Saturday, March 18, 2017

Tri-ing On a Budget: Part 1

Mary Day is a well-known member of SLTC and a special contributor to Utah Tri Buzz. Here she shares some great tips for doing this sport of ours without breaking the bank!

Triathlon is not known as being the most affordable sport on the planet. There are lots of moving parts to every single leg of the race. The swim itself requires a cap, goggles, and swimwear. If you resemble any average triathlete you can’t get enough of swim toys either like buoys, paddles, fins, and maybe an occasional ping pong ball. Even the “cheapest” part of the sport, the run, can be pricey. We have to protect our feet, knees, hips, ankles, etc. from overuse injury. It all starts with the shoes. Let’s not even get started on the cost of the bikes (‘cause one is NEVER enough), helmets, cleats, and wheels! Then on top of all that there are the race entries.

This is one sport you don’t even have to think about spending money and you’re broke. This list has been compiled to help you tri on a budget. This is only part 1 of Tri-ing on a budget so stay tuned for more!

Race entries – We all love the feeling of competing, which is why we love doing events! Once you fall in love with triathlon you fall hard! Here are a couple ways to help with the cost of race entries.

1) Sign up early - Most races offer lower entry fees the earlier you sign up. For example, RaceTri always runs a 12 days of Christmas promotion. If you are able to plan your race year you can easily save on your entries with them.

2) Volunteer – Volunteering at races will usually earn you a free entry or a deeply discounted entry. Race directors are always looking for extra help and anyone who has ever done a race knows that volunteers basically rock our world! It needs to be noted that sometimes the free entry is for the following year. Especially with Ironman branded events.

3) Tri clubs – If you are a member of a tri club they will often have discount codes for races.

4) Enter contests! It sounds far-fetched and unlikely but it’s worth a shot!

5) Race ambassadors. Many times races will have ambassadors that will promote them. These ambassadors will often get coupon codes. Seek these people out and use the codes!

Gear – There is not a triathlete alive that does not have a list 10 miles long of things that they “need”. There is no doubt that there is no limit to the amount you could spend on gear.

Swim gear has a wide range of cost:

1) Goggles- You can get goggles from $5 to $50. The trick is to find something that will work for you and will get you through the race. One thing to try is to get cheap goggles to do every day workouts in and save the expensive goggles for longer workouts and races. This will make them last longer. A hack every triathlete should know about is the antifogging solution that you buy can easily be replaced with baby shampoo. Just wipe a little on the inside of your lenses, rinse and you are ready to go!

2) Swimwear- You can also get cheaper swimwear if you are willing to wear last year’s prints or shop the “grab bag” rack. is a great website for discounted swimsuits. Amazon is also a great place to go if you know the type of suit, brand, and size. That is only the tip of the iceberg, there are many more!

3) Wetsuits are also essential, especially when racing in the frozen tundra of Utah! There are usually sales at the very beginning of the season, sometimes up to half off the regular price! Again, your tri club may have a sponsorship with places like Roka and Xterra. There are also rental options but it makes more financial sense to buy one if you are serious about continuing the sport. A note should be made here to learn about how to take care of your wetsuit so that it will last longer.

4) Pool Toys – These aren’t your kids’ pool toys. No floaties here! Well kind of… You have your buoys, paddles, snorkels, fins, and more. Please note that not all of these toys are necessary. Fun, but not necessary. Many times the pool that you train at will have some of these items for your use while you are there. There is no shame in digging through the bin for your favorite kick board!

5) Pool/gym – We all need a place to train. Believe it or not a gym membership is not a must. However, a pool or large body of water is necessary. When the lakes and reservoirs are open you can put your gym membership on hold to save the membership fees for a few months.

There are lots more tips for saving on bike, run gear, and more... coming soon!

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