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Coach Neal has always seen running as the best stress reliever in the world. So when he started thinking about his strong open water swimming background, combined with his running, he knew that completing an triathlon was his logical next step. When he intially began training for Ironman; someone told him he couldn’t finish one. To date, Neil has completed one full distance Ironman and six 70.3's in the four years he’s been at it—including two finishes at the challenging 'Escape from Alcatraz'. Each and every race, he has the same thing written on the inside of his forearm: Izzy. Showing Izzy, his preschooler, the importance of mental toughness and physical fitness is one of his main driving factors to finish races. Seeing his beautiful wife Leslie at the finish line, more often than not with tears in her eyes, is the second. For Coach Neal it’s not about just not wanting to quit, it’s that he won’t quit. Neal has been coaching for two years and loves partnering with athletes in various stages of the process. For him, it’s about the process; finding the time to train, helping someone prove to himself or herself they can do it, cross off an item on the bucket list, and realizing that at the end of the day, everything is about something greater.
Coach Neal has experience working with all levels, though he admits he enjoys the spark and determination of newbies that have yet to cross a finish line. The biggest trait he looks for in an athlete is the desire to finish—no matter the time on the clock. He requires his athletes to make the commitment to train. He doesn’t build rest days into his programs, instead he recognizes that life throws curveballs and sometimes you can’t get in the saddle, and that’s ok. The key is getting back into the saddle. He firmly believes that if you make the financial commitment, time and determination are the only remaining things you need to see an anything through.
With Coach Neal you don’t just get a coach, you get a partner. He will be running right beside you during your race, and will be meeting you at the finish line. Throughout his personal training and coaching history he has formed some key relationships with bike and run shops, physical therapists and message therapists to help his athletes condition themselves completely in the best possible way. He’s always just a text, phone call or email away with sound advice and a “been there, know how to get through it,” understanding.
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