Race Triathlons on a Budget

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You don't have to be rich to run a triathlon. Despite its image as a sport filled with C-level executives with six-figure salaries, triathlons are filled with participants who come from more modest means as well.

Triathlon is one of the fastest growing sports in the United States, causing its pool of participants to expand and diversify as well. 

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Forget triathlon's reputation for a moment. You can still participate in the sport of triathlon if you're on a budget. Here's a few tips to get you started.

The Swim

Men: Wear a pair of compression shorts for the swim. If you don't have these already, they'll cost around $25.

Note: Ditch the swim trunks that you typically wear to the beach or pool. Baggy shorts will slow you down in the water. Instead, opt for a slimmer, smaller short for race day. 

You can splurge on a pair of specialized tri-shorts, which have a little padding for the bike portion,  for about $50. However, you don't need them, especially for your first few races.

More: Tips for Tri Newbies

Women: You can wear a one piece or a two-piece, just make sure that it fits well and is designed for competitive swimming. You don't want any wardrobe malfunctions happening during the swim!

For everyone: You want a pair of goggles that don't leak. Most pairs you can pick up for around $10-$20. Don't agonize over which ones are more aerodynamic. A snug, proper fit is the most important feature to look for when you're buying a pair of goggles. 

The Bike

Helmet: All triathlon participants must wear a helmet and those who don't are disqualified. If you don't already have a helmet, you can pick on up for between $25 to $50.

Shirt: You'll need a shirt for the bike as most races won't allow you to leave the transition area without one (and you'll need something to pin your race number to as well). Check out the clearance racks of your local bike or recreation gear shop, especially if you wear an X-Small or XX Large size. Those two sizes often end up as sales items and can be marked down by as much as 60 percent.

More: A Gear List for Intermediate Triathletes