First, the majority of this money should go to the bike. Clearing your travel overhead, registration, a good pair of shoes, etc. - you're looking at basically 1000 left over for the bike.
How do you get a good triathlon bike, under 1,000.00? Well first you have to set a few goals about what the bike is meant to do. It will not be meant to be the lightest thing in the world, you just can't get a 15 pound bike for less than 2,000.00.
So be happy with a 20 pound , even a 23 pound bike. At that point, its going to be all about comfort. Take some time to find a bike that fits you like a glove. Measure your inseam, and actually have that number in your head as you make it over to the bike shop.
You'll hit a 1300.00 wall in the new bike shops, and you might as well forget trying to find a good one under 1100.00 there. I mean, there are a few but by and large you're just not going to make it. Settle for maybe a three or four year old bike off Craigslist.
There are three brands I think work well. First, I'm a big fan of Cannondale. Their bikes are really nicely done - they do little things like sand the welds and they just fly. Then, of course, there's Trek. Trek will be really, really hard to find under 1k. Finally you have some pretty elite bikes like Quintana Roo. Lets not even look for a Quintana. Stick to things like Trek, Specialized, Cannondale or Felt.
Next, set your price point at around 800.00 bucks , because you will need about 100.00 bucks worth of tuning, and repairs - spare tires, that kind of thing. And then about 175.00 bucks worth of just supplies for the 9 month long training - include the price of a low end heart rate monitor that just does one thing - measures your heart rate.
Finally, nuke your gym membership. 50 bucks a month - not needed. Now you're set to begin. Besides, you were only there have an excuse to train, anyway. Wait. I didn't say that.
Now your goal should be to train without big expenses or hospitalization. Train indoors, watching TV or something. Eliminates the possibility of getting hit by a car. Think it can't happen? It happened to my best friend. Also, the plan is going to take you away from your family - training in - helps you to be around them. Use the Fartlek technique and play games off TV shows or films or training clips (like Carmichael's train right). I did one today that was really fun - I set up a Bond flick? That one called 'The world is not enough?' and as soon as it hit tits o'clock I hit 19 mph on the bike. Worked great. Thats Fartlek - these really intense bursts of speed, interspersed through a pretty good run. Galloway also says to try walking during your runs (which amounts to a cooldown phase on the bike), and that works too but make damn sure to do it in only in the first half of the run or bike. Finish strong.
A good regimen is Swim on Monday. Run on Tuesday. Bike on Wednesday. Walk out Thursday, R+R. Friday do a big run. Saturday, swim. Sunday big bike. That means with at least one big bike run and one big run, you're looking at - between those two alone, at least 10 hours of training. Altogether you've got about a 40 hour a week training regimen and then you taper, down to the final event. We ramp this up, but remember your plan is going to be stretched out over like. 9 , maybe 12 months - and so the biggest time demand is going to be towards the end.
The way I'm doing the pool is to use public pools and bring the kids and let them swim along. They'll want to play for a couple of hours and that works fine. Plus, I'm GOING to learn how to do a flip. I can't believe I am this age and I don't know how to do one.
The way I've started out is to shed weight up front because I just don't want to carry it. I kind of hate the run. I re-zeroed pretty fast. Also, I have a reason to do it. I am doing this run for the memory of my mother in law - who was a wonderful person (she will be written on me).
Starting off by dropping weight saves you some cash on groceries. Then once you hit BMI (not fat percentage, just weight) you can carb load. Get carbed before your big run on Friday and your big Bike on Sunday. That means Pasta Thursday and Saturday nights. I used slimfasts to nuke off my breakfast and drank these propel waters through the day - eliminated ALL sugar drinks. The only real way to lose weight is to run a calorie deficit and wake your body up to using energy from fat cells. It will take alot of water so stay hydrated. Use regular water. Not perrier.
If you set up your bike in front of your TV, I recommend getting Carmichael's Train Right series. He will murder you. Also, get an ipod and load things other than just songs on it. You will go slightly crazy out there on 20 mile runs every week. You're going to need it. I listen to Jack Benny. It helps me feel good about myself.
Finally, the really big thing to take care of is your mental state. You've decided to do an ironman. Ok, this means you. have. a. death. wish.
Fall back on the people you really care about. Tell them you're going to do this but leave your ego at the door. At first, they'll think you're slightly nuts - remember to have a reason to begin with - and then help them share in the journey. Its going to hurt. They'll make it so you deal. Also, you're probably going to get injured or get stuck somewhere. A full 120 mile bike for me, is to leave my home in Atlanta, bike to Alabama and back. We were out there one day doing that, and my best friend's tire blew. And he fixed it and it blew again. And he was smart enough to look at the tire itself and not the tube and found that the tire was ballooning out - he had exactly one more patch left in his patch kit. We were just this close to losing a 120 mile bike and having to call his fiance to come pick up him all the way out in BFE.
Finally. A personal note. I'm scared to death.
I'm going to do this. Once I register, there's no turning back. I'm kind of crazy like that. I have run away from relationships - because I felt like I was falling in love. I have taken out entire parts of my life for two or three words in a Zen Koan somewhere. I have hit the slow realization that I am going to do this. Not to show off. But for the memory of my mother in law. She wanted me to do this.