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Triathlons used to be for elite athletes. Not anymore. More than 1 million everyday athletes -- more than 38 percent of them women -- took the starting line in 2011, according to USA Triathlon. That's up more than 40 percent from 2000.
"Women are getting ballsy," says Alison Kreideweis, cofounder of the Empire Triathlon Club in New York City. "They love its challenge, atmosphere, and enormous fitness gains."
Fitness gains, indeed. A triathlon's swim-bike-run power combo practically guarantees a better body. Plus, the sprint distance (half-mile swim, 12-mile bike, and 3.1-mile run) eliminates some of the intimidation and is popular with tri beginners. It's the best way to ease into your first race, ensure a great experience, and become a lifelong triathlete, Kreideweis says.
Read on for 10 tips to get the most out of your first sprint triathlon.