It’s no secret triathlon is an expensive sport and can slowly drain your student loan. With Freshers entering University all over the country, our ambassador Laura Rose Smith has put together some ideas on how you can make the sport more affordable whilst living as a student.
Get your meal prep on point
Meal prep (especially batch cooking) is the key to keeping food costs down whilst getting the nutrition you need for training. Instead of grabbing food whilst you’re out and about, bring it with you and save those pennies.
My rucksack is always packed with a flask of tea and copious Tupperware meals to keep me well fuelled throughout the day which additionally contributes to waste reduction from overly packaged food and takeaway cups. Overnight oats is always a winner for a post-swim breakfast on the go.
Swap and share
When I started triathlon it was great to be able to use teammates when I needed kit that I didn’t have. We would often trade a trisuit for a wetsuit and wheels for some aero bars to keep us training and competing without blowing our budgets.
In with the old out with the new
Whilst swapping and sharing can be good, there is only so much you can get away with borrowing. Look for second-hand essentials, like a bike, that are in good working order to ensure you have the basics.
Opt for cheaper kit alternatives
I love the idea of kit that looks the part, but financially this isn’t always viable and can result in having to wear the same pair of bib shorts all year... which no one wants!
Keep your eyes peeled when in supermarkets for kit that doesn’t cost the earth and have the luxury of a choice of shorts.
Bike maintenance isn’t hard and there are plenty of YouTube channels that guide you through how to service and fix your own bike. Learn the basics and use the knowledge of others to keep your bike in top shape whilst saving on the cost of a bike shop visit.
Utilise the perks of being a student
Being a student does come with its benefits, including cheaper gym memberships and affordable University clubs, so make sure you use them!
Get the essentials first
Yes, a disc wheel is very fancy and sunglasses that match your bike are cool but are they really necessary? Prioritise purchasing the gear you NEED initially and then, if you have the funds, you can go crazy on all the added extras.
Support local events
Who doesn’t love a trip abroad and racing in major Championships but realistically it isn’t affordable all the time. Make use of nearby events to save on travel expenses whilst keeping your local events up and running.
Cut down on travel expenses
If travelling is inevitable then opt for the cheaper options of car sharing and camping. Saving money and socialising… no brainer!
If all else fails do what I did...
Find a triathlete partner and steal all their kit, hijack their trips abroad, and use them as a personal mechanic. Easy.
So that’s my top ten tips for cutting the costs in triathlon… No excuses not to get out there and swim, bike, run!
About the author: Laura Rose Smith is a Team GB Age Group triathlete and Sundried ambassador.
A triathlon belt is a race bib number holder that is worn during races in order to hold your race number. The point of wearing a triathlon belt is so that you do not have to pin your race number onto your trisuit thereby poking holes into the material and potentially ruining a piece of kit you paid a lot of money for.
The main benefit to wearing a triathlon belt is that you need your number to be visible from the back on the bike but from the front on the run. If your number is pinned to your tri suit using safety pins, you won't be able to swap it round. If you wear a triathlon race belt, you will be able to easily swivel your number from your back to your front between disciplines, saving precious time during transition.
The London Triathlon is the world's biggest triathlon, attracting over 13,000 racers and up to 30,000 spectators. If you are looking for a triathlon to test you or for an exciting and exhilarating initiation into the world of multi sport, this is the triathlon for you.
Amateur and professional triathletes are regularly joined by celebrities for this huge occasion, with London Triathlon finishers including presenter of The Gadget Show Jason Bradbury and TOWIE star Lydia Rose Bright.
There are several different triathlon distances on offer to suit all level of competitors. From super sprint to Ironman, the distance you choose depends on your fitness level and also your experience, as diving straight into a full Ironman is definitely not advisable if you are a beginner triathlete!
Swim Bike Run Super Sprint 400m 10km 2.5km Sprint 750m 20km 5km Standard/Olympic 1500m 40km 10km Middle Distance 2.5km 80km 20km Long Distance 4km 120km 30km Ironman Distance 3.8km 180km 42km
It's important to check the exact distances of the race you intend to participate in before you sign up as some race distances can vary. An Ironman triathlon is a specific brand of triathlon and the distances vary slightly from that of an ITU long distance triathlon.
How to use a triathlon belt
Using a triathlon belt is very easy and straight forward. Ever spent ages trying to fix your race number to your top using fiddly safety pins? A race number belt is so much easier to use and means you don't have to puncture holes in your activewear.
Your triathlon belt will feature two toggles at the front. Simply take the toggle off the elastic, slide your bib number through the pieces of elastic, and then replace the toggles so that the race number is fastened into place. That's it! You can wear your triathlon belt wherever is comfortable on your body, whether that's round your waist or round your hips. You can easily swivel your triathlon belt so that your race number is either at the front or at the back.
So you've taken the plunge, signed up, and now the training begins. The early morning brick sessions and the late night foam rolling will all make a difference in the end, right? Here are 5 things you'd only understand if you're training for a triathlon.
1. Now you realise why it's called a 'brick' session
Because your legs feel like bricks afterwards! Running is one thing, cycling is another, but putting both together can be brutal! Not to mention the jelly legs after a tough swim session. But this is why we train!
