoy a great jog. The closest D.C. starting point is at the Georgetown Visitor Center at Wisconsin and M Streets. Pro tip: If you want to leave the trail and get wet, kayaking and canoeing are popular water sports in the Park.
Go for a Stroll Through the National Gallery of Art's Sculpture Garden
Enjoy a gracious walk through the entire six-acre garden and one of the city's best outdoor venues, located between 7th and 9th streets on Constitution Avenue on the National Mall. You will walk along world-renowned collection of 17 major scale sculptures made by both modern and contemporary artists. Pro tip: if a long walk has increased your appetite, there are seasonal indoor and outdoor dining for a quick bite.
Bike Rock Creek Park
Rock Creek Park cuts through the center of the nation’s capital and offers mostly flat, paved trails without a roadway or car for miles. On weekends, Bingham Drive, Sherrill Drive, and parts of Beach Drive in Rock Creek Park closes to vehicular traffic so you can swoop in and take the road over - making it an oasis in a bustling city. Pro tip: if you're logging longer distances, opt for a moisture-wicking cycling jersey, shorts or tights that won't get in the way of your gears.
Participate in November Project D.C. Event
There are some serious perks to starting your day with a sweat session versus ending it with one. If you wake up early enough, you can enjoy an inclusive free workout three times a week organized by November Project D.C. From running hills combined with body-weight exercises at the U.S. Capitol, to running the stairs of the Lincoln Memorial to circuit workouts in different parts of the District, this group will keep you moving throughout the rest of the day. Pro tip: don’t feel pressured to complete the extra push up or run the hill if you’ve had enough for your morning; you can do whatever amount of output that suits you best.
Run with Mayor Muriel Bowser and hundreds of D.C. residents on New Year's Day in Anacostia Park for the 6th annual #FITDC Fresh Start 5K. We'll run to reclaim DC's title as the fittest city in the country. To sign up for free and find out more, visit MyFITDC.com.