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Editor's note: Updated June 2017.
Surviving the District during the unbearable summer temperatures can be nearly impossible. But don't throw in the towel just yet. There's several places around the city where you can run that will help keep you cool(er), comfortable and hydrated!
Georgetown Waterfront: There's easy access to shaded trails—like Rock Creek Park, the C&O Canal towpath and the Capital Crescent Trail—and there's even a bonus waiting for you at the end. The Georgetown Waterfront Park fountain has numerous springs that spurt out water and it's not only encouraged to play in the water, but highly recommended. There’s nothing more refreshing than dousing yourself in this fountain after a hard run on one of the nearby trails.
Hains Point: This spot is not only a break from the crowds on the Mall, but also a utopia for staying hydrated. Equipped with numerous water fountains along the 3.1-mile loop, this spot is reasonably shaded and seamlessly flat. If you have a car, parking isn’t usually a hassle around here and you can even pack a cooler full of food (and Gatorade) so you can enjoy a nice picnic with a view afterwards.
D.C. Public Pools: Give your legs a much-needed break this summer and try out pool running in one of the many D.C. public pools. Free to D.C. residents (with proof of residency), you’ll give your legs a break from pounding the pavement and keep your body cool in the water. DPR recently opened their outdoor pools and their indoor pools are open year-round. Check out this article from USA Triathlon with tips for proper technique and a few sample workouts. Check out 3 Things To Know About DC Public Pools before more information about pool locations, rules, and hours.
The Gym: If you’re not careful, running in certain temperatures can sometimes be dangerous. And it’s not only the temperatures you need to consider. When humidity rises, so does the heat index. If it’s a 90-degree afternoon with 60 percent humidity, the heat index goes up to 100 degrees. Sometimes a day at an air-conditioned gym on the treadmill is exactly what your body needs to keep you cool while still getting a run in.
Lincoln Memorial Steps on Wednesday Mornings: Although the original November Project out of Boston, Mass. was actually founded during the coldest months of the year, D.C.'s November Project can help keep you running all summer long—and for free. There’s a spot you can keep your sports drink and water for when you need it, and there’s plenty of hugs and elbow high-fives that will keep you coming back. With either a 5:30 a.m. or 6:30 a.m. start time, you’ll be able to take in the sunset during the coolest time of day. And if you're looking to put in some more mileage other than stairs, it's pretty easy to find a buddy/group to run with in this group afterwards.
Note: The November Project also hosts Monday and Friday morning workouts. Read more ...