Thursday, December 19, 2013

How much does an Ironman really cost?

by Meghann on December 19, 2013

Alright, let’s talk facts and figures. I hope you’ve got a big bottle of wine sitting next to you, because you know for darn sure that I have one next to me. I also have one for my husband. You know, in case he ever reads this and figures out how much I actually spent training for this race. Let’s just say it’s a good thing I started working towards this goal before we joined bank accounts…

I knew going in to this that training for an Ironman was NOT going to be cheap. Heck, it cost me an arm and a leg just to pay the registration fee… a year in advance. But I knew it was something I really wanted to do and more than likely I was only going to do it once. I’d spent years dreaming about it and I worked hard to save the money to get me through it.

Still, I trained conservatively, both with time and with money. I knew I wanted this, but I also knew I didn’t want to go broke doing it. So below you’ll find my realistic view on what an Ironman really costs. Could I have spent less? Possibly. Could I have spent more? Definitely – the sky’s the limit when it comes to training equipment.


Registration fee: $682 ( + $150 in travel expenses to volunteer and register)


I know. It took me a while to process that figure, too. To make it worse, it wasn’t just the $682 I was paying that day. In order to be guaranteed a spot for registration, my siblings and I had to drive to Panama City, volunteer for 4 hours, and stay in a hotel room before waiting in line. That was one heavy duty weekend for my credit card.


12-month pool membership: $120


I trained at the local city pool. I paid $15 for the basic 6-month rec card and an additional $35 for the pool upgrade. The rec card gave me unlimited access to 3 (4?) pools through the city. Considering how much a monthly gym membership goes, I think I got a good deal.

Swim supplies: $75

night swim.jpg

Another guess on total $$$. While training I went through two pairs of goggles, a pair of paddles, a pull buoy, and a new swim suit.

Wetsuit: Already owned


Technically I paid $130 for the wetsuit, but that was two years ago. I ordered the wetsuit before Augusta 70.3 and have used it approximately one other time since then. I’m still happy with the purchase and plan to continue wearing it for future races.

Body Glide: $5

I still chafed. Next time I’m trying something new.


Tri Bike: $1500


As soon as I knew I was going to do a full distance Ironman, I knew I needed to upgrade my bike. I saved for a few months, then splurged when all of last year’s models went on sale and got a killer deal. I LOVED my Felt B16 and 100% believe it was worth the investment.

Bike maintenance: $200


This included two tune-ups, new clips, replacement tubes, handlebar wrap, etc. Bike maintenance really starts to add up after a while.

Bike shorts: $45

I <3 the clearance rack!


Travel expenses for Ironman weekend: $400


This is a big guess. That includes hotel, gas, food, and boarding for Maddie.

Training Plan: $13


I ordered Start to Finish: 24 Weeks to an Endurance Triathlon exactly one week after I registered for Ironman Florida. I thought it was a great plan and totally worth the $13 investment.

Training Team: Free


What else are friends for?

Garmin 910XT: $300


Retails on Amazon for $400, but I was able to use some Amazon rewards points towards the purchase. What really sold me on the 910 was the ability to track distance during open water swims. I also enjoyed the auto-multisport functionality, the fact that it vibrates for laps, and the battery life (it was still at 45% battery at the end of the 13 hour race). Unfortunately I didn’t practice the auto-multisport feature before race day and managed to royally screw it up. Sigh.

Spectator shirts: $80


Kelly and I ordered 24 shirts online ( and split the cost. It was our gift for our AMAZING spectators. 🙂



And I can guarantee you I left a BUNCH of stuff out! Oh, and that’s only what I spent in the year of training – not including anything I invested in before I registered. HOW CRAZY IS THAT?!

Of course, some tri-geeks will spend MORE than that on a bike and new tires. Sigh. I’m not rich enough for this sport. I did it the “cheap” way.

To me, $3570 is A LOT of money. Was it worth it? Hell yeah. I would spend it all again in a heart beat.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I need to pour some more wine.

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