Triathlon tattoos: why you should choose carefully

Photo: Shutterstock

Photo: Shutterstock

Whether it’s the Mdot or something more creative, plenty of triathletes are choosing to commemorate their accomplishments with a bit of ink. If you’re planning on doing the same, it’s worth bearing a few things in mind…

Whether commemorating a Kona finish or simply declaring a love of the sport, multisport-themed tattoos have become a rite of passage for many triathletes. Thinking about getting inked? Tattoo artist Jeremy Garrett of offers these tips:

You loved McDonald’s 10 years ago, but did you get the golden arches tattooed on your calf? Because brands change (and tattoos don’t), Garrett suggests staying away from logos and names. Instead, find a custom tattoo artist who can incorporate elements of multisport into a personal and meaningful piece of body art.

Though tattoos are no longer the mark of sailors and convicts, they’re still frowned upon in many professional settings. A tattoo on arms and legs could alter the way you have to dress for a job—do you want to wear long sleeves or pants every day?

Finding a licensed tattoo artist is important, but it’s only a first step, says Garrett: “A license means they are at least knowledgeable about bloodborne pathogens and how not to spread them. They have been taught how to keep sanitary working conditions and how to avoid cross-contamination. It doesn’t necessarily mean they’re a good artist.” Most artists will have a portfolio of their work online. Expect to see at least 10 large, clear examples of their work and look for consistency. Art is subjective, so find an artist whose work speaks to you.

Aftercare instructions are not a suggestion—they’re mandatory. Sun exposure and water submersion can damage a new tattoo, so set up the bike trainer indoors and stay out of the pool for at least a week.


By Susan Lacke.