Where is My Mojo

An expensive sport? Let’s do it cheaper!

In Swim, Triathlons on May 6, 2011 at 6:30 PM

It really depends on how much are you willing to spend. Of course, the dollars add up, but you can control how much “up” you want them to add.

As you know, a triathlon is about three distinct sports: Swimming, Biking & Running, therefore you need to gear up for each discipline. For some you don’t need much, but for others you do, and those “do’s” can cost money, and yes it’s the biking one that can push your budget up!

So I thought I would just list out the so needed gear by discipline and comment on each one of them, and even recommending places where to shop. I’m in Miami so I do a lot of in-store shopping, but some of these stores have online purchasing capabilities, in case you are interested in checking them out. Just so you know, these are the things I have, I’m sure there are plenty more and sophisticated stuff out there that can help you in your training/performance. Remember, I’m not an expert… I just want to be a triathlete.

Because I don’t want to bore you with a LONG post, today I will focus on Swimming, and then tomorrow perhaps on biking and then Sunday (if I survive all the training) will talk about running.

Swim:

  1. Swimming cap – you can buy them at any sports store for less than $20. My first cap was given to me by one of my friends and team mates. She bought it especially for me because it was for long hair. Now my hair is shorter, but I still use it. However, because it’s gray, when I go swimming in open water I use more colorful and catchy caps to alert other people and boaters that I’m there. I guess they will see from afar something like a match head floating in the water. I found some really cool and fun ones in SwimOutlet.com. I got one that says “Got Chlorine?”, another one with a smily face, one with assorted colored cubes and one that’s kinda psychedelic a-la-Austin-Powers (yeah, baby! Yeah! – sorry, I had too). As you will see, they are not expensive. This is one piece of gear you will need for a race, however these are provided to you by the race coordinators. Each wave/group of swimmers have a determined color, as you compete by categories.
  2. Goggles – same here. You can get them at any store and they are not expensive. You can find these for less than $20. I bought mine with The Dude. He selected them for me and those are the only ones I have so far. I’m planning on buying a pair with a darker shade for the sun. Sometimes when you are swimming and stick your head out to take some air, you find yourself partially blind because of the sun. Not good. Now these too you need for a race, and they are not provided to you, so you need to bring your own.
  3. Kicking board – Well, I had no idea how much this one cost until I saw Trijungle’s site, and yes, you can find these too at less than 20 bucks! I use The Dude’s board. He lent it to me and then he got a new one. So, I guess, technically, it’s mine now (?). This is something you will need for training purposes only. When team or individual training, we have to do several drills with it, especially for warm ups.
  4. Pull bouy – this little thing is a tricky fellow. This goes between your legs while your swim putting pressure on them. The idea is to provide buoyancy to the legs to keep them from sinking while you keep your legs immobile, while you focus on training your arms. This will also in keeping your kicking under control. I learned that kicking doesn’t really make you move forward, it’s your stroke that does it all. When I first tried this I was going crazy, tilting from one side to the other. I’m still working on it. Again, very inexpensive, and only needed for training purposes, so don’t put it in your transition bag cause it ain’t doing a thing for you!
  5. Hand paddles – These plastic devices are worn on your hands to enhance muscle build-up or speed during your swimming practice. I haven’t used these much, but will be as I’m taking swimming classes with my coach. I borrowed mine from guess who? Yes, The Dude.
  6. Fins – another swimming prop help develop leg strength as well as improve your body position in the water. The idea, according to me, is to do your drills with these on, and when you swim in the “real world” a.k.a. race, you will be faster. I have the these and actually got them cheaper at Sports Authority if I’m not mistaken.
  7. Swim suit for training – well, normally everybody has one, so it’s not like you cannot begin training because you don’t have one. Now, I got one because I didn’t have a full body one, so I got your typical training/racing one, and with this what I mean is I didn’t get a South Beach glam type of suit. This one is a non-form beneficial type. Yes, you don’t look HOT in it. Because I’m practical I bought one that is reversible. One side is green, like REALLY striking green, and on the other is black. Something like this. Additionally, I have a pair swim shorts, which are for men but who cares, they fit (actually nicer than the swim suit), and that way I don’t need to be showing extra skin when training with my teammates. Swim suits/shorts vary in price. Just look for materials that will endure many uses especially in a chlorine environment. Now, for racing the best thing to have is a tri suit, either a two piece or one piece. I have both, but for the two races I’ve done, I’ve used the one piece. I bought Zoot because it’s a good tri apparel brand and also, quite frankly, they were on sale (great sale) at one of my new favorite stores Mack Cycle. Tri suites take you throughout the entire race without having to take anything off or put anything on when it comes to clothing. It’s like being naked and only having to change shoes, helmet to running cap, etc. It’s one less thing to worry about.

Additionally, I have a wetsuit which I’ve only worn once, and a neoprene shirt which I do wear a lot, especially when I go to swim in the LA Fitness pool, which is supposed to be heated, but to my standards, it’s NOT! I admit not tolerating cold very well, unless I’m properly covered, and in water there’s not a lot you can do. By the way, that wetsuit I would wear with high heels and go party!!! The body that thing gives you is incredible!

Now, if you have the time and the interest, do a little price search for these items and see how much hypothetically you would be spending just in the swimming department. Again you can get great price-accessible stuff, or you can go out there to get top of the line brands. Because I’m in an entry level phase, I try to be humble in terms of what I get and the price I pay. Of course I look for good brands, but I try to find the opportunities to save some cash!

Thanks for reading me and if you have any suggestions, comments, etc for me, leave me a note!

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