2. The world is surprisingly peaceful at 5 am
Getting those early morning training sessions in before work or just before the rest of the world has woken up can seem like a chore, but in reality, it's one of the most peaceful and enjoyable parts of the whole process. Those Sunday morning rides when there's no traffic on the road and it's just you against the world give you plenty of time to gather your thoughts, reflect, and mentally sort out anything that's been stressing you lately.
3. Checking training stats is addictive
If you use Garmin, Strava, or anything similar, you'll appreciate how addictive it can be to try to beat your previous performance or to beat your friends on a particular segment. Maximum cycling speed of 26mph on your last ride? Better get that to 30!
4. Triathlon burns HOW MANY calories!?
You never realised just how many calories you'd be burning and how much you get to eat now! Your average run can burn around 600 calories, a long ride maybe up to 1,000, but doing a big brick session can get you closer to the 2,000 calorie mark! That means lots of pizza to refuel!
5. Getting an early night and not drinking so that you can get up early the next morning is surprisingly enjoyable
You used to laugh at the people who went home early to get to bed, but now you're one of them. You definitely don't miss the hangovers, and your new cycling and running friends are super supportive! Who knew that training for a triathlon could be so fun! Enjoy!
Kirsten is a natural athlete and enjoys competing in Ironman triathlon. She talks to Sundried about life as a triathlete.
Have you always been into sport?
Yes, I have always been fortunate enough to have taken part in sport from a young age, and my parents chauffeured me around to clubs and races. At school, PE was the best part of the week and I loved swimming, running and playing tennis. I also had 2 horses which took up a lot of time.
What made you decide to enter the world of triathlon?
I had been training for a marathon and I got bored of just running all the time, so I decided to join a local triathlon club. This was slightly daunting given I had never ridden a road bike, but now the bike part is my strongest discipline! I love the idea of three sports and the constant challenge or trying to improve.
What’s been your favourite race to date and why?
My favourite race to date was Chicago ITU standard distance in 2015. It was the first time I ever raced abroad and was an incredible experience being able to see the elites race and also support friends racing as age-group athletes. The course was also spectacular, set in the heart of Chicago and on closed roads and tunnels that went under the main city.
And your proudest achievement?
My proudest achievement was winning my age-group at Ironman Dubai 70.3. It was my first Ironman branded race and first half Ironman. It was set overlooking the Burj Al Arab, and standing on the stage at night overlooking this was just incredible.
Have you ever had any racing disasters / your toughest race yet?
Yes, I think there are always things that go wrong, even just small things when you reflect on a race, but my biggest fear is a mechanical or a puncture! I raced Cholmondeley Castle triathlon a couple of years ago and came out of the water 2nd female to discover my tyre had punctured coming out of T1. I was in a total panic and the pit stop didn’t work, it came out as fast as it went in. It took ages to get fixed and somehow the chain then got all caught up!
My toughest race to date was Ironman Marbella 70.3. There was a large swell in the sea on race morning which made sighting very hard, and the bike course was brutal. I then fell on the first km of the run which set me back a lot as I had hurt my ankle and grazed my hands and knees. Sheer determination and encouragement from a friend on the side line got me through and to my surprise finished 3rd in my age group.
How do you overcome setbacks?
Where possible it is good to prepare for what could go wrong so if it does, I can manage things better. After a race, I take time to reflect. It is very easy to pick up the things that went wrong but it is important to look at what went well and I discuss all of this with my coach who has a very positive approach. From there, I move forwards and remember that not every race is going to be a good race.
What is the best bit of advice you wish someone had told you before you started competing?
There is so much advice! I used to sit on YouTube trying to find answers to how to lay items in transition, how to change an inner tube, how to train, swim technique, the list goes on! But the best thing to do is enjoy the race, not stress and learn from others.
What are your goals for 2018?
In 2018, I have chosen courses that are challenging for me. I prefer flat courses as this is where I am powerful. So I chose Marbella 70.3, Mallorca 70.3 and Luxembourg 70.3 and am yet to decide on the back end of the season.
Who do you take your inspiration from?
I admire Emma Pallant. She is a true inspiration and works so hard and gets amazing results.
What do you like about Sundried and what’s your favourite bit of our kit?
I love the idea behind Sundried, the ethics and charitable work behind the brand and this attracted me to their products. I particularly love the training vests for running as they are so comfortable.
First a National bronze medal and now selection for the Elite World Duathlon Championships… my season is looking to be very exciting!
Considering I wasn’t even going to enter the National Championships from fear of not being able to hold my own in a field of great athletes, I’m so glad I took a plunge into the deep end!
I was informed on Friday that I had made selection for the U23 GBR team going to Fyn, Denmark for Worlds and it’s left me on an all-time high! So, it’s a quick change to my race calendar and upcoming training to get me ready for the standard distance duathlon at the start of July.
What’s after that? Well, the news of selection has meant that I’ve had to have a real think about what my race calendar will entail this year. I’ve decided to focus on the Duathlon Worlds and postpone my triathlon season until after the event which will coincide with the last few French Grand Prix races this season. It would additionally be great to finish the season with the Elite European Duathlon Championships in Ibiza, but I guess I’ll have to see what the season holds as to whether I am eligible for selection (keep your fingers crossed for me!).
Sundried have continued to give me unlimited support and I can’t wait to represent the brand in all my races this year! Whether it’s sports apparel to keep me in good supply for training and racing or kit to aid my training, they are a great company to work with. I’m just glad the warm weather is here so I can make use of their summer range!