Almost anyone is a potential triathlete, says Newport Beach Triathlon organizer Jack Caress. "If you're doing any kind of regular aerobic exercise, you can do this," he assures. Just follow these tips:
* Watch a race. Ask questions of those who have participated before. Your local sports equipment store or athletic center should have information on getting involved.
* Start slowly. Work your way up gradually to the distances you'll be covering in the race, doing each separately at first.
* Be comfortable with your equipment. There's no need to have the most expensive gear, but proper running shoes, a bicycle that fits your proportions, and a bathing suit snug enough to stay on your body during the swim are essential.
* Don't overexert. Caress says he has seen too many beginners spend all their energy before the finish line. Take your time, especially during transitions, where many athletes overshoot.
Most importantly, enjoy. "More people should know how fun it is."