The Ironman experience was truly priceless but when I first signed up I decided to keep a spreadsheet of the costs associated with training to get to the big day. I think the cost is a very personal thing because there is a way to do it on a strict budget or a way to go all out but I tried to do it within a reasonable budget.
The first expense is of course the sign up cost which let me tell you is a little tough to stomach at $821.50 inclusive of the insurance and active.com fees. I decided to go the coaching route which added a monthly cost but there are also lots of books and resources to be self-coached so that is not a required expense. I did not track my additional grocery spending but training not only increased my food intake but it also caused me to buy more healthy, fresh foods.
Every training session needs fuel and there are many options for race nutrition from gels, gus, powders and even real food. I chose Generation Ucan and supplemented with some squeezable fruit pouches, over all I spent about $500 on Ucan. Your bike will need accessories but I ended up spending some money to get a new bike that was carbon after I won a bike in a raffle. I needed new tires after getting a flat and then bought an aero bottle holder, new seat, aero bars and several pairs of new shorts in the great "comfort" experience of 2015.
There were many training camps offered throughout the summer that I did not attend because I wanted to keep the budget under control. I did, however travel to do a free camp in Chattanooga to get a feel for the course and I think that was the best thing I could have done. Seeing the course for myself and knowing I had concurred it was a big confidence booster although it was definitely expensive to fly with the bike.
The thing about the Ironman is that it isn't just that one day you spent upwards of $700 dollars to participate in, it is the gym memberships, the pool memberships, the early morning work outs, the hundreds of miles on your bike, the countless miles on your shoes, it all adds up. I think it is important to keep this in mind when you sign up because the stress of training coupled with the stress of paying for everything can be overwhelming. You don't need all the bells and whistles but some of the whistles, like coaching, make the overall experience better and probably more successful.
My total over all ended up being around $7,000 but I am sure that doesn't count a lot of things I should have added. Looking through the list I realized a lot of the things I spent money on I could continue to use and therefore get more bang from my investment...so with that happy news I am delighted to share I will be doing Ironman Louisville next year!
See, never say never, I guess I was one and done until that one was done and then well I need to beat my time ;-)