The sport of triathlon is an expensive one. According to statistics by USAT, the United States governing body over triathlon, the median income for triathletes is $126,000.
That’s a pretty penny for a lot of people who want to get involved in the sport of triathlon. It can be difficult for someone that doesn’t have a lot of money looking in at the sport from the outside. This is especially true when you start looking at all the equipment triathletes need to race and compete.
But while the sport of triathlon can be very expensive and tends to cater towards those with more money, here are two things that you can do to be a triathlete without spending a lot of money.
Don’t Buy Useless Equipment
Everyone wants the newest gadget, toy, or magical device that will somehow help them race harder and faster. But for the most part, most triathletes don’t need all the equipment that is advertised in triathlon magazines and at triathlon races. In order to participate in a triathlon, you really only need once piece of equipment: a bike. You can run barefoot if you’re so inclined and you can swim in your gym shorts if you’d like. It might not be very comfortable, but you could do it if you had to.
If you want to be a little more prepared, though, focus on getting the equipment that will really help you. We’ve established you need a bike. What else? Well, a pair of running shoes is important if you’ve got sensitive feet. In addition, a pair of triathlon shorts is nice since you can swim, bike, and run in a single pair. Add to that a pair of goggles and a bike helmet and that is really all you need. Don’t be swayed by the myriad of professionals and trainers telling you that you need GPS watches, specialized helmets, practice swim buoys, power meters, etc. How well you do in your triathlon is directly correlated to how well and hard you train. Owning the latest GPS watch that costs $600 isn’t going to help you get faster and stronger.
Buy a Used Bike
A bike is generally the most expensive piece of triathlon equipment you’ll own. If you don’t have a road-type bike to ride, start looking at online classifieds for anything that will do the job and runs on wheels smaller than your typical mountain bike. You want something that provides minimal friction with the ground, and road bikes do that perfectly. You might have to look for a while, but eventually you should be able to find a used bike online or at your local community bike center for a good price.
The first road bike I ever bought was from an ad on Craigslist. It was a 1964 Schwinn LeTour that a guy was selling for a friend of his. He just wanted to get rid of it and so he sold it to me for a cool $50. I road it that first year I had it for nearly 700 miles before I had some money to upgrade my ride. I still have that bike and have since converted it to a commuter bike. But in the beginning, that $50 investment was all I needed to start training for triathlons.