Budget Your Athletic Expenses
Although I've been a cyclist for about 7 years, 2011 will be the beginning of my 4th race season. I started running about 3 years ago, when I decided I wanted to start competing in duathlons and a few half marathons.
Somewhere along the way I decided to look into possible sponsorship opportunities. I was born in 1963, so my racing age will be 48 years old for the 2011 race season. I wasn't expecting much, at my advanced age, and not being an Olympic hopeful, but I figured nothing ventured is nothing gained and sent out a few sponsorship proposals. Read my article How to Find Sponsorship Opportunities for details on how to write a sponsorship proposal and find sponsorship opportunities.
Now that I have a few years of racing under my belt, I am realizing I am quite young. I've raced against girls in their late 60's and men in their late 70's, and they are still kicking butt! You are never too old to start racing. I think the fact that I participate in so many races, over 20 this year, and am a freelance writer with two sports related blogs, probably helps my chances of getting sponsored.
Yearly Athletic Budget
For 2011 I am looking into possibly getting a few monetary sponsorships. Right now my sponsorships are either in the form of free gear or a Pro Deal Discount on products. But I have quite a few expenses and would like to be able to compete in the USAT Duathlon National Championships which take place in Tucson, Arizona in 2011 and 2012. So I decided to come up with an athlete budget which I could include in my sponsorship proposal, to show potential sponsors where their $$ contributions are needed.
Lynn Smythe Yearly Athlete Budget
- Race entry fees
- Gas and vehicle expenses
- Personal trainer and/or coaching fees
- Club memberships
- Books and Magazine subscriptions
- Nutrition and hydration
- Personal care products
- Shoes and clothing
- Bike equipment and maintenance
- Bike shipping
Break Down of Athlete's Expenses
1. Race entry fees. I like to go over the previous years races, decide which ones I want to race in next year, drop the races I didn't enjoy, and add a list of new races I'd like to participate in for the upcoming race season. Local 5k events aren't too bad; around $25-$40 per race, but some of my bigger events, like the Miami Man half Ironman duathlon cost $280 or more to enter. My 2010 race entry fees came out to around $1,000.
2. Gas or vehicle expense. Might just be easier to figure out your total miles driving to and from your events and then figure on a per mile rate for gas and vehicle maintenance. In 2010 the IRS is allowing you to deduct 50 cents per mile as a business vehicle expenses. I'm not saying you can deduct 50 cents per mile on your tax return for all the driving to/from your events; I'm just trying to figure out a way to guesstimate your athletic related vehicle expenses for the year.
3. Meals. Some of my events are an hour or more drive to and from my house. I try to bring all my necessary fluids and food with me, but sometimes you just have to pull into the nearest convenience store for a cold drink or stop at a restaurant on your way home to enjoy some real food. Gel packs, shot blocks and electrolyte drinks get old after awhile. And if you are getting a hotel room a day or two before events that are further away, you will definitely want to figure out your cost of meals, drinks and snacks while away from home.
4. Personal trainer and/or coaches fees. I started with a cycling coach at the beginning of the year. He was a great coach, but as my main focus is on duathlon racing (run-bike-run) a cycling coach really wasn't what I was looking for. The coaching was also done online and through phone calls, I am more of a one-on-one type of person. I started going to a personal trainer a few months ago, to work on my upper body and core strength and I absolutely love it. I was working out at home a few times a week, but having the weights and equipment right next to my laundry room just didn't work out that well. I always felt guilty about working out when there was a huge mountain of stinky clothes staring at me.
I started out going to the personal trainer twice a week for 1/2 hour at a time, but I have recently gone to 3x per week. Personal trainers are NOT cheap. Mine charges $80 per hour for individual sessions or $70 per hour if you sign up for 3 hours at a time. So it costs me $210 every two weeks for 6 half hour sessions. So assuming I don't take any time off for vacations, my yearly personal training budget comes to $5,460 - YIKES! My cycling coach only charged $50 per month plus a yearly $100 setup fee; but the triathlon multisport coaches I've been researching charge anywhere from $200 to $400 per month, so I guess my personal trainer fees aren't that far out of line.
