“We’re not in line with Orangetheory and other places like that,” says Christopher Hoffman, co-owner of the new Formula Running Center in Clarendon, as he shows off a spacious locker room. “We’re, in a sense, more of a premium boutique studio.”
Formula Running Center is the newest boutique fitness studio to stake its claim in Northern Virginia area, focused mostly on (you guessed it!) running.
There’s a stack of white bath towels in the corner, plentiful counter space and a hair dryer plugged into the wall. Just down the hall, the facility boasts a training room with 24 Woodway treadmills, what Hoffman says are “the best treadmills in the world,” and HIIT (high-intensity interval training) equipment.
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The location will serve primarily as an indoor training facility, where runners of all levels can take one-hour classes with a variety of workouts, paces and goals. There are currently eight coaches on board to teach different classes, such as sprints and intervals, or longer, more paced runs.
Runners will be able to track their live stats on a few screens around the room, or watch and follow a HIIT workout behind the treadmills. Afterward, members can hop in the shower, get into a recovery session or simply grab a granola bar and go.
There’s also a consultation room where runners can meet with a registered dietitian, monitor their heart rates, use the VO2 max machine and get a running-gait analysis.
And there are several types of recovery equipment. Aside from the yoga room and the two locker rooms, there is access to services such as the cryotherapy machine, a sports massage room, Normatec compression therapy sleeves, a cold tub machine (which mimics ice bath recovery) and an infrared sauna.
To the common eye, it feels as if you’re standing in a spin-off of an Olympic training center. Hoffman reiterates that alongside the training facilities’ list of offerings, there will also be towel service and amenities that go the extra mile—no pun intended.
“We’re not a generalized facility. We have a specific focus,” says Hoffman. “But even though we are going to have some very seasoned runners working out here, who will be using the recovery services and stuff like that, we think the majority of people coming in here are going to be in the novice and recreational running category.”
With Arlington labeled as the fittest city in the nation earlier this year, it’s not surprising that another fitness-focused location is popping up, ready to serve a niche portion of the population. Startups like DC-based [solidcore] and national brands such Flywheel and SoulCycle have seen the fitness-loving community react well to their presence.
Despite its differences compared to other boutique studios in the area (offering more than just a daily class schedule and shower room), Hoffman and co-owner Nicole DonVito don’t want people to think of it as an elite training center just for top runners.
“We’re trying to create a community atmosphere for runners here,” says Hoffman. “Maybe your goal is to just run a mile, or maybe your goal is to run an ultra-marathon. But it has been very important to us for this facility to just be very inviting for everybody.”
Members can also stop by to make use of the pit-stop area (indoors on weekdays, outside on weekends), where they can grab a water bottle or a Band-Aid if they need one, or can use the location as a starting point for a long run outside by storing away belongings in a locker.
When Hoffman and DonVito got into developing the space and focusing on the training, recovery, education and assessments, as Hoffman puts it, they needed to check all of the boxes for being “in the middle of the running community [in Arlington].”
The location offers everything Hoffman and DonVito wished they had in a fitness center, prior to opening it themselves. The duo met while working as attorneys in New York City (where DonVito is still located), and once Hoffman relocated back to NoVA, they decided to pursue the business venture in Arlington.
“This type of facility was something that didn’t exist,” says Hoffman. “It still, as far as I know, doesn’t exist for the average runner. You can piecemeal some of these things here and there, but putting it together for the day-to-day runner, we don’t know of another place like this.”
Monthly memberships are available, and those without a membership can purchase credit packs, with each credit going toward a class or recovery session. Pricing ranges from $30 for a single credit to $510 for a 20-pack. Memberships start at $104 per month.
The location will have a grand opening weekend on Friday, Nov. 2 and Saturday, Nov. 3, where pre-registered and interested members can check out the space, test out a few classes and kick-start the growth of the community. Free samples from health-based brands and running companies will also be on-site.
“The fun thing here is that everyone loves to run,” says Hoffman. “It will be fun to be around people that also have that same passion.” // Formula Running Center: 3101 Wilson Blvd., Suite 100, Arlington; $30-$510