You don't have to be in the military to enjoy the Academy.

If you've been to or live in Annapolis, chances are you are very familiar with the Naval Academy. You know it's there, you know there's restricted access, and you know it's a major point of pride for the city.

I love going for runs on the Naval Academy campus for several reasons: it's beautiful, it's relatively low-traffic, and it feels safe. I mean, how many places can you go for a walk or run that you have to show your ID before being allowed access? Also, fitness is the Naval Academy's bread and butter. You can't be a midshipman and be out of shape — it's literally not allowed. Whatever kind of workout you're doing, chances are someone on campus has done it first and no one's going to question why you've suddenly broken your stride to drop and do 10 push-ups. Fartlek, anyone?

But if you want to go for a run at the Academy, you should probably pay attention to these rules and suggestions:

1. Always bring your ID.

Anyone older than 18 years old needs this. It's an absolute must. You will not be allowed on the yard without a proper identification card. And it can't be a passport. It has to be the actual, government-issued ID. If you've got your license, you should be good to go. If you're a D.O.D. employee or already part of the Navy, then you've really got nothing to worry about — just show the guard that card.

Word to the wise, know where your ID is before walking up to the gate. The guards don't like to have to wait for you to fumble around, looking for your card. Plus, it can make them nervous. If you're in a vehicle, DO NOT GET OUT. Don't leave your wallet in the backseat. This makes the guards super-nervous because they don't know you and they don't know what you're really looking for. However, if you're not a D.O.D. employee, you don't have to worry about this — you won't be allowed to drive on to the Academy property anyway.

2. Leave your athletic bag at home.

Technically you can bring a bag with you, but it'll just slow you down as you go through the gate. You'll have to put it through a scanner like you would at the airport, and don't you just want to get your workout started anyway? 

3. Avoid the ceremonial areas.

Be respectful. There are special spots on the Academy campus where running, biking, and Fido are not allowed. Maybe just avoid running or riding by Bancroft Hall. Don't stress too much: "ceremonial areas" are clearly marked with signs. Keep your running route to the following places: the sea wall, Hospital Point, and Decatur Road from Alumni Hall to Gate 8.

4. Run along the sea wall.

It's not a must, but I highly suggest it because it's beautiful. You get a great view of the water, can stay away from traffic, and won't stumble into any areas where you shouldn't be.

5. Leave your earbuds at home.

Audio headsets aren't allowed. Period. It's probably so you can hear traffic, alarms, ceremonial cannons, etc. It's just good to be aware of your surroundings at all times, no matter where you are. Plus, there's a lot of history to soak in on the Academy property. You don't want to miss it!

Have you ever gone for a run at the Naval Academy? Share your tips for visiting in the comments below!

The Run-Around is a weekly feature, focusing on fitness in and around Annapolis, MD.

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