I have completed two sprints this spring and will complete in my first olympic next weekend. Any suggestions would be appreciated. I am a very good swimmer, average biker and fair runner. Thanks and looking forward to seeing DC.
What kind of suggestions were you looking for? It's too late to add much to your fitness at this point, with the race just over a week away. Keep everything easy next week but add some brief spurts of race pace in a swim, a bike and a run workout. Nothing too long, just a few fast and short intervals to keep your body in race shape. And maybe a very short brick on the day before.
There doesn't seem to be any big hills on the bike course, although there's a small incline up Rock Creek Park. There are a couple steeper climbs on the run, at 14th St. NW and on Capitol Hill. Neither are very long but they are fairly steep. I saw how many buoys there will be on the swim. It's going to be almost impossible to go off course.
One part of the course that I'm not thrilled about is the segment of the run that goes down the long tunnel under the National Mall. Then there's a turnaround and we'll run back up that same tunnel. Not really the most scenic part of DC. The finish should be nice though. You'll get a view of some of the iconic buildings of the city, including the Capitol Building.
Most people will suggest that if you are wearing a Garmin or other GPS unit, that you don't cross the finish line looking down at your wrist. That will make for a lousy finish photo, especially when you're going to have the Capitol Dome right behind you.
That's about all I can think of. Enjoy the race.
I appreciate the comments on the course and training tips for next week. One follow up is should I pace a little slower than a sprint given the increased distances so that i have enough to complete the course. Im just worried about keeping gas in the tank since i have not done an olympic before.
It depends on your aerobic endurance level. Most people will race an Olympic at a slightly slower pace/effort level than for a sprint. How much slower depends on how well you have developed your aerobic endurance.
If you are worried about just finishing the race distance and you haven't done that many long bike rides and runs in training, then yes, it would be smarter to hold back a bit on the swim and bike, and even in the early part of the run. The nice part is that if you do get into trouble on the run, you can always take a walk break. Nothing wrong with doing that if you're simply out of gas.
The more experience you have with racing in general and with the race distance specifically, the more you can push to your personal limits. Since this will be your first Olympic tri, you may not want to push as hard as you might in a later race. If you have been training by effort level (Rate of Perceived Exertion or RPE) or by heart rate or pace, you can use that to guide you in the race. The good thing about RPE is that you don't need a GPS or HRM to guide you, as long as you can accurately tell how hard you are going. HR can be affected by heat, fatigue, wind and other factors. Pace can also be affected by those factors.
If you haven't been keeping track of that in training, then don't worry too much about that for the race. Now isn't the time to add a new approach to swimming, cycling and running.
I'll just note that a common mistake for beginners is to go too hard in the bike for their current fitness level. This leaves them too little energy for the run. (I made this mistake last year.) The result is that they lose far more time on the run than they gained by going hard on the bike. It can also be demoralizing to get passed by dozens of people on the run, the same people that you passed on the bike.
Expect that this race will be a learning process. Every race is a learning experience but more so for your first time at a particular distance. I'll be facing this same situation as I race my first Half Ironman this Sunday. The WDC Tri should be "easier" since I'm already familiar with the Olympic distance. (Set aside the fact that I may still be recovering a bit from the HIM.)
Pacing is based on your conditioning and training. Many veterans will hammer it just as hard, relative to themselves, at the oly distance as they do at the sprint distance. Each race is different. They all have different terrain and weather conditions.
It sounds like you are not from this area and that you are not here to podium. If that is the case the just go out there and have fun and enjoy the scenery. What does it matter if you are 5 minutes faster or 5 minutes slower than what you think you can accomplish? If you keep a steady and constant pace, you should be fine with the distance.
Be deligent with your nutrition plan and you will have plenty left in the tank to sprint to the finish line.
Good luck :)