You May Have Everything You Need For A Triathlon And Not Know It !?!
Have you ever thought about doing something, but tossed the idea because you think it cost too much? Perhaps, you are a runner and have not made the transition to triathlon because the thought of buying the gear turns you off. I get it. Whenever I talk to someone about triathlon (to someone outside of the sport), one of their first questions or remarks sounds like this: “How much was your bike?” or “Oh, I bet you have an expensive bike.” or “Oh, I could never afford all of the equipment.” To answer those questions, no, I do not have a super expensive bike. My mediocre two-wheeled machine does just fine.
Yes, triathlon can be super expensive. You often see the professionals on T.V. or on the cover of a magazine on top of a vehicle that resembles nothing of a bicycle or running out of an ocean wearing a $500 dollar wet suit, but they are the elite athletes. The $10,000 they spend (or sponsored purchase) on a bike may make a difference of placing at a national competition versus people not knowing who they are. The nice wetsuit may help give them enough speed (while saving energy) to get out of the water before the other pros do. And yea, all of that stuff looks cool, too. Chances are through, if you are reading this, you are not a professional. Which is totally fine! In fact, I am more interested in getting that runner that wants to change up their training routine or that person that wants to become more active. I’d like to talk to the person that says, “The only reason I do not do triathlon is because I cannot swim.” I want to make sure the average Joe or “Joanna??” knows that triathlon can be very affordable and they do not need the nice stuff to compete in a triathlon. If any of those people sound like you, this article was written with you in mind.
Many short distance or sprint triathlons (ideal for newbies) take place in a swimming pool. First, I want to ask a few questions. Currently, what do you wear when you go to the pool? Wetsuit or bathing suit? Next question, do you own a pair of swimming trunks or bathing suit? If so, you are prepared for the swim portion of your next triathlon. Most triathlon events provide swim caps and yes, you may need to buy a pair of goggles. You probably have a swim suit so total cost at $10 to $20 for the swim portion. This is all the gear that is needed for training, as well! Well, you will need some pool access, but many gyms have pools included.
Safety first! Before you think about getting on a bike, you MUST have a helmet. No, you do not need a $200 aerodynamic helmet, but a $20 bike helmet from a local sports store will work. Yes, if you are wearing a helmet, it would be beneficial if you were riding a bike. Running around with a helmet would be considered odd behavior. Look in your garage, any bikes? No, you don’t have one? Well, that old 10 speed under that pile of boxes/junk will work. Oh, you are organized and there is not a pile of boxes and there really is not a bike? That is fair. Ask a neighbor to borrow one for a little while to train and race on. Who knows, they may become interested, too and join you! Perhaps the only way to get a bike is to purchase one. I have seen local sport stores carrying adult-10 speed bicycles for under $200. Yes, this will be the most expensive part of gathering equipment. This will give you an entry level bike which is good enough to experiment with triathlon and if it does not work out, you have a decent bike to cruise on. Remember, check your neighbor or your unorganized garage first!
Look down. What kind of shoes do you have on? Are the tennis/running shoes. You are all set! If not, you likely own a pair. I will say, though, if your shoes are 10 years old and your toes stick out of the end, it may be worth buying a new pair. Remember, safety first! Running on a bad or worn out pair of shoes can put you at risk for injury. Again, if you are in a spot where you need to buy some new running shoes, you do not need the $200 pair. Find a shoe that fits, feels right, and does not break your bank. I bet you can find that under somewhere near $80-$100, if not less.
Remember, safety first? Whenever trying new sports I do recommend getting a coach that can give you correct and SAFE training guidelines, teach correct running/cycling form, and give you tips to have a fun/successful race day. This may be a key aspect resulting if you love or hate the sport. Often, a new athlete will get injured during training, will try a race, struggle, and flat out not have fun. They seldom return. Not good for the person or the sport of triathlon, itself. I mean, when you played high school football or volleyball, did you just show up on game day without any training, practice, or a COACH? No! This sport should not be treated any different. I will plug our own group RunRelated as a coaching service. I have personally seen coaches charging over $300 per month. With these high dollar coaches, you get one on one feedback from workouts, detailed workout designed specifically for the individual, access to private groups, etc. It is really nice…almost like having a personal trainer. At RunRelated, you get all of that, too. However, we value in growing the sport and getting people involved, so we set our prices to reflect just that. If you have a minute, do check out the site!
How much do I have to spend?
Let’s pretend you have the old swimming shorts and goggles. You borrowed a bike from a friend and you bought a pair of tennis shoes 6 months ago. Well, you have spent nothing and you are ready for a triathlon. Perhaps you just finished college or for some reason the past few years you have not owned any of the above stuff. After buying the swim suit, goggles, bike, and running shoes, you may be looking at about $300. This would be worst case scenario, though.
Believe me, I would love to own a more expensive, more aerodynamic, top of the line bike. You can purchase speed! There are also tons of over various pieces of equipment that an athlete can buy to make training better, races faster, etc. However, all of that is not needed if you want some light exposure to the sport first, which I recommend anyway. Do not go buy a $4,000 bike to see if you like triathlon. Use what you have, buy what is necessary, and give it a shot. You may finish that first triathlon and hate it. That is fine, you spent and lost very little. What will likely happen, though, is you may finish the race with an itch to sign up for another. All I ask is that you give it a shot or step out of your comfort zone. You never know what that will do for you unless you “tri it”.
Send me a message if you have any questions to
Run it right,