Running the Zoo Lights!

I had such a fun adventure last night: I joined Roam Fitness for a special edition version of their awesome OutRun program (which is like your run club + boot camp combined – full review here), featuring the DC Zoo Lights!


I hadn’t been out to see the Zoo Lights in years, so it was really fun to experience it again! Zoo Lights takes place at the National Zoo in DC every year from the end of November through January 1. It’s free and open to the public from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. every night.

You know what’s even better than just seeing the Zoo Lights? Getting in an awesome workout at the same time. A big group of us all met at the Roam Fitness gym in the basement of the Savoy Suites hotel in Glover Park, ready for some festive fitness.

roam fitness dc outrun

They went over the agenda with us before we left – whew!



And then we were off, running towards the Zoo! The OutRun groups usually keep around a 10 minute mile pace while running, and then stop every so often for creative variations of body weight and stretchy band workouts. In this run, we stopped every 5 minutes for 5 burpees, and then we made 3 stops in the Zoo for more involved mini-boot camps. There was also a 20 pound sandbag that circulated around for the whole time. It was so hard running with it!

I was really excited when we got to the Zoo. So pretty!


Our first stop once inside the Zoo was a 6 minute AMRAP (as many reps as possible) of the following: 10 box jumps (or step ups) on a bench + 10 walking lunges. Repeat, repeat, repeat!


Once we finished that, it was back to the run and enjoying the pretty lights! This was hard to get a picture of, but it was my favorite – the lights move down the branches vertically and make it look kind of like light water drops. So pretty!


Our next stop on the adventure was a partner workout! While one partner did one thing, the other did another, and then you swapped. Here’s what we did:

  • Pushups + Sprint up hill, jog down
  • Air squats + Left side shuffle up hill, jog down
  • Mountain climbers + Right side shuffle up hill, jog down
  • Lunge jumps + Backwards run up hill, jog down

That one was tough! We took a short break and then it was back to running before our final stop. One group did squats with a row using the stretchy bands:


While the other group did tuck jumps, and then we swapped a few times. Blurry action shot!


From there we ran back to the gym (where an abs workout awaited), still stopping every 5 minutes for 5 burpees and still passing the sandbag around between the group, too. One of the instructors had a backpack with speakers in it and was playing fun Christmas/holiday music while we ran, which I loved! We were all singing along like fools for a lot of it. My college friend Sarah came out, too, and at one point we looked over at each other and both had the BIGGEST grins on our faces. What a blast!


By the time we got back to the gym we had apparently covered 6 miles, and had been out for 1.5 hours (usually their weekday OutRuns are an hour or less). Wow! I love awesome workouts that feel more like social outings. :) I’m actually pretty sore today from the adventure! Thank you to Roam Fitness for the sweaty fun, and for generously waiving my fee for this event. Their OutRuns are seriously among my very favorite workouts in DC. I feel like a lot of groups/gyms say they are friendly, but the OutRun group really is. Even if you’re new, you feel totally welcome and included. Everyone is just out to have a good time!

Roam Fitness is offering one more holiday-themed special edition OutRun this week – it leaves from Dupont on Wednesday night at 6:30 and includes the National Christmas Tree in the loop before ending at 7:30 back in Dupont. I’m going to try to make it out for that one, too – I haven’t seen the tree yet! If you’re interested in joining, you can sign up on their website. :) Also – if you or anyone you know is interested, they are looking for new instructors to expand their OutRun program. Email them for details!

  • If you’re in DC (or another city that does this), have you seen the Zoo Lights yet?
  • Have you ever done a run club + boot camp combined? It’s my favorite type of workout!


  1. 1

    Love that idea! It sounds like a fun night!

  2. 2

    gahh!! did NOT realize you were a part of this group. I was in the action last night too. GREAT recap – it was so fun! I plan on doing the WH tree adventure Wednesday.

  3. 5

    I walked the zoo lights with friends, ran it on my own as part of my regular run, and this week before I leave town for the holidays I look forward to running it with a friend. and maybe stopping for the free donuts.

  4. 7

    This look so fun! We don’t have anything like that at our zoo lights but maybe I should just make my own run/workout out of it

  5. 8

    I am not much of a runner but will run if there is an intention to it so this looks like a perfect & fun workout!!! I wish I lived in the DC area and could participate, thanks for the recap.

  6. 9

    What an awesome!! That looks like SO much fun!

  7. 10
    Roadrunner says:

    This looks absolutely awesome, Anne! Thanks!

  8. 11

    What an awesome workout idea! I agree – exercise that feels like a social engagement is that much more fun! Sounds like you got quite the workout in too without even realizing it! :)

  9. 12

    Looks like a lot fun!!!

  10. 13

    My boyfriend lives really close to the Zoo, so I’ve been to the Zoo Lights twice this year. I love it – it is such a fun holiday/ winter activity and what a great way to get a workout in.

  11. 14

    This sounds like so much fun…and a killer workout! That sand bag would have been brutal!

  12. 15

    Such a fun workout!! Bet you felt supercharged after it! We did a Christmas challenge in our gym on Saturday….30 min spin, 30 min circuit training…10 different exercises, 3 minutes at each, 30 seconds on off between the two of you and then 30 minutes outdoor bootcamp which would have been fine had we not had gale force winds and hailstones!! Brrrr! But I felt alive after it!

  13. 17

    We have a local running store that puts on “urban fit” workouts…seems like similar concept to this. Makes me want to try it next time they offer it~!

  14. 18

    Wow those lights look so pretty! I only know of a running club here not a combined running/bootcamp one but it sounds like fun.

  15. 19

    Wow, I’ve never heard of the run club+bootcamp idea. That looks like a fun time!

  16. 20

    This looks like so much fun! I am definitely going to see if my city does this :)

  17. 21

    This looks like so much fun! I wish there was some thing like this in my town! We have some awesome zoo lights but not running combined!


  1. […] holiday edition of Roam Fitness’s OutRun program! You guys will remember that I hit up their OutRun Zoo Lights adventure on Monday night; this time, the workout incorporated the National Christmas Tree near the White […]

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