Running is an inexpensive and flexible way to keep a New Year's resolution to get more active or lose a few pounds. The Washington, DC metropolitan area is lucky to have great outdoor running options and plenty of events to train toward if you need a deadline to help you meet your goal.
The Mayo Clinic offers a free online training schedule developed by Olympian Jeff Galloway to get you 5K run ready in just seven weeks, even if you are a beginner. A 5K run is 3.1 miles.
"Don't be daunted by the distance. A 5K run is a great distance for a beginner. And you can prepare for a 5K run in just two months," according to the Mayo Clinic website.
With the training schedule in-hand, you can pick a local race seven or eight weeks in the future and start working toward your goal.
Here's a list of several local 5K races that might be interesting to you:
- Jan. 5, Saturday Long Run hosted by Pacers. Gravelly Point Park by Ronald Reagan Airport, 8 a.m. to 10 a.m. (Arlington/Alexandria)
- Feb. 23 Have a Heart for Hoffman-Boston Elementary School 5K (Arlington)
- March 2 EmpoweRun 5K (Washington, DC)
- March 2 Bright Beginnings 5K (Washington, DC)
- March 24 Chris4Life Scope it Out 5K Run/Walk for Colon Cancer Awareness (Washington, DC)
- March 24 W&OD Trail 5K (Falls Church)
- April 5 Crystal City 5K Fridays (Arlington)
- May 12 2013 National Police Week 5K (Washington)
Or if you want to train for a longer race:
- Feb. 17 The George Washington Birthday Classic 10K (Alexandria)
- March 9 The Georgetown 10 Miler (Washington, DC)
- March 9 Four Courts Four Miler (Arlington)
- March 10 St. Patrick's Day 8K (Washington, DC)
And if you need a little companionship to make sure you put in the miles, local running and fitness shops often have group running options each week. There's a Burke Lake Runners group that meets in Burke Lake Park.
There is also a Potomac River Running store in Burke located at 5715 Burke Centre Pkwy for all your running needs. According to the Potomac River Running website, they also offer a free, weekly "Hump Day Dash" run on Wednesday nights starting at 7 p.m.
In Alexandria, Pacers in Old Town is a great resource for equipment, races and weekly runs for all levels. For moms, local group Moms Run This Town in Alexandria is also a great way for women to connect through running events. Moms Run This Town offers info on runs through a Facebook group.
This story has been updated.