For access to all of our training, gear, and race coverage, plus exclusive training plans, FinisherPix photos, event discounts, and GPS apps, sign up for Outside+.
Traveling to the nation’s capital? Here are locals’ recommendations on where to swim, bike, run (and refuel!)
Washington D.C. is a hub for triathletes, and for good reason—the nation’s capital has a variety of options to fulfill your training needs. We asked local triathletes for all their favorite places to swim, bike, run and eat and here’s what they recommended.
(Thanks to triathletes and Nation’s Triathlon ambassadors Adrianne Brakefield, Dustin Renwick and Davy DeArmond, and local triathletes Shelly Sinclair and Steve Laico for the help!)
Where to swim:
The Arundel Olympic Swim Center (aacounty.org) offers multiple masters groups, including the Annapolis Breakfast Club, which swims daily at 6 a.m., and a triathlon-specific masters program. The center has an $8 admission fee and flexible hours for lap swimming. There are two D.C. public pools popular with local triathletes: an indoor pool located at Wilson High School (aap.dpr.gov) where the D.C. Triathlon Club Masters Swim Program swims, and an outdoor pool located at Hains Point (app.dpr.gov).
Where to bike:
Packs of cyclists ride popular routes including the Mount Vernon Trail extending out to the Mount Vernon Estate in Alexandria, Va.; Beach Drive, which is a series of closed roads for a flat out-and-back ride in Rock Creek Park, and a 56-mile loop from Georgetown to Seneca, Md. The route takes riders along the flat and fast MacArthur Blvd. to the rolling hills of River Rd. If you’re in the Annapolis area, locals love the Annapolis Triathlon Loop—25 miles of flat, fast roads, challenging climbs and one major descent. Check this website (http://bikewashington.org/routes/all.htm) for a database of bike routes.
If you have any cycling or multisport needs, triathletes recommended Bike Doctor Arnold (bikedoctorarnold.com), owned by Steve Ruck, the vice president of the Annapolis Triathlon Club. The shop offers bicycle service, fittings in the “Speed Studio” and carries all of the accessories you would need for a successful training season or weekend in D.C. Locals also recommend Tri360 (tri360.com) in Arlington, Va., and the Bike Rack (thebikerackdc.com) in Logan Circle.
Save money from bike transport and rent a bike during your travels in DC. Big Wheel Bikes (bigwheelbikes.com/rentals) offers bike rentals for mountain bikes, road bikes and performance hybrids or rent directly from the owner by finding a bike on Spinlister.com.
Where to run:
If you haven’t done a monument hop yet start there—running from one monument or memorial to another is an easy and scenic way to rack up the mileage (just be sure to bring your metro card if you get too far from familiar territory). The C&O Canal out of Georgetown offers flat running loops and Roosevelt Island is a nearby escape from the city with a one-mile trail within the island. Running routes can also be found along locals’ favorite bike paths, including Rock Creek Park Trail and Hains Point.
Where to fuel:
Crumbs and Coffee is a popular spot for a quick post-workout breakfast, and many local triathletes note Busboys and Poets (busboysandpoets.com) as a great place for brunch after a morning ride and is known for their sweet potato pancakes. City Dock Coffee (citydockcafe.com) is also a triathlete hub in the Annapolis area. If you have time, check out Birch and Barley (birchandbarley.com) for Sunday brunch—the Logan Circle restaurant offers more than 500 beers and is famous for their chicken and waffles.
Where to race:
The iconic Events DC Nation’s Triathlon, owned by Triathlete.com parent company Competitor Group, Inc., offers a unique opportunity to explore the capital city during either an Olympic-distance or (newly added!) sprint-distance race. The spectator-friendly event, held on Sept. 7 this year, features a unique swim with large buoys marking the course every 100 meters, preventing swimmers from attempting to veer off course. The ride is flat and fast as it winds through downtown Washington, and the run is a single-loop course that showcases many of the monuments and memorials in the area.