"Triathlons are expensive!"
I hear that a lot. And triathlons definitely can be. When you see professional triathletes decked out in gear and apparel that looks as foreign and expensive as a space suit, it can be intimidating. But, with most things, money is very seldom a good excuse for not doing something cool. If you really want to do something, you can usually find the money to make it happen or you can find a way to do it for less than you thought it would cost.
Running a triathlon doesn’t have to cost you an arm and a leg (which is good, because then you would be swimming in circles and hopping your way through the race which would be awkward at best). You can still run a triathlon and stay on a budget.
The Swim – What You Need
Swimsuit – Free/$20
You already have this. You’re not going to want to wear your boardshorts though. They’ll slow you down a lot more than you think they will. Guys get a pair of compression shorts if you don’t already have one. They’ll run you $20. Yes, you’ll be standing around half naked with hundreds of strangers. It’s okay, there will be hundreds of half naked strangers standing around you. No one will care.
Goggles – Free/$20
Most people have a pair of goggles lying around somewhere. If you don’t, you can pick one up for anywhere between $12 and $25. Once again, you don’t need anything fancy. Most goggles are pretty similar and you won’t be able to see through most of the water you’ll be swimming in anyways. Get a pair that are comfortable and start swimming.
The Bike – What You Need
Bike – Free/$150
Bike’s can get ungodly expensive. Pro triathletes spend 5-10k on tricked out bikes with cool looking wheels and aero bars that are intense. Good news is, none of that is required. I did my first triathlon on a mountain bike I borrowed from my brother. That was not a good decision (mountain bikes are terribly difficult to ride). That said, you can borrow a bike from a friend. One of my buddies does one triathlon every year and still doesn’t have his own bike, he just keeps asking people to borrow theirs. That said, if you’d like to ride something on your own, there are tons of bikes to be had for $150. You just need to get creative, check the classifieds and be willing to put in some sweat equity.
Helmet – Free/$35
You have to have this in most races or you’ll be disqualified. Also, this helps protect your head from smashing into little pieces all over the ground like pieces of watermelon. That’s a good thing. You can get a cheap helmet for $20. My first race, I borrowed my sister’s. No joke. Get something that covers your head and get on with training.
(Optional) Bike Shoes – Free/$35
You can get really nice shoes that clip to your pedals . Chances are, if this is your first race, you don’t have clips, or pedals, or even a very nice bike. So you don’t probably don’t need clips either. I’ll be getting clips to bike with soon, but for my first year and a half of racing, I’ve used the same shoes I run in, to bike in. This saves you money and time on your T2 transition because you don’t have to get off your bike and change shoes. If you get serious about racing, you’ll eventually want to go ahead and get some nice clips, but for your first time out, don’t worry about it.
The Run – What You Need
Running is simple. All you need is a good pair of shoes. And, if you’re a barefoot runner, you might not even need that. You might feel like throwing on a shirt or a pair of shorts but you don’t have to if you don’t want. I’ve seen people run in the same gear they swam in and at that point, you’ve run around half naked long enough to not really care whether you’re wearing a t-shirt or not.
Running shoes – Free/$100
You probably have running shoes all ready. If not, you can grab some off Eastbay for $30. You can spend $120 on a pair if you want to, but it won’t make you run faster. Find a pair that are comfortable, break them in and get running.
That’s it. That’s all you need. Almost everything you need for your first triathlon, you already have or can borrow pretty easily (I did). If you don’t have anything at all and have no friends who know what a bicycle is, you can buy everything you need for less than $350. That’s a dollar a day for a year, or 12 bucks a day for a month.
Don’t spend your life savings your first time out on a race you don’t even know if you’ll like yet. Try it out with base line stuff. It does not need to be top of the line gear. If you like racing, do more races and then get nicer stuff over time.
If you don’t like it, then move on to the next challenge and feel good about not investing hundreds of dollars into something you tried one. But don’t worry if you don’t have the nicest stuff out there. Just get training. No one wants to be the guy who spend thousands on gear and is getting passed up by the guy on the $150 bike.
If you make a choice between gear and training, choose training every single time. That’s how you do a triathlon on a budget.
Check out this You-Tube on
Triathlon on the Cheap!
So before starting out, you'll want to know: what is a triathlon?
Triathlon is an exciting sport involving a continuous race over various distances in the three disciplines of swimming, cycling and running . A standard triathlon is made up of swimming, followed by cycling, followed by running.
It is a sport that is becoming more and more popular. It has come a long way since its beginnings in 1974 when a group of friends began to train together. The group consisted of swimmers, cyclists and runners, and before long they were organising competitions combining the three sports.
One of the reasons triathlon is such a popular sport is that it can be enjoyed by someone looking for a big challenge through to people who are not very fit but wanting to be. This is because a race can last as little as 1 hour up to 8 – 10 hours plus!
If the answer to any of these questions is yes, then triathlon is for you!
If all this doesn’t sell it to you, the “break” or transition between each stage is effectively a frenzied change of kit in (usually) the middle of a field or car park. Now you don’t get that in a marathon!
Starting out in triathlon can seem a little daunting, but we have all the information you need to get started with confidence.
A triathlon always starts with swimming. The swim section of beginner events (usually sprint or super sprint distances) usually always takes place in a swimming pool. Most Olympic distance races and longer involve what is known as an ‘open water’ swim. This is usually in a lake or the sea, sometimes in a river.
