ACING YOUR TRIATHLON ON A SHOESTRING BUDGET

Shaun George BOTS Guides, Tips & Tricks, Triathlon

Triathlons are fun and can get quite addictive over a period of time. Triathlons require you to perfect your skills in 3 different disciplines – most people are good at one particular sport, not so much at the other two. Training along with the right kind of equipment can help you improve in all 3 disciplines. Getting into triathlons can be moderately expensive. There are retailers that will do starter packages, so for around 70-90K INR, you can get an entry-level bike, a wet suit, a tri-suit, and enough gear to get you going in the sport. Spending a lot of money isn’t necessary to get into the sport of triathlon. Read on to find out how you can take part in triathlons on a shoestring budget.

1. CHOOSE THE RIGHT EVENTS

There are a bunch of great triathlons taking place in India this year especially. The big, high-profile races generally boast spectacular sceneries, a huge invitee list, and awards or prizes for all those who complete them. Because of the organization required – road closures, mass staff requirements, overnight bike storage facilities – this also makes them more expensive to enter. If you’re just beginning, we’d recommend taking part in a sprint triathlon – these are usually a lot cheaper and are a great stepping stone for an aspiring triathlete. These small scale triathlon events also give you a chance to experience a triathlon without committing too much time or money into the event.

2. A TRI BIKE ISN’T A NECESSITY

You don’t need a tri-bike to compete in a triathlon. Tri bikes are a great idea in case you’re really serious about triathlons and are looking to competitively taking part in them. On a tighter budget, you can invest in a road bike or even a hybrid. We’ve seen participants compete on MTB’s – not the most ideal kind of bike to try it on but it can be done nonetheless. You won’t be as fast or as efficient as riders on a Tri-bike but most amateur and beginner athletes are going to be attempting the triathlon on a road bike too.

A nice addition to a standard road bike would be a TT bar that will enable you to be in a more aerodynamic position. It will, as a result, make you considerably faster and more efficient.

If your budget doesn’t allow for a road bike then you don’t necessarily need a new bike – that old mountain bike in the shed can be transformed into a race-worthy machine with a little spanner action. The three main elements in determining your speed are the wheels, weight and riding position. Swap your chunky off-road tires for skinnier slick ones (around 1.5K a set), strip off all the unnecessary bits (mudguards, lock brackets, chain-guards, lights brackets, pannier rack) and then tinker with the saddle, and handlebars.

3. USE ALL YOUR RESOURCES

Talk to any triathlete today, and you’ll come to realize that most of them train under the guidance of a coach. That can be an expensive affair but on a lower budget, you don’t need a coach at all – online coaches and courses are also a popular choice these days. You could get similar advice and first-hand experiences on Youtube and blogs online. Remember that consistency is key. Keep practicing and hone your skills – try to get faster over time and you will reach your goals.

4. INVEST IN A GOOD TRI SUIT

There’s so many reasons as to why a tri-suit is perfect for you. The biggest and most important reason to invest in one is to save time. A tri suit is meant to be worn through all 3 stages of a triathlon. This implies that there’s very little time spent during transitions. Most Indian triathlons aren’t open water and even the ones that are, don’t require you to wear a wetsuit. A tri suit is all you need to complete the race comfortably. If it’s your first triathlon and you’re not too sure if you want to invest in a tri suit then you could just opt for regular swimwear that will take you through the first leg – you will need a change of clothes in order to proceed to the other legs of the race.

5. SPEND SMART

As you already know, there’s a lot that one can spend on when it comes to tri-specific gear. We’d only recommend spending on equipment that will give you significant advantages. A simple set of elastic laces can save you as much time as an aero helmet would during the biking leg of the race. A strip of bright ribbon tied to your bike frame will help you find your bike in the mad transition area during your first transition.


Triathlons don’t have to be as expensive an affair as they are believed to be. You can take part in tri events on a shoestring budget and still finish with a respectable or possibly even competitive time. Focus on training and spend more time on the discipline that isn’t your strongest point. Equipment can be purchased later on when you begin to get more competitive.

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