Triathlon in a nutshell
Ever wondered about what its all about? On chatting to my family and freinds triathlon is commenly mistaken for being a challenge only for extremely fit people, well let me tell you the truth.
Can you swim, cycle and run? Then triathlon could be for you!
This blog will give you an idea of cost, commitment and where to start… from main bulk item purchases, training time and the overall experience.
How much will it cost?
The more you get into the world of triathlon - the more the temptation is to spend. It's not a cheap hobby by any means, but there's plenty of plus points. From making new friends to improving your fitness - and we guarantee you'll start eating healthier and drinking less alcohol too!
Membership of a local pool (£20-50 per month) will encourage you to swim regularly. The swim part of most sprint triathlons is indoors so no need for a wetsuit just yet.
Wetsuits add buoyancy, but cost £100-£600, so keep that in mind. Make sure you get yourself fitted, if it's too big it will rub and slow you down. Tailor made suits are available, as well as off the shelf options.
A good swim suit (no boardies guys, they slow you down heaps). £15-20.
There's a huge array of goggles out there from about £20-£40. A pool set (and a lake set if you're competing outdoors) will suffice, although anti glare models are also available for sunny conditions.
Swim hats are usually given to you on race day.
Entry level road bikes cost about £600 but search around - there are plenty of great second hand bikes online. Check if your company offer the Cycle to Work Scheme for savings of up to 42% off a new bike! Specific triathlon geometry bikes (if you really get into it!) will set you back £1000-£5000+ but are more comfortable and offer the most seamless transition to the run.
Most important of all - make sure your bike is the correct size for you. Seek advice from a bike fitter. They aren't loyal to any brand, they just want to make sure you get the right bike for your physique. Bike fits cost about £100, but if you buy a new bike from a shop they may throw in a bike fit for free.
As you improve a bolt on triathlon bar set up is worth some thought (£40 - £300). It will make races more comfortable, faster and aid you coming off the bike ready for the run.
To improve your fitness consider supplementing your outdoor rides with some coaching from a Watt Bike facility (£10) or attend a few spinning classes (£5/class).
Learning to use clip in cycle shoes will transform your training and is highly recommended for any distance over a sprint. £40-£300 for shoes and pedals.
A helmet is a must. Make sure you try before you buy. Cost is £40+ for a basic model. We could talk more bout specific lids for specific races but we fear we may lose you. specific aero lids £120-£300
Expect to pay anything between £80-£100 for a good set of trainers.
Your usual gym lycra will be fine for running and cycling as long as it's breathable, all-weather gear. Consider a high vis top for winter/early morning/late evening training (about £30) and definitely invest in some padded cycling shorts to protect your crown jewels! Basic shorts start at about £20, but you get what you pay for so think about spending a little more if you want to make sure you're comfortable on longer rides. A triathlon suit is worth what you pay for, for optimal comfort £60-£200.
There's a variety of training aids available to help keep you motivated, improve your technique and make the most of the time you can commit your training.
First and foremost a reputable coach is worth every penny, especially if your goal is to enjoy your first event or to set a PB. Membership of an endurance club or specific triathlon club will enable you to meet like minded people to train with too!
- Triathlon watches cost £100-£400 depending on what you want to record. Some come with a heart rate monitor, or you can buy one separately for about £30. This isto establish training zones a very important part to your success.
- Bike computer and cadence monitor £30-£400.
- Floats (£20-£40) and paddles (£20-30) for swimming.
- A bike bag and puncture repair kit (pump, inner tubes etc). Most bike shops sell 'starter' kits for £30-£50.
- Sun glasses - so nothing flies in your eyes and you can see where you're going during the run/bike. £40+. Polarized are the best.
- Turbo trainer for those days when time is not on your side, or the conditions don't warrant going outside! £80 upwards
- Foam roller £10-£40
- A sports massage every 6 weeks will help keep you injury free. £30-£50 a treatment.
Make sure you carry water bottles, gels, energy bars etc. for long sessions. On going cost about £20 a month depending on how frequently you train.
How much do I need to train?
This is entirely up to you and depends on how well you want to do! The famous Ironman has to be completed in a maximum of 17 hours, and suggests a training week of over 14 hours - which is a lot of swimming, cycling and running!
The best thing to do is to start with a short/sprint distance and work your way up.
SWIM 400m pool
SWIM 750m open water
BIKE 20k (12.4 miles)
RUN 5k (3.1 miles )
SWIM 1500m open water
BIKE 40K (24.8 miles)
RUN 10k (6.2 miles)
MIDDLE DISTANCE/HALF IRONMAN
SWIM 1.9k (1.2 miles)
BIKE 90.1k (56 miles)
RUN 21k (13.1 miles - half marathon )
LONG DISTANCE/ IRONMAN
SWIM 3.86k (2.4 miles)
BIKE 180.25k (112 miles)
RUN 42k (26.2 miles - marathon)
The benefits of starting the journey of triathlon
- Meeting like minded people and hearing race stories
- Finding yourself, there very well could be some dark moments in your journey.
- Travelling the world
- Learning new skills, like how to change a flat in record time.
- Keeping motivated all year round
- Staying Active and eating sensibly
- Having a balanced training programme of all 3 diciplines
- Training for purpose competiive or fun
- Spending time in the great outdoors
- It becomes a hobby and a way of life, some consider tattoos
- Getting prizes and gifts for finishing races
- Living with the success of achievement
One last word of advice before you go jumping in at the deep end. Watch a race, talk to someone who's completed a triathlon, look up a local club. Do you like what you see? Are you inspired? Are you ready to take on the challenge?