During the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, everyone was trapped indoors. Various jurisdictions had different policies on appropriate justifications for venturing outside. I vividly remember the DC National Guard being deployed to manage the flow of people into the nearby fish market. However, throughout the pandemic, outdoor and socially distant running or exercising was generally allowed. Because the gyms were closed and the outdoors were open, my miles run per week shot up dramatically. I even wrote a blog post about it in April 2020.
Now the pandemic has subsided, but I the running has not. In fact, I’m running more than ever in a hunt for a Boston Marathon qualifying time. During this expanded training, and throughout the past three years, I have run many of the local DC streets. I have updated the running heatmap that I published in 2020 after several thousand additional miles in the District. I’ve been told the premium version of the Strava run tracking phone app will make a similar map for you. This data did come from Strava, but I’ve created my own map on the cheap using a pinch of guile (read: R and Excel).
This version of the map features a larger geographic area to capture some of the more adventurous runs that I have taken to places like the National Arboretum, the C&O Trail, and down past DCA airport. The highest densities of runs are along the main streets around downtown, Dupont Circle, and the National Mall. Rosslyn and south of the airport were two areas that I wanted to explore more in my 2020 post, both of which show up in darker red on this new figure.
To complement the geographic distribution of runs is a visual distribution of average pace vs. run distance. This was a challenge to analyze because the data and dates were downloaded in Spanish (don’t ask), but eventually I was able to plot each of the 798 (!) DC-based runs over the past five years. The runs in 2023 are highlighted in red.
Luckily, the analysis reveals that many of the fastest runs for each distance are in the past 6 months. Progress! My rededication to running at a more relaxed pace for my five mile recovery runs is also visible. The next step is to fill in the space this figure with red dots for the rest of 2023 with the ultimate goal of placing a new dot in the bottom right corner by 2024. Wish me luck.