by Kyle Larson, Owner Endurance House, Madison
Email: Kyle Larson
(Continuation of August 25, 2014 Panel Discussion)
A question we hear often when talking about triathlon is “How much do I need to spend to be able to do triathlon?” Our response – “It depends.” I know – very helpful – right? Let’s break “it depends” down into three categories:
A first time triathlete will have different needs than the experienced athlete. The experienced athlete will have more gear since they have been in the sport longer, while the beginner has just a few items. Now– that does not mean that the beginner should go out and buy everything at once. At our panel discussion Aaron Pratt, Owner Wisconsin Indoor Cycling pointed out that for your first time borrow equipment or rent to keep your cost down. At a minimum you will need:
- Swim Suit (perhaps a wetsuit depending on water temperatures) Wetsuit rental program:
- Cycling/Tri shorts
- Jersey or shirt
- Shoes (could be your running shoes)
- Running Shoes
- Shorts (could be the same that you wear for the bike)
- Some Water bottle for the bike and perhaps for the run
Lee Dalgety, myTEAM TRIUMPH Wisconsin Central Regional Director advised that it is a good idea to start out with a Sprint distance triathlon as the distance is shorter and it is a great way to get a feel for the sport without having to plan for as much nutrition and major transition plans. Will Smith, Coach and Former Pro Triathlete defined the distances as:
- 750 meter swim (most swims in our area are 400 meters)
- 20 km bike
- 5 km run
- 1500 meter swim
- 40 km bike
- 10 km run
Half Ironman or 70.3
- 1.2 mile swim
- 56 mile bike
- 13.1 mile run
- 2.4 mile swim
- 112 mile bike
- 26.2 mile run
While some people will make Ironman their first triathlon – Susan Sweitzer, Owner Tribling suggested starting at a shorter distance. This was her big learning as she made Ironman her first race she signed up for without doing one other race. It all turned out great but she still suggest small steps.
Andrew Knapp, Coach and Owner of Ironworx Multisport suggested along with figuring out your dollar budget to also figure out your time budget. As Andrew said, “There is no secret other than hard work.” It is important to define what your training schedule will look like and then determine a plan that will work with that. Ironman distances will take about 13 hours a week and up and about 6 days a week with multiple work outs per day on many days. The sprint on the other hand you may be able to do this on half the time per week. Zeus Arreguin, Coach and Owner of E3 Coaching encouraged participants to talk with their spouse/significant other and family about their training plans and plan/budget time. He will often build family time into plans he works out with athletes.
As for a dollar amount – this is where it gets to an individual level. I offered the use of a budgeting tool that Endurance House developed to help think out your commitment and investment levels. Bikes can range up to $12,000 or more – not many people ride these bikes unless you are a pro and then few of them are seen on these bikes. However, it is not uncommon for someone who gets into the sport and wants to grow with it to spend $2,800 to $5,000 on a bike. Here is a link to the PDF version of the budget tool. If you’d like the excel version to make calculations easier email me and I will send it out to you.
The common advice from all panelist was to get a bike fit – you spend so much time on your bike you need to be comfortable.
The bottom line is that major brands such as BlueSeventy, Cervelo, BMC, Giro, Newton, Garmin and many others have very affordable products for athletes of all levels.
As you think through all this – everyone on the panel suggested talking with people to find out more. You will find triathletes to be very approachable and eager to help. As you plan out your training consider all coaching options as well as self-coaching. Group training plans are also good options as you experience your journey with teammates on the same path as you. While you don’t get the individual plan, you get a road map that spells out weekly, monthly and season distances day by day and these are typically a one-time fee for the entire program rather than monthly.
Check out these resources:
- Endurance House Group Training: http://endurancehousemadison.com/programs/
- E3 Coaching: http://e3coachingmadison.com/
- Ironworx Multisport: http://www.ironworxmultisport.com/
- Wisconsin Indoor Cycling: http://www.wisconsinindoorcycling.com/
- Will Smith Coaching: http://triwillsmith.com/
- myTEAM TRIUMPH (A great way to help those with the same goals as you and in need of an angel to help them succeed.) www.myteamtriumph-wi.org
- TriBling: http://www.tribling.com/ Celebrate your accomplishment!