Posted On:
Wednesday, April 3, 2024
Updated On:

Athlete Race Recap: Alpha Win Ocala

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Neil (left) and his son Christian (right) show off their finisher medals.

On Saturday, March 30, 2024, Neil Beck raced the Sprint Triathlon at Alpha Win Ocala in Ocala, Florida!

Neil tends to prefer longer triathlon events (such as Half Distance Triathlons) and his training has been focused on those distances for the last several years.  Racing a Sprint Triathlon was a refreshing change of pace (quite literally!) for him.

Neil has been swimming for over 55 years; to say he is comfortable in the water is the understatement of the century.  He had a very solid swim and was able to run from the water into Transition 1.

I encouraged Neil to try something new-to-him this training cycle: Train by effort (Rating of Perceived Exertion (RPE)) on the bike.  He had been training by power on the bike for a long time, and I felt that expanding his Athlete's Toolbox to include RPE would be a great benefit to him.  This was a challenge for him (like so many athletes, Neil really loves tangible numbers that he can analyze!), but he took on the challenge and really did well training by effort.  In this race, I encouraged him to race on effort and see how things played out.  He had a very solid and well-executed bike leg, which was proven by his run performance.

Much to Neil’s surprise, the run was on a trail.  He had reviewed the course ahead of time, but thought that the name of the street that the run course was on was one that ended in “Trail”.  Whoops!  Running on soft-surface trails is absolutely excellent for the body, but soft surfaces do slow athletes down (comparatively to hard surfaces like asphalt) because the soft surface absorbs more energy than hard surfaces and it takes just a smidge more time each gait cycle to propel forward.  Despite the fact that he had not trained on trails (at all!), Neil had his fastest 5K in the last 90 days.  

Triathlon is about how well an athlete can execute all three disciplines that make up the sport - swim, bike, and run.  It’s not about having a stellar performance in one and then hanging on for the others.  An athlete’s run leg in a triathlon always tells the story about how their entire race went; since the run comes last, when accumulated fatigue is at its highest, how well (or poorly) an athlete executes the run indicates how well they paced themselves and performed in the other two legs that came before it.  Neil’s incredibly strong run (on a soft-surface trail, no less!) is a clear indicator that he executed this race well across all three disciplines.

He did so well that he landed on the top of the podium in first place in his age group! Neil is in the 70-74 age group and also beat everyone in the 65-69 age group! He is living proof that you can get stronger as you age.

As if his own great race performance wasn’t enough, Alpha Win Ocala was made even more special for Neil because his son, Christian, also was racing.  It was Christian’s first-ever triathlon!

Congratulations Neil and Christian!

About

Coach Laura Henry

Laura Henry is a Syracuse, NY-based coach who is a USA Triathlon Level II Long Course and Level II Paratriathlon Certified Coach, USA Cycling Level 2 Certified Coach, VFS Certified Bike Fitter, and has successfully completed NASM's Certified Personal Trainer course. Coach Laura is passionate about helping athletes of all ability levels reach their goals and has coached many athletes to success.

She can be reached at laura@fullcircleendurance.com.

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