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Ironman on a Shoestring

by / Monday, 14 March 2011 / Published in Uncategorized

Triathlons dont come cheap, thats for sure, however im looking to break the mould by completing an Ironman with a reasonable budget. Impossible? Time will tell…

Setting up a business and competing an Ironman are two tough ventures that require stamina, perserverence and lots of time, never mind doing both at once! With this in mind, time and money demands are both tight. I will look at time demands in a later blog, but for now i’ll look at the costs. After competing in 11 triathlons last year, culminating in the Kenmare 1/2 Ironman, the cost of event entries alone was €600/£500. Then you add in transport costs, possibly stay-overs for early starts and i’m 1,000 down without any equipment! Obviously you dont have to do this many events, but with a season from Apr to Sept this only equates to an event every 3 weeks. This year i’ll be doing 1 sprint, 1 olympic, 1 1/2 distance and the Full Ironman, total cost €550 / £480, though at some events you can do the Ironman for chairty, raise a load of money and get your entry fee back(!). With so many events these days, the key is to shop around, pick great/convenient locations and avoid the events with silly entry fees (goody bags are often touted as a reason for high charges, but usually dont live up to expectations!).

Then we have equipment… where to start! The bike is the big one and yes you can go carbon, lightweight, ‘razor’ shapped etc, but most of us cant afford it. So get yourself a good quality make that fits you correctly and you feel confident on. Ive been riding a basic Trek (€800) for yrs and will keep with it til i can afford a better one :-). Then there’s the wetsuit… yes it makes you more buoyant, but is it worth paying a fortune for a few secs advantage? If you are aiming to win the race yes, otherwise no, in the madness of a triathlon race swimming technique is so much more important that your suit. Again ill be using my very basic suit and hoping i can avoid making any more holes in it. Everything else – tri suit, helmet, cycling shoes, running shoes are important to be well suited to you, but there’s so much competition in the market these days that you should be able to barter a good deal. Throw them all in your AMPHIBIA X-BAG and you are ready to go.

Triathlon Costs:
Entry €550
Equipment €1,200 (previously bought)
Gels/drinks/physio/other €150
Travel/Accom €500
Total €2,400 / £2,000

Other ways to save cash:

Leave the gym – you should be too busy on the road/in the pool once Spring comes to get your moneys worth.

Bargaining power – yes there are some great deals online, but you’d be amazed what your local store will do for you, particularly if a few of you buy together, or through your club.

Buy 2nd hand – triathletes are always going to want to upgrade their gear, so there’s some great deals on used equipment, much of it in great condition.

High tech gear – do you really need it? I bought my first compression gear this year in the coldest part of winter… it works, but im just as happy with a few layers of old football gear/tee-shirts etc.

Dont kill yourself(!) – physio/osteopath/doctor bills can be pricey, so pace yourself, build up slowly and do plenty of stretching/yoga/pilates etc.

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