Nation's Tri blog

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Up until a few years ago I did nothing but run for exercise. In the Marines I exercised mostly because I had to, but then after leaving the Corps I realized I was doing it because I wanted to and that provided a new spark and momentum. I will always love running, but after my last marathon in 2011 I decided to give triathlon a shot. I figured that since I have always loved the water and had an entry level road bike, why not? Given my hectic schedule, my favorite places to train are those that are close. 

For swimming, I use the Lee district rec center in Alexandria and also the Pentagon athletic center pool. For open water swim I’ve also driven out to Millbrook Quarry in Haymarket which provides a great practice venue complete with buoys to practice sighting.

For cycling I love going down to Ft Hunt off the George Washington Memorial Parkway. It features a mostly one-way loop that is free from traffic and there is always plenty of parking. I like doing brick workouts there especially because the parking lots are huge and have plenty of room to practice transition without feeling cramped for space. Of course, it’s tough to beat Hains Point in the District. Flat, fast, and great for training. For going long, the W&OD trail is tough to beat.

I love to run on the Mt Vernon Trail. When I was marathon training I almost always trained here somewhere between Rosslyn and Mt Vernon. I usually park at the Belle Haven parking lot because it has restrooms and reliable water. Depending on the length of the run, heading north or south along the trail provide plenty of options.

The DC area seems to me a natural fit for tri training and racing. I love living here!


Matt Howard

Matt Howard, yacht broker and part time aviation consultant, is a retired US Marine helicopter pilot living and working in Alexandria, VA. An enthusiastic age grouper, Matt trains and races in the DC area. He can be reached at