Triathlon’s hidden expenses

Triathlon is not a cheap sport. Even if you stick to shorter sprint distance races, and your starting from scratch, by the time you buy a bike, running shoes, training and racing gear and a pool pass you’ve likely eclipsed the $1,500 to $2,000 mark. Oh yeah, you still haven’t registered for the race which will run another $50 – $100.

If you decide to jump up to the 1/2 Ironman or Ironman distance then you end up in a whole other league of expenses, many of which we never consider before signing up.
There are the direct fees like race entry.  Just for the privilege of suffering for 12 – 14 hours at Ironman it will cost you $525 to register. Though I’m telling myself this is a bargain because if I break it down by the hour it’s only about $40/hour based on my finish time (if I go even slower the bargain gets even better!).  Compare that to a sprint race I did last year that cost $80 to register and I was done in a little over an hour – that’s twice the cost per hour! That’s how I justify racing Ironman anyway.
Here are a few examples of the hidden expenses that I’ve experienced:
  • Food – Last week my training hours hit 12.5 which works out to about 10,000 calories. I’m not a small guy and my basal metabolic rate is about 1,900 calories per day, or another 13,300 for the week bringing the week’s total to 23,300 calories I need to replenish. Thankfully for my wallet, I’m also trying to drop a few pounds before race day so maybe I only replenished 20,000 calories that week.  Just to make sure I stay healthy with the increased workload I also take supplements from Hammer Nutrition which are not cheap.
  • Pool fees – At only $5 to $10 per visit it doesn’t seem to be a big deal. Until you multiply that times 3 – 4 swim workouts a week.
  • Laundry – Especially over the winter this one can really add up.  Today is a typical example of 1 day’s laundry.  This morning I ran, and it was cold, really cold.  I wore 1 pair of socks, a bottom base layer, running pants, a long sleeve top base layer, wind vest, long sleeve top layer, balaclava, a hat, a pair of mittens and a pair of gloves. this was followed by a swim at the pool later in the day which only produced a swim suit and towel.  Two a day workouts are not unusual for most of the week so needless to say we do a whole lot of laundry throughout the week (thanks Amy!)
  • Travel – Conveniently for the Ironman race in Lake Placid all of the hotels double their rates and require a four night minimum, so, you know that doesn’t help any. They’ll be one to two training trips this spring to Lake Placid.  Thankfully I know several people who are also racing and we’ll be able to carpool and split a hotel room. I’m just praying that gas prices stay relatively low!

I’m afraid to go into any more examples for fear of talking myself out of doing triathlon any longer.

What expenses am I missing?
Photo credit: Jenn_jenn

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