Balancing Your Triathlon Budget
Most triathlon training involves extensive physical preparation, but you'll need to prepare yourself mentally and financially, too. There's no two ways about it, training for and competing in a triathlon isn't cheap. You can spend as much or as little as you please on triathlon equipment, but as your emotional investment in the race increases, so will your financial investment in pricey racing gear. Regardless of what triathlon gear you use, the size and fit of the equipment -- the bicycle, wetsuit, running shoes and even goggles -- will be more important than how much money each of those items costs. Since you want to give your best showing during the race, you'll need to be physically, mentally and even financially balanced. Being prepared means that, once the race starts, you can fully concentrate on running, swimming and cycling your best.
The bicycle is almost always the most expensive single piece of equipment that any triathlete will own, and it can range from a basic no-frills road bike to a top-of-the-line racing bike made specifically for a triathlon. Most beginning triathletes can expect to spend about $750 for an entry-level road bike. A triathlon-specific bicycle (or tri bike, as they're commonly known) puts the rider in a lower and more aerodynamic position than a typical road bike, which is ideal for racing, but less comfortable for recreational riding. New tri bikes typically start at about $1,000 and can cost more than $4,000. Less expensive, used tri bikes are fairly easy to find in most areas.
The second most expensive item used by most triathletes is likely the wetsuit. Triathlon organizers allow athletes to wear wetsuits in most open water races, and many triathletes opt to wear them even when the water isn't especially cold because they make them more buoyant. Some suits, like the speedsuit, have a coating that helps athletes swim faster.
In addition to the cost of the equipment and gear, many triathletes invest in fitness club memberships, so they can swim regularly and train indoors in inclement weather. A fitness club membership can range from $30 per month to more than $150 per month, depending on the club.
Finding the right gear (and making sure it fits) will help keep you from getting injured, but you'll also need to listen to your body and know when to rest.
Read on to learn about resting and avoiding injury during triathlon training.