Spend or Save, the Triathlon Edition

News and Updates

If you’re not an athlete swimming in sponsorship deals and big time prize money, choosing what to spend your cash on is one of the more important things you need to consider. We know it’s a struggle to know what things to buy that will benefit your triathlon journey. That’s why we’re here to help you out.

We asked our members: what is one thing you wish you could have spent on off the bat when you got into triathlon (rather than spend on upgrades)? And what is one thing you can buy the cheapest version of and get away with it?


Matthew Spooner cheekily said, “Bike shorts. Good ones. Makes life so much better.” And it’s true; quality chamois and hidden seams spell the difference between enjoying a long day in the saddle or rueing the decision to ride out.

But speaking of bikes, a number of members suggested spending for a proper bike fit.  John Muncey said, “A comfortable position that you can hold and want to ride in minimizes injury and encourages regular training.”

The same thing applies to running. Tommy Morwood admitted, “I wish I had seen a podiatrist or running specialist to analyse my stride. I ended up with really bad knee pain and shin splints due to having the wrong shoe. As soon as I found out that different shoes were made specifically for different people, I got checked, was recommended a specific pair of shoes, and have been injury-free ever since.”

Getting a coach or having good training advice also ranked high on what our members felt they should have spent on earlier in their triathlon journey. Rhys Stewart said, “I should have spent more straight up on a coach. I don’t regret self-coaching, learning the sport and the process for three years before hiring one. But I wouldn’t have wasted nearly as much time making mistakes and stagnating during that period.”


On the flip side, there are many ways to save when it comes to triathlon expenses and equipment.

On the topic of bikes, many of us began doing triathlons with borrowed bikes and then purchased a second-hand bike when we wanted to do more races. Dustin suggested, “An old nine- or 10-speed mechanical shifting TT bike with rim brakes can go a LOOOOOOONG way; it’s all about the fit.”

Matthew added, “A friend recently sold a top spec 2017 Cervelo P3 with Di2 and Zipp Wheels for £1400 ($1800 USD). This is around 20% of the original cost [but] the difference between this [second-hand] bike and a brand new superbike will be marginal.”

(It’s also worth mentioning that Chrissie Wellington won her first few professional races on a second-hand road bike!)

You can also snap up the previous season’s bike models, sports GPS watches, apparel, and shoes when they go on sale.

And while crossing a finish line and being called an Ironman may be the ultimate dream for some, this comes at a high price: a registration fee sometimes up to 100% more expensive than an unbranded race of the same distance, plus travel costs. Matthew said, “Triathlon is far more than Ironman; Ironman is just a brand with great marketing. Spend time doing sprints and Olympic distance races. Do local races, learn the ropes. When you are at a good level, enter an Ironman.”

As for training, joining a local triathlon club with coached group sessions can help you save on coaching costs and provides you with a mix of training partners.

Lastly, joining Pho3nix Club allows you to leverage our experts with sound nutrition and training advice and also pick the brains of age group athletes of all levels.

Triathlon is a sport we can enjoy at various price points; our top priority is to make the most of what we have to achieve the goals we set out for ourselves.

(Header photo by Michael Longmire on Unsplash.)


Together We Rise

The Pho3nix Foundation assists and inspires children worldwide to achieve their dreams and live healthy, inspired lives through sport.

From kids triathlons and workshops to teen sports camps and assistance for aspiring Olympians, Pho3nix projects create a pathway from participation to professionalism. Pho3nix Club memberships and donations support every step on that pathway.