Cutting the cost of TriathlonApr 11, 2022
There is understandably a lot of worry right now about the cost of living and the affordability of the lifestyles that we lead.
Lots of price rises may leave you feeling a little anxious about the cost of doing triathlon, with the associated kit and race costs. You may be thinking you need to save money on this to prioritise elsewhere in your lift, or at least make some changes to your current tri habits.
When starting out in triathlon, I had very limited funds to get going. But trust me, with some support, advice, a good group of people around you and some careful research, you can train hard, race hard and achieve all your triathlon goals on a very limited budget.
So to help I have created this blog to highlight a few areas you could save money in triathlon.
CAVEAT – it is hard to target both beginners and experienced triathletes in one blog on this topic, so some advice may not be relevant, for that I apologise. But I hope you pick up at least one money saving tip or reminder to help you keep some pennies in your pocket.
I have prioritised the following areas of triathlon to offer some cost saving opportunities:
Most people start here; booking a race. The cost of races has risen, we can only imagine due to the rising costs of putting the races on, and the financial hit they took during Covid when races could not happen.
When planning a race season, get your planner or a big wall calendar out. Don’t buy one, make one. Its cheaper!
Then first things first, come up with a budget for races. And write it on the top of the planner. That way you can't let it spiral out of control.
Write in your ‘A’ race to your planner, which is to be your most important race. This could be a local sprint or an Ironman in Barbados. Whatever it is, prioritise that one so you can work around it with the budget you have left.
This also stops you booking races here, there and everywhere because your mates are going and it looks fun! You can end up cancelling races if you overcommit and that is a huge waste of money.
Why not book a single sport as a build-up to your ‘A’ race. It is common to think you need to fill your season with triathlons. There is great merit in doing a couple of triathlons to practice. But you don’t need to do loads.
For example, you are doing an Olympic Distance race, so you may think about booking a duathlon, a 10k, a 25 mile Time Trial race, a 2k swim event, or a sportive. These are much cheaper and still act as practices for your main race.
A local 10k run can be as little as £20 to enter. Time Trials can be around £12 to enter. Sportives are around £20-£50.
I know you have heard that phrase WAY too much during Covid, but it does have a cost benefit. Find races that are local to you so there are fewer fuel costs, overnight stays and meals out.
Share the costs
Find friends or club mates who are doing the same races and share fuel, hotels, camping fees etc.
If you have a few of you, book an Airbnb or house share for the weekend, it often works out much cheaper.
In the Mojo Academy we often do homemade races, last month we did a duathlon. All starting the same time from all over the country, doing the same distance, and all sending in a race report.
It's a chance to use your race kit, put some good effort in, and learn from anything you have done well or not so well. And it’s free!! This can be virtual or get some friends together and do it in person.
Two athletes from the Academy did a half marathon last weekend together too, rather than travel to a race. It saved them around £50 each!
You’ve booked your race and now realise you need kit. Like lots of kit. Three sports worth of kit!!! #yikes
Panic not, we have some ideas.
What kit do you actually need?
This can reduce your shopping list by a HUGE amount, actually asking yourself if you really need ALL the kit on your list.
Here is a guide to the essentials. The bits you cannot do a triathlon without:
- Wetsuit (if doing an open water swim. Just a swimming costume if doing a pool swim)
- Bike Shoes (or trainers If you don’t use clip pedals)
- Water bottle
- Trisuit (or shorts and tshirt)
How to source reasonably priced kit
- Borrow kit from friends, ask for help on Facebook groups, and in your local tri/sports clubs. You will be surprised what people have in their garages and wardrobes!
- Second hand is also a great option. No it may not be perfect and come gift wrapped but it may be a quality piece of equipment that you can now afford. Check out my blog on buying bikes with varying budgets: Blog (mojotricoaching.com)
Why not organise a bring and buy sale in your club or group?
Don’t forget to join the Mojo Sisters Facebook Community group. We often have the 'Mojo Mall' where you can post items you have for sale, so it’s a chance to pick up a bargain AND make some money form unwanted kit.
