Triathlon: From a Sprint to the Ironman
Triathletes use competitions to test their hard work and to provide inspiration and landmarks while training. Race registration costs $15 to $100 and up, depending on the scale and location of the event. Often, an event will run races of multiple distances on the same day, so make sure to pick the one that's right for you. The sites below can help you select the appropriate competition.
- Most sites in this section don't use geographic search engines to direct prospective competitors to nearby events. Users likely will have to sort and search themselves. However, a zip-code-enabled search can be found at Triathlete Magazine, also listed in the "Where can I get triathlon-specific news?" section.
- Sites vary in the extent of detail given for races, but all link to event sites for the full rundown and online registration.
Triathletes of all levels get excited about their sport, and online news sites draw content from professional journalists and average-Joe enthusiasts alike. Select only the sources that meet your needs, or collect a variety of perspectives.
- Triathlon news sites have more video content than those for other non-revenue endurance sports, but many are commercials or appear unprofessionally produced.
- You can find some triathlon news by doing searches on major sports new sites, but expect to find sparse results.
The highly demanding nature of triathlon training makes it an activity that lends itself to training in groups. Teams provide motivation to get through it, and, eventually, get better. The sites listed below enable online collaboration, and have information about joining live and local teams. The Internet holds vast resources that can take triathletes of any level up to the next one.
- It's easier to join a team online than to use a geographic locator to find a team in your area.
- Open-water swimming courses present uncontrollable challenges-wind, waves, currents, precipitation-with which lap swimmers never contend. Almost every triathlon starts with an open-water swim, and location and climate can limit outdoor workouts.
- Online sources for bike route info are often localized. For North American mountain biking, check out DirtWorld.com.
Grappling with the gear required of a triathlete can be daunting. There are options for clothing, but all athletes probably will require bike and running shoes, nutrient-dense edible gels, bike tubes, swim caps and goggles, sunglasses, sunscreen, and other body products you didn't know you were missing. You'll find them all on the sites below.
- Free shipping is rare among online triathlon retail outlets. Many have price-matching and 30-day return policies.
- Gear needs are not universal. Not all open-water swimmers need a wetsuit-it depends on race distance and duration, water temperature, athletic experience, etc. First-time triathletes also might opt to skip cycling shoes to cut down on transition time between the biking and running segments of the race. Some sites give shoppers points to consider when making the choice.
- Many sites sell obscure, sport-specific brands; a few also offer products from widely known labels. Typically, shoppers select their sport (swimming, cycling, or running) then narrow choices by apparel or gear needs, and then choose a brand. Some sites also have sections separated for gender-specific wares.
- Buying gear can get expensive and confusing; fortunately, most sites listed below have clearance sections, and some have customer-generated product reviews that can offset costs and help guide purchases.
- If you're truly lost, try this FAQ page from Houston Racing. About halfway down the page you'll find an equipment checklist.