Friday was the grim milestone known as “Quitters Day” — the day when, allegedly, motivation to stick to New Year’s resolutions begins to falter and fade.
Did Quitters Day hit you?
Well, maybe it’s not the willpower that’s weak — maybe it’s the particular promises you made to yourself. Too vague? Too specific? Too … boring? To help you get back on the path to success in 2024, we’ve come up with some ways you can change for the better that are actually fun. That you might actually want to do, rather than just wish you wanted to do. After all, research shows that lifestyle changes are more likely to stick when coupled with a dose of pleasure.
So get back on the saddle — and, this time, make it a joyride.
Goal: Exercise more
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You know you should get active. You prepared by purchasing ugly, reflective running shoes, or wicking yoga pants with a bit of flare. Except you just haven’t gotten around to joining a gym, so the only running those shoes are doing is errands to Trader Joe’s, and the cute yoga clothes have joined the pile of athleisure separates that form the basis of your work-from-home outfits.
But instead of trying to carve out time before work, what if you could get in some exercise at a place you already hang out on weekends — like a brewery?
It’s not as outlandish an idea as you might think. Alexandria’s Port City Brewing has hosted yoga classes and a regular running group for almost a decade. DC Brau’s BrauRunners have met up at the Northeast Washington brewery for runs and happy hours since 2017. Whether you’re looking for casual 5Ks or extended bike rides, you can find them at breweries from Ashburn to Annapolis.
At Port City Brewing, “we’ve always said that craft beer is part of the good life, and staying healthy is part of the good life,” says founder Bill Butcher. BeerYoga, which finds dozens of yoga mats spread out among the tanks in the brewhouse on Tuesday evenings, began as a benefit for the brewery’s packaging crew, Butcher says, as a way to keep them limber amid the repetitive motions of stacking and lifting cases of beer. From there, it evolved into a benefit for customers, too, with dozens joining instructor Melody Abella for an all-levels flow class, followed by a social hour in the taproom. (One beer or nonalcoholic hop water is included in the $20 fee.)
Every Monday, there’s Joggers and Lagers, a one-, three- or five-mile evening run along the Holmes Run Trail, not far from the brewery, beginning at 6 p.m. Two Saturday mornings per month, Port City is home to Pedals and Pints, in partnership with Handy Bikes, a bike shop located a short sprint down Wheeler Avenue from the brewery. There are both 10-mile and 30-mile excursions, and Handy Bikes offers pre-ride tuneups for early arrivals. Both are followed by happy hours in the taproom, which Butcher says have helped a community form. Joggers and Lagers is sponsored by Pacers Running in warmer months, but even when it gets dark early, runners still gather to go out on their own. “We can’t stop ’em, which is great,” Butcher says. “It’s a pretty tight group that runs together and supports each other.”
DC Brau’s BrauRunners were formed when runner Adam Duffy found himself doing a Ragnar relay with DC Brau co-founder Brandon Skall. The two talked about organizing an informal running club, which began in earnest in March 2017. Each monthly 5K run supports a different charity, and all participants get a free DC Brau at the end of the race. The next run is Jan. 21 at 11 a.m., followed by one on Feb. 25.
Initially, Duffy explains, the BrauRunners would start and finish their run at a bar that served DC Brau, but during the pandemic, the format shifted to starting and finishing at the brewery, located along Bladensburg Road NE. Duffy has mapped out five trails that rotate regularly; this summer, they hope to go back to visiting bars. Anywhere from 20 to 35 participants take part, with varying paces, though Duffy estimates most people run once or twice a week. He likes to hang out at the back of the pack to make sure everyone finds their way back to the taproom, where “most of the time, 100 percent” of the runners grab a beer afterward.
Other breweries hosting running and other athletic groups: Annapolis’s Forward Brewing organizes a 10-mile round-trip bike ride from the brewery every Tuesday at 6 p.m., and a 5K run or walk on Wednesdays at 6 p.m. Aslin Brewing’s Alexandria taproom offers a variety of events, including total body workouts (Jan. 20, $10) and yoga (Jan. 27, $25). The monthly Yoga and a Beer class at Lorton’s Fair Winds follows an hour-long vinyasa session with a choice of draft beer (Jan. 22, $25). The Brewery Running Series launched in Minnesota in 2012 but has since gone nationwide, including a branch in Virginia, with regular 5K runs at breweries around the state. Upcoming events in the D.C. area include Solace Outpost in Falls Church (Feb. 17), Dynasty Brewing in Ashburn (March 2) and Aslin’s Herndon taproom (March 9).