(eBay is also great for a wide selection of kit)
This is an area I am very passionate about, because good advice does not have to be expensive. There is no reason why people with limited money to spend on triathlon should be accessing poor coaching or advice.
Do your homework. If you would like a coach, spend a good couple of hours researching what you get for your money. Ask yourself:
- Do you need a face to face session such as swim coaching?
- Do you want a coach for the whole season to help you build your training progressively and offer feedback?
- Do you want a plan specific to you, or would a generic plan be ok?
- Do you want a community feel to your coaching where you are part of a team too?
By narrowing down what YOU need, your money will be spent wisely and you will hopefully really value the coaching you receive.
For free or reasonably priced triathlon advice here are some of my favourites:
- Global Triathlon Network (266) Global Triathlon Network - YouTube for ‘how to’ videos on all things triathlon. GCN is the cycling version and is also very good.
- The Well HQ – Follow these incredible ladies on social media. If you would like to joint their membership then let me know, I can send you more info. They offer courses, advice, and firmly believe in quality advice for the active woman, from doctors and professionals. Their tag line: 'The Team She Needs' The Well HQ (thewell-hq.com)
- Stacy Simms for advice on womens physiology and nutrition for triathlon Stacy Sims | Female Physiology and Nutrition (drstacysims.com) She has courses, a free community, and appears on many blogs and podcasts. You can also join her membership.
- The Triathlete (formerly a paper based magazine, but now online) has some great tips about kit, training, and the scene on the pro circuit too. Triathlete - The latest triathlon gear, training, nutrition, photos, races, movers, shakers, and more – Triathlete
- British Triathlon (the sport’s governing body) Top Tips Top Tips – British Triathlon
- 220 Magazine is great for advice too. But be careful not to get too sucked in with all the advertising, which can make you feel like you need all the kit. They make their money from it so there is a lot of advertising!
And of course, please do ask me for any advice as I love to help!
This is an area you can get started with cutting costs right away.
Meal planning is a great way to save money.
Just double check your training plan to make sure sure you are adding the right calories in for the training you are doing. For example, you have a hard session in the evening, don’t scrimp on calories for breakfast and/or lunch that day.
If you see a long session on Saturday morning, maybe add a more substantial meal calories wise on a Friday night.
Always plan your protein. Women over 40 need more protein to help keep their muscles stay strong, and women in peri and post menopause even more so. Planning your meals means you aren't always wondering if you have enough protein.
Download the free app ‘My Fitness Pal’ MyFitnessPal | MyFitnessPal.com to work out the calories you need each day. Upgrade for 1 month for £7.99 to discover if you are hitting your carb, protein and fat balances by percentage. Then you can cancel it and carry on with your meal plans. It's a simple way to check your balance of macronutrients.
Cooking/making your own bars (easier than you think!)
Buying energy bars is not cheap. In the past I have used NKD bars and Cliff bars, they are around £1.50 each. On a long ride you can get through 2-5 of these!
So to save money I batch- make energy bars or balls for bike rides. You can even make your own race nutrition, and the good thing is you can add whatever works for you. My favourite were coconut fairy cakes for my first 2 Ironman races. Worked a treat!
Type 'Energy Bars and Balls' into google and you will find loads of books on the topic.
Cheaper still: BBC Good Food is free. These are amazing: Choc-orange energy boosters recipe | BBC Good Food
For advice on nutrition that is unsponsored, based on pure fact and uses relevant research, check out the podcast: Podcast - Thinking Nutrition
Also check out Hit Play Not Pause for podcasts on everything about menopause for active women (including nutrition) Hit Play Not Pause Archives - Live Feisty
I hope this helps in some small way with budgeting, leaving you to enjoy your season filled with swim, bike, run and fun!
As always, please feel free to leave a comment.
* TRIATHLON CAMPS ON A BUDGET *
If you would be keen to know more about triathlon camps on a budget, message me as I am building a little network to produce a low cost version of training camps abroad, and I'd love your thoughts on it.
Have a great day,