Swimming, cyling and running by themselves can be affordable but when you combine all three on the same day, it’s a triathlon and that means big bucks. Timex Multisport Team member, Wendy Mader knows how to race triathlon at a high level without breaking the bank and you can too. Wendy is a former collegiate swimmer with nearly 20 years of experience in triathlon so it’s safe to say Wendy has learned a few tricks along the way to make triathlon affordable. Wendy says it comes down to ‘want’ verses ‘need’.
Below is her Racing on a Budget breakdown that can help you navigate through the multisport world of triathlon without sacrificing the finer things in life.
• When choosing road or tri bike, if you can’t afford both, road is more versatile. No matter what people tell you, you don’t need a bike with a five-figure price tag.
• When looking at a less-expensive aluminum bike vs. a more-expensive carbon bike, both are light, and fit is more important, not the cost of the bike.
• If you really want race wheels, borrow or rent them instead of purchasing them.
• Choose a race with a pool swim over an open water swim if you don’t want to rent or buy a wetsuit.
• Choose a warm-water open water swim vs. a cold-water swim to save on wetsuit rental/purchase.
• Running shoe fit is most important, not the brand of shoe. Remember, pros are sponsored and don’t pay for their shoes, so you don’t need to choose your shoe based on what the pros are wearing.
• Don’t buy specialized clothing you don’t actually need. For things you do need, look to Target or other stores for options that will be “good enough” to do the job.
• If you join a tri club, they may have negotiated discounts you can take advantage of as a member.
• If anyone asks what you want for your birthday, Christmas, your anniversary, etc., ask for tri stuff that you need.
Race fee Budget:
• Volunteer at an event. Many times you will earn a free entry.
• Be sure to register early to avoid fee increases closer to race day. Many events increase registration fees in January, March and May.
• Participate in smaller races (Sprint and Olympic distances). Look on trifind.com or active.com to find the local races.
• Look at non-branded races. You can spend $625 a year in advance for one race or spend the same amount to race three events, and wait to register two months before the race if you go to non-branded races.
• Plan your race calendar early and research when fees go up.
• Find a club that puts on “training races.” These are often pretty competitive and are free, or very low cost.
• Doing races closer to home means no airfares, less gas, no hotel costs, and no need to eat out.
• If you are going to use top-name nutrition products, buy in bulk and only use them during training, not as meals or snacks. It gets expensive not on race day, but while you consume these products during training.
• If your workout lasts less than two hours, don’t bother with energy product nutrition. Just eat normally throughout the day and you will have enough fuel to go the distance with no ill-effects.
• Skip the brand-name energy programs and try “real” food. Fig newtons, peanut butter sandwiches, fruit, etc. are cheaper alternatives.
• Try chocolate milk for recovery.
• Consider water+electrolyte tabs for hot/humid days (which tend to be less expensive than bottled drinks).
About Wendy Mader:
Co-founder and owner of t2coaching and has made a lifelong commitment to fitness, sports, coaching, and triathlon. From her youth as a competitive swimmer to her current career in the fitness industry, her dedication shines.
Follow me on twitter @IMDaveErickson and see more than 500 original swim, bike, run and athlete interview videos on my Youtube Channel.