How Running On Perseverance Paid Off For Gabriel Ghiglione

How Running On Perseverance Paid Off For Gabriel Ghiglione

- Kia Schollar

Some say all you need is two feet and a heart beat to run; Gabriel Ghiglione takes us deeper and helps us to understand what it is like to train for a 10km race.

I think we can all agree that those who compete in long distance events have a level of patience and tenacity not commonly found in sport. Gabriel Ghiglione is just this special sort of human. He has competed for McMaster University (one of the destinations for the RBC FANFIT Challenge this year), for the last 5 seasons. He initially tried out for the cross-country track team but missed making the spot by one place. A setback that would send many a person on a much different path, Gabriel's love for running compelled him to refocus his efforts and train harder to make the track and field team. He was determined to put his head down, prioritize his training and prove that he belonged on the team.

When all was said and done, after running his solo, 1500-meter try-out, he was off the time standard by 1 second. O-N-E second; over 1500 meters, which he ran solo. Fortunately, the coaches thought this was worth a discussion. After discussing with one another they took a chance on Gabriel and a worthwhile one at that. Gabriel has been a team member of both McMaster's cross-country and track and field teams since.

It was refreshing to hear his positive and engaging perspective on sport - when he spoke, he often spoke of himself relative to the bigger picture. Finding out he's an anthropology major and has spent the last 5 years of his education delving into the nuances of socio-cultural development, it all made sense.

I felt a natural place to start was by asking Gabriel what events he ran in cross-country and on the track. All his events are the one’s that register as painful, in my mind.

Over the last half decade Gabriel has laced up his shoes to compete in the 1500 meter, 3000 meter and 10,000 meter events. The major difference he noted between the two disciplines is that cross-country allows you to go up hills and turn right, which can be surprisingly satisfying. And, just how fast do you have to run, to run faster than Gabriel? Over 10,000 meters, you will have to keep up a swift pace, and finish in under 31:25. If you think that's a bit long for your liking and want to try out the 3,000-meter event, I'm afraid the challenge is equally as steep. Gabriel covers this distance in 8:34 seconds (making him the second fastest male over this distance on the McMaster University team). I don’t know about you, but I have some serious training to do if I plan to run anywhere that quickly.

If the plan is to run fast over fairly long distances, what does the program look like (you may or may not want to jump on this wagon once you read it)?

Gabriel noted the different seasons bring completely different training programs.

Cross- Country is his favorite so that is what we spent most of our time talking about. August is when the building, or base work, phase of his training program begins. Grabiel's feet cover approximately 190 kilometers per week, but he noted the volume can vary between 160 – 190 kilometers. It is at this point in the interview that Gabriel showed his sense of humour and told me “If you are into skinny guys, cross country is the sport for you.”.

Now back to the serious stuff; you may think racking up kilometers is enough, but on top of the long runs there is also core sessions, stability work to prevent injury.

Gabriel jokingly talked about going to the gym with his friends on the football team. They both pick up a 50-pound dumbbell, one starts doing curls, the other rests it across his hips to do glute exercises – can you guess which is which?

Skipping any step, whether it be sleep, strength, nutrition or training can leave one open and vulnerable to injury and highlights what a puzzle elite performance really is. But the resounding message Gabriel expressed was the enjoyment he gets from putting on his shoes and heading out the door, and how grateful he is for the opportunities he's been granted because of his perseverance, determination and love for running.

To run alongside the likes of Gabriel, register for the RBC FANFIT Challenge here.