The bike section comes next, and is usually the discipline that takes the most time. If you’re not sure if triathlon is for you, you don’t need to worry about going out and buying a fancy bike . Many beginner triathletes will ride their old mountain bike that has been lying around in the garage.
The run is the final discipline. People often find their legs feel like cement when they get off the bike and start running. But never fear, the correct training can make this easier!
Transitions are often referred to as the fourth discipline of triathlon. The time when you move from one discipline to the next is referred to as a transition, as is the area where this change occurs.
You will set your bike and running kit up in a given location in the ‘transition’ area. On emerging from the swim you’ll have to run and find your bike (whilst impersonating Harry Houdini getting out of your wetsuit).
This is often easier said than done, as after you racked your bike, chances are a good few more people did so and your bike which was ‘third from the end of the row’ is now 23rd…
At the end of the bike leg you’ll return to the transition area, hop off your bike, rack it, remove your helmet, pull on your running shoes and set off on the final discipline.
The time it takes you to make these changes is included in your overall time. For most people an extra 20 – 30 seconds struggling out of your wetsuit isn’t going to make a huge difference, but for those competing at the higher end, those extra seconds can make the difference between winning and losing.
Check out this short You-Tube video on an introduction to triathlon and it's different distance options.
Something important will go here!
Like....a beginner Sprint Trialthon Plan.
>>>See that link to your right?
I promise you....we are in "psyche up to train" mode!
First off - Go see your doctor for a physical and make sure you are ALL CLEAR to train!
Secondly - Get your bike tuned up. Any kind of bike works - mountain, hybrid, street, even a cruiser! Just have working and safe wheels. Oh, and you MUST have a helmet!
Next - Running shoes. Invest well in yourself. The wrong type of shoe means potential pain and injury.
Then - Locate a pool to swim in. Goggles are a must!
Finally - Get buy in from your support network. What if they are not supportive?
GO FIND YOUR TRIBE!
P.S. - Welcome home!
Beginner Sprint Triathlon Plan
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Files coming soon.
Along with the right to cycle come responsibilities. Familiarize yourself with all applicable traffic laws and cycling rules. Each state has its own set; be aware of them. Motorists will be much more willing to accept cyclist’s rightful place on the road if cyclists act lawfully and respectfully. Do not run stop signs or red lights or use the wrong side of the street. It is best and safest to ride single file. If you are not blocking traffic and if the laws in your state permit it, there are times it is safe to ride two abreast. However, on narrow curvy canyon roads it is always best to ride single file. Riding responsibly will do wonders towards easing tensions and fostering a more harmonious environment between motorists and cyclists.
It is generally either illegal or unsafe to ride on a sidewalk or on the road towards oncoming traffic. As a rule, it is best to ride in the direction of traffic, staying as far to the right as is practical. However, make sure there is room to handle emergencies and that you do not ride so close to the right that you run the risk of hitting the curb and being thrown into traffic. There are times when you simply cannot stay to the far right—whether it’s to overtake another cyclist or vehicle, to make a left turn, or to avoid a hazard. Be sure to wait for a safe opportunity and use the proper hand signals when you take a lane.
If you are traveling at the same speed as other traffic, it may be safer to jump in and ride with traffic; because, this may make you more visible to motorists. Joining traffic is sometimes necessary because the road is simply too narrow for both a bike and a car. It is a particularly good idea to take a lane and join traffic before an intersection to make your presence known—especially for right-turning drivers who may not see you as they start their turn.
When you do join traffic, make sure you never pass on the right. This is always dangerous, but particularly so in an intersection. By waiting directly behind a vehicle, you can see a car’s signals; otherwise, you never know if the motorist is about to make a right turn and hit you.
Regardless if you’re going to the corner store or heading out on a marathon ride, always wear a helmet. Make sure it is properly fastened and fitted. (The helmet should fit snugly and not move when you shake your head.)
Make eye contract with drivers whenever possible. This ensures that the motorists see you and helps you assert your rightful place on the road. This “personal connection” reminds motorists that you are indeed real LIFE in need of attention and protection. Once you make that connection, motorists may give you more respect on the road.
Try to ride consistently and predictably. For instance, at an intersection, do not veer into the crosswalk and then suddenly reappear on the road again. Don’t thread through parked cars. With such erratic behavior, motorists will not be aware of your presence when you try to re-emerge into traffic. (Inconsistent conduct increases your chances of being squeezed out of traffic or, worse, getting hit.)
Make sure you are always aware of your surroundings. Know what is behind you and watch out for what is in front of you. Always be on the lookout for road hazards; sand and gravel, glass, railroad tracks, parked cars, snow and slush can wreak havoc on you and your bike. Sewer grates and cracks in the road can catch your wheel and cause you to be thrown from the bike. Watch for parked cars where people may be opening doors on the driver side of the vehicle without looking. Always wait until you have ample time to make your move, whether you are changing a lane or turning a corner. Do not expect to be granted the right of way in any instance.
Make your presence felt. Wear bright color clothing. At night or in inclement weather, it is important to use reflective lights in the front, side and rear that make you visible from all directions.
Emergencies happen. Be prepared. Always make sure you have at least one hand on your handlebars, no matter what. Know and use your hand signals whenever you are changing lanes or making a turn.
Make sure your brakes are always in top-notch condition. Be aware of how weather and road conditions can effect your ability to brake.