Training For A Triathlon Over 3 Months In Dubai Can Set You Back AED 23,981


Triathlons are taking off like crazy in the UAE. From semiprofessional athletes living and training here to ambitious and competitive amateurs looking to do all they can to improve their times, to beginners, those casual participants to kids competing in the sport. This season, there are events scrapping to find available weekends that don’t clash with an another race, as the season is becoming fully booked with races. 

People can take part in sprint distance races, Olympic distance races of half iron man races in a UAE racing season. Iron Man is a brand and an events company, as much as it is a phrase that represents a distance of a triathlon. A 3.86 km swim, a 180.25 km bicycle ride and a marathon 42.20 km run to finish. IRON MAN organize these events around the world. They also have IRONMAN 70.3 distance, which represents half the full distance in miles. 

Depending on what stage you are at and what your goals are, different commitments and sacrifices needs to be made.  I’d done a good few full marathons before I moved to the UAE  and was average at cycling and swimming. I got into triathlons, I started with sprint distance, like the Roy Nasr memorial one at Jebel Ali, then did a few Olympic distances, like the 2XU races in Mamzar, Tri Yas and the Abu Dhabi ITU races.  I had wanted to do a half iron man, and realized that work pressures, travel, and knowing how to train properly, meant that the idea didn’t get off the ground. 

For me, the jump from doing Spring / Olympic distance triathlon to an Iron Man 70.3 was significant. I decided that I didn’t just want to finish, but I wanted to do it well, the best effort I could. So I asked around an set a target of between 5 and 5 ½ hours. Then you look to break it down, what do I need to do to achieve sub 40 mins open water swim? What do I need to do to cycle 90km on my own in under 2 hours 40 mins, and what do I need to do run a half marathon after all that in and around 1 hours 45 minutes?

The context of this time and financial investment is that I wanted to compete as well as I could. So apart from the early months, two months of disciplined training of at least 6 days a week, 10 – 12 hours a week, practically no alcohol and hardly any late nights. How much did it hit my pocket?

Race entry & Photos = AED 1,561

  • The race itself costs about $356 or AED 1,345
  • Post-race official photos from the website $59 or AED 216
Finisherpix 2258 025041

Shoes – AED 500

  • I’ve previously made the mistake of changing foot ware to something too light before a marathon and it felt like I had a broken foot during the race, this time I purchased a new pair of Newton Gravity runners about 6 weeks out, these are a brand of fully trust for comfort and performance.
Gravity Heroshot

Apps – AED 220

  • The training peaks app has a premium subscription of about a month, I used it so I could sync my training to my diary. Other apps like Garmin connect are free. Cost $19.99 per month, for 3 months, AED220

Coach – AED 1,200

  • The coach will set your weekly diary and schedule and adjust it as required AED 400 per month, AED 1,200

Gym memberships – AED 2,400

  • Bespoke Ride costs about AED 800 for 10 sessions, these are 1 hour intense workouts, it’s not spinning, it’s done against your FTP (Functional Threshold Power) output, this really helps to supplement outdoor rides. AED 2,400 
  • I’m also a member of Fit Republic, where I use the plus 1 membership to take part in the Adult swim classes, these take place for different levels every evening at 7pm, they are intense but dual as an intense workout and to improve technique as well. I’ll leave out a cost to swimming and running, as there are free tracks, beaches and most people have a gym membership or access to building gym / pool.

Watch – AED 2,100

  • Measuring your distance, performance and pace are crucial to training. An Apply watch just doesn’t suffice. Many people go with a Garmin Fenix 3 or the newer model, Fenix 5, I went for a Forerunner 734xt, it cost about AED 2,100 AED 
Garmin Forerunner 235 Comparison

Wetsuit & Tri suit – AED 2,800

  • For someone who grew up swimming off the coast of Ireland in the cold Atlantic Ocean, I reluctantly went for a wet suit. But the thinking should be more about performance. The fabric is geared for racing, it’s light. You need flexibility to move fast in the water. It also offers buoyancy which keeps you afloat and essentially improves your time, but you have to offset that with extra time to get out of the wetsuit in transition. 2XU P2 Propel Wetsuit AED 2,000 at Adventure HQ
  • Tri suit will cost about AED 800, I’ll leave out the cost of goggles, race belt, gels and nutrition. 
Screenshot 2018 02 15 12 27 37

Massage / Physio – AED 1,200

  • I used to get deep tissue massages in hotels spa’s, but was recommended spots nutritions and physio, Yasser Ahmed, who looks after trains the top athletes in the UAE. His methods and the therapy is worthy of a standalone piece, but suffice to say, this was perfect to remove any niggles and lactic acid build up in my muscles, but boy did it hurt. It costs AED 300 a session for four sessions. AED 1,200

Tri Bike, fitting, helmet and shoes – AED 12,000

  • I have a full carbon GIANT road bike, and I had added tri bars, which I loved cycling. But the TT bikes are more designed for triathlons. One of the differences is that you can’t draft, so it’s not beneficial to be upright, as you act like a sail, so you need to be lower. It takes time to adjust your posture.  I bought a bike on Dubizzle. To get in new, it would cost $7500 for the bike, and the guy had added ZIP 404 wheels for $3000 and Campagnolo Concord group set for $4500. I got it second hand for AED 10,000. A real deal.
  • Bike fitting AED 800, helmet AED 400 and bike shoes AED 800


  • I’ll leave out the cost of race belt, things like socks, goggles and nutrition 

That feeling crossing the finishing line in 5 hours and 2 minutes? Priceless


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