5 things to know about your first triathlon

CNN editor Michael Martinez shows off his Fit Nation uniform for the Nautica Malibu Triathlon in 2012.

Story highlights

  • Forget how old you are! Many triathlon enthusiasts are in their 40s and 50s
  • A good wetsuit will keep you warm and provide buoyancy in the ocean
  • You should train harder for the part of the race you think will be most difficult

Michael Martinez is a CNN editor and participant in Time Warner's Fit Nation Triathlon program. CNN also selects six readers to train for the triathlon alongside Dr. Sanjay Gupta. Follow the "6-pack" on Twitter and Facebook as they race the Nautica Malibu Triathlon on September 8.

(CNN)The only thing crazier than doing a triathlon -- an ocean swim, a cycle ride along coastal mountains and a long-distance run -- is doing it twice.

I participated in my first triathlon last year with the Time Warner Fit Nation team, and I offer these tips as I prepare for my second in early September. To all those considering doing the same, here are five things worth knowing:

Age is just a number

    Triathletes are a diverse bunch. Sure, there are the 20- and 30-somethings on their new road bicycles, looking extra sporty in their matching top and shorts.
    But many triathlon enthusiasts are in their 40s and 50s, and their body shapes are hardly as intimidating as the fresh-out-of-college crowd. We just like swimming, cycling and running.
    So set aside any qualms or fears. The camaraderie you'll see among participants while training will further allay any anxieties. There are many groups out there -- find them through local triathlon clubs or corporate teams. Or go online and find one. Some teams, especially those sponsored by a company, even offer a coach.

    Wetsuits are cooler than they look

    It's not a triathlon unless you don the black synthetic rubber suit. Yes, it may make you look like a tasty seal to a shark. But the super buoyancy enhances your speed in the open water. It also provides warmth.
    And perhaps its biggest benefit is confidence.