….Ready, Set, Go! Your timer goes off and you begin your run; you have been preparing for this day for the last month. You begin to recount what you have learned to accomplish this Gator Gallop: Presented By Truist race.
There are four core aspects to the race you have mastered: speed, endurance, strength, and race pace. To not overwhelm yourself, but still train accordingly, you did these four days out of each week I trained for. Making sure you can maintain your speed is very important and you were able to work on this over time. There is a significant difference from the first day you began training to now; you would initially run for two minutes and then rest for the same amount of time but now you run for a minute and 30 seconds and then only rest for a minute.
You look down at your smartwatch to make sure you are pacing yourself. One minute and 30 seconds go by and then you slow down for one minute and continue doing this to make sure you do not overexert yourself. The second aspect you have focused on is endurance, remembering that if you need to, alternate between jogging and walking to maintain your pace. You initially began by accumulating 1.5 miles, then 2.5, and eventually, by week three you had built enough endurance to finish three miles. Your last week was only two miles but you had an RPE of seven and a target heart rate of 140, your emphasis was on time and distance, not on speed.
Your legs, butt, and hips are prepared to handle this. For the last month, you have been doing different variations of jump squats, single-leg deadlifts, split squats, and single-leg hip thrusts. The first week you complemented this set with planks and windshield wipers, the second week with flutter kicks and mason twist, the third with bicycle crunches and windshield wipers again, and lastly with returning to planks and mason twists.
Finally, you remember that completing the Gator Gallop: Presented By Truist race is not about comparing yourself to others and how quickly they do it, but finishing at your target pace. Over the last month, you have learned what the best pace for you is and you stick to that. Before you know it, you have completed the race and all the work you have put in for the last month has finally paid off.
You begin to realize the meaning and tradition that comes with this race. It’s not just about exercise, it’s about the Gator tradition. You are a Gator and you wouldn’t change it for the world.