Rhasidat Adeleke was talking to her University of Texas teammates on Tuesday about how they usually feel after running the 400m.
"They were saying 'Oh yeah, after running the 400m I can’t walk, I’m so tired', and I was saying to them I never feel like that," says Adeleke, who on Wednesday was unveiled as the newest sporting ambassador of Allianz Insurance.
That's a remarkable statement considering all Adeleke has achieved in the event in less than a year. She finished ninth at the World Championships in Oregon last July, fifth in the European final which followed a month later in Munich, and already holds the Irish indoor and outdoor records for the 400m. For a brief period over the weekend, she held the NCAA 400m record, and her 50.33 national record is the 14th fastest time ever indoors.
"Maybe that comes down to me not knowing my limits yet," she continues, speaking on a video call from Austin.
"Most people who have been running the event for years, they know what their pace is, they can strategise and say ‘OK, if I go out this fast, I’ll able to finish up this fast because this is usually how fast I finish'.
"I’m still not familiar with what my limits are so I might go out a little bit slow, I might go out a bit slower than I actually can and that’s definitely something I’m working on, to be able to understand my body and understand how fast I can go without tensing up too much.
"I definitely do think I have a long way to go. I can see it with the training, I just started the training in October and it’s definitely been hard but I feel like I’m getting better, I’m getting stronger."
The Tallaght native, still just 20-years-old, also holds the Irish 200m indoor and outdoor records, and the 60m, along with those 400m times. She's been based at the University of Texas, where she's studying corporate communications, since early 2021, working under the guidance of Edrick Floréal.
Rhasidat Adeleke: Edrick Floréal 'sees the potential I have'
"He's absolutely amazing," Adeleke says about her coach.
"We're so close. He really gives me advice in all areas, regardless of the sporting relationship that we have.
"He's kind of like a father figure, if anything. I'm just really grateful. He recruited me with a plan and he had a vision. He knew what I was capable of, even when I didn't think I was capable of those things. It always reassured me that I am destined to be successful. He sees the potential that I have.
"He's always been real with me, always been honest, and he's so genuine - he would never kind of run me into the ground. If he doesn't think that something is beneficial for me, he won't put me in that direction.
"I know a lot of collegiate coaches, their main objective is the collegiate season and for the athletes to perform on the collegiate level and win championships, win team championships and score as many points as you can, just so they can get some more money in their pockets.
"I know there was a lot of talk about at the SEC championships, how there were some athletes doing four events in the space of two hours to score points for their team. Coach Flo is never someone who would do that.
"I only ran one event at the Big 12 Championships because he's looking towards me running at [the World Championships in] Budapest, which isn't even part of the collegiate season."
If you told me after 4 months of training for the 400m, I’d be running 50.3 indoors I would’ve laughed.
I’m soo grateful, but I’m not done yet.
I appreciate all the support!🤍
— Rhasidat Adeleke (@rhasidatadeleke) February 26, 2023
A typical college day for Adeleke starts when she wakes around 5:30am, and then heads to the gym for a 90-minute session. She takes in some classes, and then food at the university's nutrition centre, before a track training session from 3pm to 4:30pm.
"I feel like the main aspects that have affected my performances [since coming to the University of Texas] are the weather and the coaching," she says.
"I know in Ireland, which is uncontrollable by anyone, the weather was always so cold. For sprinting you just want to be as productive as you could because you’d be all wrapped up and you wouldn’t be able to have full mobility while running and you just wouldn’t be able to reach full speed in case you got injured because your muscles weren’t fully warmed up.
"Here it’s always really warm. In the winter it got a little bit cold but we have indoor facilities right by the school so we’re able to go train inside which wasn’t always accessible for athletes when we were in Ireland.
"We do have the indoor arena [in Ireland] but sometimes it would be booked up and you couldn’t go or you have to book it in advance so that can also affect your performance.
"The coaching staff as well, Edrick Floréal my coach, the coaching staff and the trainers, it’s all really close and accessible so it just really makes life easy, especially as a college student.
"I can imagine if I was in Ireland and I have to go to college 40 minutes away from my training track and have to make that commute every day, then I’d be tired and have school work. It just might not make the balance as easy."
Due to a tight schedule and what would be a long flight, Adeleke will not compete at this week's European Indoor Championships in Istanbul. Her next major event will be the NCAA Championships in Albuquerque from March 10 - 11th. In August, there's the World Championships in Budapest, and of course, next year, the Olympic Games in Paris.
"One thing I always appreciate is that there is so much support," says Adeleke.
"It definitely gives me that extra motivation to keep succeeding. I always get messages, especially when it comes to young girls, 'Oh, my niece joined an athletics club because of you'. Those little messages always get me going, and keep me motivated.
"Some people were actually messaging me, 'I got tickets for Paris for the Olympic final'. I'm like, 'Oh my God, you have so much faith in me. Let me make sure I make that Olympic final so you can get your money's worth for that ticket'.
"It just makes me so happy to see I bring joy to people. It just makes me want to continue doing that."