Couch to 10K and Beyond: My Journey to Becoming a Runner.

TORONTO January 19th 2015. Digital Champion Allison Miceli  started running after relocating to Toronto last spring. She wanted to start running for a while, but didn’t have the motivation or support in suburbia. After joining Tribe Fitness’ ‘Couch to 10K’ program last summer, Allison completed her first 10K race last fall, just 24 seconds off her goal time! When she’s not running, Allison works in advertising and is also an avid traveller, music junkie, yogi, cyclist, foodie/baker, sports fanatic, lover of family and fan of great books.

Couch to 10K and Beyond: My Journey to Becoming a Runner. By Allison Miceli 

On July 7th, 2014 my journey to becoming a runner began with 3.78k at a pace of 7’35”, my first night of Tribe Fitness’ Couch to 10K program and the first of many runs in my future. After moving to Toronto at the end of May last year, I  told myself that I would actively try to get out in the city and try new things. One of the things at the top of my list was to meet-up with this group called Tribe Fitness. A fellow McMaster alumni, social media friend and runner Robyn Baldwin had been posting for a while about this awesome group of folks that she ran with. I figured that if I was going to give running a try that I would probably fair better with a group of like-minded people for support and encouragement, plus they were running a 12-week learn to run program!

Running for me was never easy, after a few years plagued with illness and injury I tried to start running in 2013, but unfortunately my body was not pleased with my decision and I was told that I would need to stop in order to prevent further injury or damage. I spent the next 12 months working hard at strength training, cardio, yoga and cycling to get my body back on track, primed and ready to make a solid attempt at running in the near future. I hoped to run a tri or OCR at some point and running would be key to both of those goals.

The first two weeks of the Couch to 10K were hard, the week consisted of three runs and we needed to stick to plan in order to be prepared for our goal race in the fall. After a few weeks of following the walking/running program I decided to go out one night and just run a 5k – no stopping or walking – for a base time. After that night I just kept pushing myself from there – I stopped walking, focused on my breathing and pushed to the next milestone in our training.

Not too long after this, one of my coaches encouraged me to join the Tribe for their Wednesday night 5k run. I wasn’t sure I was ready but my Coach Jay reminded me that we are ALL runners, and that was the motivation I needed to attend my first Wednesday night run event. I quickly learned that the Wednesday 5k run would work in my benefit as I ran alongside other runners and pushed myself to maintain a better pace. I became friends with one runner – Diana – who to this day is my #pacepartner and we push each other every time we run together. The summer and fall progressed into a time of firsts with me challenging myself to try many new things – trail running, interval training, hill training, embracing the Canadian winter and running in the middle of a snow storm, the list goes on but with a #noexcuses training mentality, what can I say I like a challenge!

The Tribe Fitness Crew takes on the #STWM Marathon Flame Relay!

The Tribe Fitness Crew takes on the #STWM Marathon Flame Relay!

Fast forward to October when I ran my first 10k – just 24 seconds over my goal of one hour. Now I’m a Wednesday night regular, I am out for speed work or hills on Monday night, I participate in community run events on Thursday and a Saturday long run is in my future. I am a runner! I never would have believed that just over six months ago when this began, I would still be sticking with it and finding enjoyment in it as well. At the end of the day it comes down to the crew that I run with, my Tribe. There is something so special about this group of dedicated coaches and runners, the support they give one another as we hand out high-fives, compliments or cheers while we pass each other on a training route or at a race. Without this #TribeLove I would not be where I am today.

It’s fitting that I finalized this post on the last day of being 24. It’s a time to reflect on the experiences of this 7 month journey – 2 races under my belt, 52 runs on record, running at an average pace of 5’45” and I will cross the 300k mileage mark on Monday night. This year I will take on the Toronto Yonge Street 10K (#TYS10K) as a Digital Champion, complete Around the Bay in a 3x10K relay team, help individuals prep for Harry’s Spring Run-off as a mentor and hope to attempt my first triathlon, OCR and ½ marathon by next fall! I run 2 – 3 times a week and when I miss a run with my crew I get serious FOMO (fear of missing out), so maybe I’m learning to love this crazy sport. My advice – don’t ever say you can’t, you can, it’s true what my coach said, we are all runners, we have it in us so go and find it! Grab a friend, a crew or a mentor and give it a go, use it as a way to explore your city, get outside or switch up your routine. You’ll be amazed at what you can do and the things that you can accomplish when you stick with it!

If you ever want to give it a go, send a tweet my way and I’ll make sure you’ve got someone – or maybe even a whole crew of people – to support you out on your first run!

Connect with Allison on Twitter and Instagram!