Nation’s Triathlon Washington, D.C. • September 11 Register early, as this tri fills up well before race day. The popularity is attributed to the scenic course that winds past the monuments and memorials of the Nation’s Capital. The race includes a 1.5K swim in the calm part of the Potomac River past Arlington Cemetery, followed by a flat and fast 40K bike ride past the White House and Washington Monument, and finishing with a 10K run that goes by the Jefferson Memorial and U.S. Mint.
Big Lick Triathlon Huddleston, Va. • September 24 The Olympic-distance Big Lick has become legendary in triathlon circles for its festive atmosphere and scenic course at Smith Mountain Lake State Park. Racers launch into the water from the lake’s white sandy beaches and start with a 1,500-meter swim, before riding 40K on country roads with a favorable mix of hilly climbs and flat stretches. The race finishes with a 10K run inside the park on roads with similar topography.
Ironman 70.3 Augusta
Augusta, Ga. • September 25
If you’re ready for the half-Ironman distance, head down to Augusta in late September for a hearty 1.2-mile swim in the Savannah River, followed by a hilly 56-mile loop bike course on country roads, and finishing with a 13.1-mile double-loop course run that weaves around downtown. For racers in the Mid-Atlantic, the Ironman 70.3 Pocono Mountains takes place in Stroudsburg, Pa., on October 2.
Triathlon 101: Test the Water
You bike and run regularly, but you haven’t been in a pool since you were a kid. That’s the hiccup many potential triathletes confront. To combat this exact problem, swim coach Jay Peluso started his company Peluso Open Water in Richmond, Va. For newby swimmers, he offered some basic training tips.
Make sure you’re not kicking from your knee, like you naturally do when you’re running or riding a bike. You want to generate a relaxed, efficient kick from your hip.
Keep your head down toward the bottom of the lake or pool, as opposed to looking forward. A low head will raise your legs and hips and help eliminate too much inefficient kicking, resulting in early fatigue. Sight your position to stay straight by just lifting your eyes out of the water.
Successful swimmers need flexibility in their ankles and shoulders. Do simple back and forth ankle stretches while you’re sitting on the couch. An inexpensive elastic stretch band can be used while sitting at your desk to loosen your shoulders.
If you’re concerned about swimming in a crowd on race day, start to the far side of the pack. As a newcomer, you’re more than likely not going to win the swim leg, so let the pack go ahead of you. At first, you should also round buoys at a wide angle to avoid taking an elbow to the face.