How to Take a Road Trip from New York to Washington DC for a Half Marathon

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Aerial View of Washington DC

Washington DC is the perfect location for a half marathon: being the nation’s capital, the Rock n Roll Washington, DC Half Marathon course meanders along some of the most iconic attractions of Washington DC. Imagine running with people of all ages, races, backgrounds, and abilities amongst a backdrop of the US Capitol, national monuments, and the Smithsonian Museums. Here’s how to plan a half marathon and road trip to DC from New York City:

Training in the gym for a half marathon

Training:

Preparing for a winter half marathon when you live in the northeast U.S. is not easy. Finding ways to train indoors or in classes is essential when the weather outside is sleety, slippery, snowy, and or icy (it defeats the purpose of training if you slip and break something before the race). Kevin Hanson, Coach of the Hansons-Brooks Original Distance Project recommends a couple of quick on-the-road type things that can be done on a treadmill or stationary bike. “Fartlek (speedplay) type workouts are total of 30 minutes and definitely raises the heart rate to the point where you know you have accomplished something,” says Hanson. “You can also choose to do a progression workout, which for a total of 30 minutes you can change the increase of tempo of a workout without recovery intervals.”

2019 Buick Enclave GMC

Drive

A late winter, early spring road trip requires a vehicle that you can trust to get you from point A to B in varying weather conditions. For example, my entire four and a half hour drive from New York to Washington DC involved heavy rain. With the 2019 Buick Enclave, my drive was made easier as it was tough to see cars in my peripherals with all the rain. The Enclave’s side mirrors have yellow flashing lights when someone would approach my blind spot. Also, because I arrived in Washington DC late in the night, I almost forgot my gear and overnight bags in the vehicle. After I parked, the dashboard had a message: “Rear seat reminder look in rear seat”. Not to mention, the beautiful SUV was an attractive vehicle to valet at upscale dining and hotels in DC before and after the race.

My race day essentials and medal in the back of my 2019 Buick Enclave

Race Day

The race begins off the Washington Monument and has a few challenging hills (around 4 or 5) near Adams Morgan and the Stadium Armory neighborhood, which weaves at the last couple miles at the finish line. With picturesque sights as you cruise along the Potomac River, you also get to catch a glimpse of the John F Kennedy Center for Performing Arts; diplomatic residences; and the historic homes of Dupont Circle. My pace was a cool 10 minute mile, which I maintained with a running buddy. Although I prefer to race with no music (just the bands that the Rock n Roll organization provided every few miles on the road), there were other racers around me tuning into the United Airlines #RnRDC Playlist which had a diverse range tracks like “Bring Em Out by T.I.” to “Heroes” by David Bowie. I finished the race with high energy, but cold ears and fingers. The complimentary slices of pizza at the finish line were a warm welcome.

Stay

VRBO has tons of rental options in Washington DC that will put you walking distance or a short subway ride away from the start (or finish line). From brownstones to condos, choose units in trendy neighborhoods like Georgetown or Capitol Hill. The convenient part of VRBO is that they are entire-home rentals

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