5. Club Memberships. Do you belong to any cycling, running or triathlon clubs? My husband and I belong to a couple of local bike clubs which charge a yearly membership fee to each of their members. One of the bike clubs is through a local bike shop. You get a 20% store wide discount, excluding bikes, for being a member of the club. Definitely worth the $30 yearly family membership fee.
Above: Fluid makes a great protein/carb recovery drink to have after your intense training sessions and races.
6. Books and Magazine Subscriptions. I go to the bookstore every few weeks to see which issues of my favorite magazines have come out. It can get a bit pricey to buy individual copies of magazines, so you might want to look into getting a yearly subscription to your favorites. I subscribe to Triathlon Magazine, but still buy individual copies of certain issues of Inside Triathlon, Trail Runner and Runner's World. I might eventually get subscriptions to those magazines in the future.
Have you purchased any sports related books to help with your training and racing? Keep records of your yearly purchases and figure that into your athletic budget. I am a book NUT, I try to find discounted copies of books through Amazon.com and occasionally get free review copies of sports books to review for my Bike Diva and Run Diva blogs.
I am relatively new to racing, so right now I'm in the sponge stage. I can't get enough of cycling, running and triathlon magazines and books. Here is a list of books I purchased in 2010:
- The Triathlete's Training Bible
- Zinn & the Art of Triathlon Bikes
- The Athlete's Plate
- Sports Nutrition for Endurance Athletes
- Racing Weight
- Runner's World Complete Book of Women's Running
- Marathon; The Ultimate Training Guide
- Training and Racing with a Power Meter
- The Slow Fat Triathlete
- Shape Up with the Slow Fat Triathlete
- The Triathlete's Guide to Bike Training
- The Triathlete's Guide to Run Training
7. Nutrition and hydration. For all your sports related food and drinks. Electrolyte powders, salt tablets, recovery drinks, protein bars, gel packs, shot blocks, etc... I go through a ton of this stuff every year. I have a few sponsors that have given me a Pro Deal Discount on various nutrition products so I have a closet full of nutrition and hydration products on hand at all times. In lieu of sponsorship, try buying in bulk, i.e. full cases and canisters of products instead of individual packages.
8. Personal care products. Do I have to spell it out for you? Here is a list of some of the personal care products I use on a regular basis:
- Chamois butter - to prevent chaffing and saddle sores while on the bike
- Body Glide - to prevent chaffing while running.
- Sun screen - I live in south east Florida and go through a TON of sunscreen each year.
- Lip gloss - I try to use one with a SPF of 15 or higher.
- Bio Freeze - or similar product. To rub on sore muscles during and after long training sessions and century bike rides.
- Adult wipes - Action wipes or similar product. To do a quick wipe down of muck and grime after riding. Especially nice if you are out on the mountain bike trails, miles away from indoor plumbing.
- Travel size Kleenix. I can't tell you how many races I've been to and there is no toilet paper in the porta-potties. I've even been to events with indoor plumbing, and again no tp when you need it. Maybe guys can get away with the shake it off and put your junk back in your shorts method, but most girls need a bit of paper to get the job done. TMI?
9. Shoes and clothing. Figure out you yearly expenses for cycling shoes, running shoes, running hats, socks, jogging bras, shorts, tops, racing uniforms, etc... I go through a ton of running shoes per year, but my road bike shoes and triathlon bike shoes should last a couple of years. Clothing and equipment eventually wears out and will need to be replaced. I also figure out expenses for things like compression sleeves and quick laces into this category. And do you need to put your sponsorship logos on your race uniforms? Then you will need to research companies that will make customized clothing for you at a decent price.
Above: Most runners, cyclists and triathletes will want to invest in a good run and/or bike computer with heart rate monitor.
