Low budget Ironman

For many triathletes a low budget Ironman is the only answer.

The beginner triathlete might appear to be looking at a costly endeavor when considering taking a run at their very first triathlon or Ironman distance race.

This is especially true with the world-wide recession that has impacted so many people. Not only is the entry fee high, but bikes, wetsuits and other tri gear can be expensive as well.

Just getting yourself to the race and finding a place to stay has to be taken into account.

However, a low budget ironman is very possible.


Let’s not forget to include coaching for the beginner triathlete when it come to their Ironman budget.

For those who are completely new to the sport, fitness club membership fees, and all that pool time that has to be payed for also have to be taken into account.

On the positive side, you can learn from books and train yourself as many triathletes do.

Low budget ironman

Is becoming an Ironman expensive?

For instance Total Immersion has a great swimming technique that you can learn from their books and tapes and if necessary, do without costly swim-coach fees. Visit the Total Immersion website and see how to get yourself a 10% discount on purchases.

See, you are already learning ways to save money and learn how a low budget ironman is very possible.

Then of course there are all those special drinks, vitamins, gels, powders, and other magic elixirs that will make you faster than a speeding bullet. Well, if you believe all the hype.

Keep in mind that the earliest Ironmen made it basically on water and their own drink concoctions and favorite power food.

For Dave Scott it was figs and bananas with not a power gel in sight. The high tech drinks, bars, and gels were not even invented back then.

So what does all this mean?

Should the unrelenting call of the Ironman be left in the distant swirling dust along with all those other forgotten dreams. Dreams that have been lost on this freeway called life that is passing you by at breakneck speed—all because you are restricted to a meager Ironman budget?


Not in a million years should you let this opportunity pass you by. There is always a way to become a low budget ironman and be successful if the desire is in your heart to discover what you are truly capable of.

It will require some imagination and a bit of sacrifice. However, the low budget ironman that might seem impossible at first is truly a very possible concept that can make your Ironman dream a reality.

Low budget ironman

Nashbar "no-frame" sunglasses under $25

First of all, don’t get swept up by the mentality that all the fancy gear you see in tri magazines is necessary to your ultimate success.

Yes, there is some amazing ironman technology out there and some stunning gear and clothing as well, but it is not an $8000 bike, a $600 wetsuit, and $400 sunglasses that are essential to propel you to the Ironman finish line.

Just fancy sunglasses can cost as much as an Ironman entry fee and will take up a lot or your Ironman budget.

What’s truly important is the heart and courage to maneuver through the 2.4 mile swim, the skill and tenacity to make it through the 112 mile bike. The vision to never lose sight of the finish line that will be the real tools that will sustain you through-out your journey.


Keep in mind that in the early days of the Ironman, none of the current technology existed. There were no snap-in pedals, aero-bars, bike computers, and frames made of titanium and other space-age metals were still on the drawing-board somewhere.

You might say that back in those days every Ironman was a low budget ironman.

Pretty much all of the expensive gear available to today’s triathletes was simply not available to us old-timers. We made do with cheap bikes, cheap swimsuits, and cheap running shoes for the most part.

As a matter of fact, just finding a pair of tri-shorts was a challenge.

The fact that the Ironman has been growing so fast over the past decade and new races are being developed is good news if you are on a tight budget. If you live in the U.S. there is sure to be one or more Ironman races within driving distance.

Even if you live in Canada you have the option of entering Ironman Whistler in the West or Ironman Mont Tremblant in the East.

There is also the option to drive down to Coeur d’Alene, Idaho if you live in Western Canada or Lake Placid, New York if you live on the East side of the country.

It’s also the same for Europeans. There are races all over Europe now and most European triathletes can find an Ironman race to drive to and eliminate expensive flying costs. Travel expenses are the best way to save money if you are planning on doing a low budget ironman.

I will forever remember heading out on the King K. highway in Kona that memorable day in 1984 when race-day temperatures hit over 105 degrees on Ironman day. I will remember it not because of the weather, but more because of the piece of crap bike I was riding. Talk about a low Ironman budget.

It was about the only bike I could afford and today it probably wouldn’t make the grade as a wind-trainer bike. Still it got me through the day even though I had no spare tire, no computer, no aero bars, no titanium, and about 70 pounds of air pressure in my tires.

So if you are a beginner triathlete on a shoestring budget don’t obsess about not having the money for a bike to do your Ironman. Buy what you can afford. Buy used if necessary.


There’s not much of a market for used tri bikes so the advantage goes to the buyer…buy used, buy used, buy used………I don’t know how else to put it. If the cost of a bike is scaring you off of doing the Ironman, buy a used bike for cheap.

Low budget ironman

A basic road bike will get you to the finish line

Spend 3 or 5 hundred bucks instead of $3000 and save yourself a ton of money and avoid stretching your Ironman budget to the breaking point.

Look for a road bike as opposed to a triathlon bike and simply add profile bars to it. This will also save you money.

This is especially wise if you only want one shot at the Ironman and are not making a career out of it.


To cut down on your Ironman travel costs, pick a race that’s the closest to you. Hopefully it’s within driving distance. Driving has a ton of advantages. First you save by not having to fly and you can pack much of your favorite food to take with you.

Also you can car-pool and even save money on gas. While you are at it, share a place to stay with two or three others and your accommodation costs will come way down. Be sure to get a full kitchenette so you can prepare your own food.

Especially the food you brought with you from home. It’s smart not just because you save tons of money, but also because you don’t have any drastic changes to the diet you are used to.

WHAT TO WEAR ON RACE-DAYWell first of all, you can most likely rent a wetsuit and that alone will save you several hundred dollars. This is especially wise if you only plan on taking part in one Ironman.

It’s possible you could spend 5 or 6 hundred dollars and your wetsuit will hang in your closet for 20 years after the race. Some people decide to rent their wetsuit to begin with and possibly buy at a later date.

Instead of buying fancy, expensive bike clothes, consider purchasing an inexpensive tri-suit that you can wear under your wetsuit. You won’t have to change for the rest of the race. You can bike and run in your tri-suit.

There is no advantage to paying hundreds if dollars for a pair of sunglasses. However sunglasses are essential to protect your eyes from flying debris and bugs during your bike rides. Sun or not, you will need sunglasses.

Buy a pair for $19.99 or something along those lines. Try and find a pair that are shaded yellow. I say yellow because even on an overcast day they will brighten things up while protecting your eyes. Trying to cut your Ironman costs does not mean being careless about your safety.

If you really want your shot at the Ironman but are on a strict Ironman budget, it’s very possible to succeed.

Simply buy what you can afford and at the end of the day when you cross that Ironman finish line, it will make your accomplishment all that more amazing and memorable.

My books have helped many people around the world believe in themselves enough to get off the couch. Many took up the sport of triathlon and even reach the Ironman finish line and amazed even themselves with what they are capable of.

Whether you still have to learn how to swim, or want to take a run at your first Ironman I have a book that will help you realize your triathlon goals and dreams.

Be sure to have a look at the books I have written that have helped many triathletes around the world realize their Ironman and triathlon dreams and goals.

You can visit my ironstruck book store and find the perfect book for the new or experienced triathlete doing their very first try a tri triathlon or the Ironman.


Visit Ironman.com for race information.

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