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How to be a triathlete on a budget



A commonly held misconception about the sport of triathlon is that it’s super expensive.

Look, let’s face it. You may know someone involved in the sport who spends a lot on all things triathlon-related. And that’s absolutely fine! They love the sport and are entitled to do as they wish with their hard earned money.

But what about the rest of us?

There’s many people who are finding 2023 a little difficult financially. With interest rate rises and the cost of living having never been so high, we thought we’d put our thinking caps on and provide you with the Top 6 ways to keep the costs of the sport of triathlon down.

budget triathlon!

  1. Scrap the gym membership and join a TNSW Affiliated Club

The average gym membership in Sydney costs $21 per week. That’s $1,100 (at least) for the privilege of being able to attend.

By comparison, the average TA / TNSW / Local Club Membership is approx. $250 and that’s a one off fee, paid annually.

So why opt for a gym membership, lifting weights on your own inside, when you could be outside amongst nature, training and exercising with likeminded individuals and wonderful club mates.

Most Triathlon NSW Affiliated Clubs offer FREE swim, bike and run sessions each week for their members, which are all included in the cost of your one off annual membership fee. Many have an active social media platform for you to connect and train together. Some have qualified TA coaches who donate their time to run sessions for the club and it’s members, free of charge!

Motivation, friendship and cheaper then joining a gym?

Seems like a win / win to us!

  1. Exchange or borrow kit to keep the costs down.

By linking up to your local club, you’ll open up endless possibilities and there’s many club members who are often looking to offload their unused kit and apparel for very cheap prices. Keep your ear to the ground and jump on those bargains so you can feel like you’ve got all the gear, but still some cash in your pocket! You don’t need to be spending big $$$ on brand new merchandise and apparel, it’s just not a necessary requirement for the sport and an easy way to keep the costs down and still be a part of the fun.

  1. Triathlon watches don’t have to be expensive.

Entry level watches can be as low as $200 and let’s face it, whilst you may want a watch that costs thousands of $$$, you actually don’t need it.

And if you don’t have one, then maybe your phone is your best option?

You can still run and cycle with your phone, you can still use Strava on your smartphone so there is nothing stopping you from avoiding a watch and recording your activities with the GPS feature.

  1. Second hand bikes are great value.

The bike is often the most expensive barrier to getting into the sport of triathlon. But the good news is that the vast majority of athletes (particularly those starting out in the sport) can achieve heaps of amazing improvements on a good quality second hand bike. And even better news, you can save a truckload by buying a second-hand bike as they often sell for less than half of its original price.

Don’t forget, when traveling for a triathlon event, since you are taking your bike anyway, it will save you a big chunk of money to use your bike as your main transportation median.

Your bike can become your mode of transport for your everyday commute as well. Consider riding to and from work, making the most of your time and without the fuel or public transport costs! Exercise and travel in one, providing more kilometres in the legs and giving you more time at the end of a busy work day!

  1. Local Triathlon Club races are awesome (and cheap!)

Did you know that there are 450 races in NSW each season, and 375 are conducted by our 60 local clubs. And the best thing is, they are local (i.e. no need for accommodation or expensive petrol costs), and they are cheap, cheap, cheap! They won’t have all the ‘bells and whistles’ of a commercial event, but they do offer you a great experience to race, make mistakes, improve on those mistakes, and sharpen those skills that you only get to really practice during races – like transition.

Some club races are free once you’ve joined the club, others are a few bucks here and there, but all of them will mean you get to scratch that itch to race and compete, without having to fork out some serious bucks.

  1. Overseas travel is awesome, but we are spoilt for choice in NSW and Australia.

I am here to tell you that we are blessed with the quality and quantity of races available in NSW alone! Whilst the lure of a European or Asian triathlon trip might be pretty attractive, there’s a lot to be said for sticking your bike in the car and only needing one night’s accommodation. And lets face it, nearly all our events have camping grounds nearby so that’s also going to save you money.

There’s no compromise in the quality of the event, but it’s way more budget-minded for those who want to experience the sport, but not the expense. By staying around NSW, you remove the cost of flights, transporting a bike (and the worry of it arriving intact) and the additional logistical hassles of racing overseas.

And whilst we hear what you are saying, fuel also costs money, we strongly advocate sharing transport wherever possible. Jump into a car that’s got some friends, split the costs and accommodation expenses and have the time of your life.

So there you have it, our top 6 ways to save money and still reap the benefits of the sport of triathlon!


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