10. Bike equipment and maintenance. Unless you are a pro cyclist or triathlete, you shouldn't need to get a new bike every year. But your bike will need at least a yearly tune up, unless you know how to do that yourself, and certain items on your bike will need replacing and/or upgrading on a regular basis. I own three bikes, a Felt Breed single speed cyclocross bike, a Trek Madone 6.5 carbon fiber road bike and a Cervelo P2C triathlon bike. Right now I do all my racing on the tri bike, so I only figure in expenses for that bike into my yearly racing budget. Here's a few items to consider adding to your yearly bike budget:
- Tune ups - yearly or more often if you do a lot of racing
- Tubes and CO2 cartridges - unless you are blessed with never getting a flat tire, you will need a few inner tubes during the year. I ride clincher tires on my tri bike, if you ride tubular tires, you can eliminate this expense.
- Tires - tires don't last forever, I usually replace mine at least once per year. And you might want a couple of sets of tires depending on the various training and racing conditions you will encounter throughout the year. I race with red Michelin Pro 3 Race tires on my tri bike, they retail for around $55 to $65 each; that's over $100 per set of tires. But these tires last FOREVER!
- Misc. bike components - water bottles, water bottle holders, bike bags, lights, etc... You should be able to get a few years out of these items, but they will eventually need replacing. And my dishwasher occasionally melts my water bottles, or the bottles get launched into never-never-land when you hit a big bump.
- Helmets - I wear a road bike helmet for training and one of those funky aero helmets while racing. I crashed on my road bike a few months ago, no big deal, but after a close examination of my helmet I noticed three hairline cracks. That helmet got trashed and I had to get a new helmet. Good road bike helmets can cost upwards of $100, my current helmet retails for around $185, and my aero helmet was around $300. Luckily I have a Pro Deal discount from Rudy Project for cycling helmets and sunglasses.
- Sunglasses. I guess this could be put in the clothing and shoe category but good cycling and running glasses can cost a bit of $$$$. I put sunglasses in the bike expense category, all my sunglasses are cycling specific but can also be used for running. Most of my sunglasses have interchangeable lenses so I can change out the lens depending on weather/sunlight conditions.
- Bike upgrades. New set of wheels, aerobars, etc... I've got some really nice bikes, but I'm always drooling over the latest and greatest equipment upgrades I see in magazines.
- Electronic gadgets. Cycling computer, run computer, multisport computer. I was using a Garmin Edge 305 cycle computer while biking, and a Tech40 run computer while running and walking. I recently misplaced the cycle computer, and as I have a birthday coming up, I decide to indulge in my wish to own a Garmin Forerunner 310XT multisport computer with heart rate monitor. It is pretty cool. It is water proof and can be used for run, bike or swim workouts. It even has a multisport setting, which will be perfect for recording all my data during my duathlon races. This piece of equipment, while pricey, should last you many years. The Garmin Forerunner 310XT retails for around $400, shop around online to find the best price.
11. Airfare. Are you doing any out of state or out of country events? Then you will want to figure in airline expenses into your yearly budget.
12. Bike shipping. Again, you only need to figure this expense in if you are flying to out of state or out of country events. Check the ads in the back of triathlon magazines or do a search online for bike shipping companies. Might be cheaper and more secure than having the airlines ship your bike.
13. Hotels. For far away events. Out of state, out of country, or even in state events that are more than a few hours drive from your home.
Above: The Bike Diva's road bike prior to upgrading the wheels. I crashed on this bike at the beginning of the year and tacoed the back wheel. I'm now riding this bike with a pair of Easton EA90 SLX road bike wheels - NICE!
Contact the Bike Diva
Leave me a comment at the end of this blog post. I would love to hear about your yearly athletic budget. Are there any major categories that I've forgotten that you think should be added into a typical athletes budget? Maybe conferences and clinics? I guess if you are traveling to Interbike or attending a special training session by a famous athlete/coach you will want to add that into your budget.
After writing this blog post, I realize I have caviar dreams and champagne wishes on a happy meal budget. Do most amateur athletes have similar expenses or am I pro racer wanna be!?! Luckily my freelance writing income covers most of my training and racing expenses, but I was really hoping to start saving up that $$ to use a a down payment on a house in North Carolina. Bummer.
Lynn Smythe AKA the Bike Diva