Karynn Cavero with her son, Neo.

Editor’s Note: The following article is one in a series of pieces inspired by spring being a time to take charge of our health. They all include tips for being fit, eating right and feeling healthy, brought to you by Colgate. Let’s ToneUP together!

Running has a bad reputation in certain circles as an exercise that is more torture than an activity that makes you feel good about yourself.

Still, running has never been more popular, and many women want to reap its health and psychological benefits but don’t know how to get started. Following are the stories and tips of seven women who run to feel good!

Karynn started running in 2010, to keep herself busy during her son’s football practice. She enrolled in a Bootcamp class led by another team player’s mom and ended up training for a 5K. She’s run several races and two half-marathons since then. “I used to hate running. I couldn’t understand why people would do something so boring, until I got hooked.”
Why she runs: “For my sanity! It’s one of those activities for which you really don’t need anything or anyone else.”
What keeps her going: “If my son can bear training in football gear in hot weather, I can endure the Florida heat and go the distance.”
Her best tips: “Just do it! Lace up your running shoes, grab your headphones and get out. There’s no such a thing as the perfect weather, time or outfit. It’s all in your mind!” 

Stories of 7 Women Who Run to Feel Good-Amanda Dufau

Amanda Dufau and her sons.

Amanda started running in March 2011 to sidestep getting a gym membership. The mother of two boys, ages 10 and six, she admits to having a love/hate relationship with running. “I think up any excuse to not go running but once I start, I’m addicted. There really is such a thing as a runner’s high,” she says. Amanda’s entered a variety of races, from 5Ks to 10Ks and five half-marathons.
Why she runs: “I feel amazing on a good running day. Sometimes I think I can run another 5 or 6 miles!”
What keeps her going: “Running is not only a great source of exercise, but also a stress reliever. I know that by running I’m keeping myself active and improving my health.”
Her best tips: “Start out slow, at an interval that is comfortable for you, like run 2 minutes then walk 2 minutes. Don’t give up if you have a bad run. Not everyone has to be the first place medal winner, just know you are doing something good for you and your body.”

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JULISSA BONFANTE • Communications & Media Professional
Julissa started running in her teens in a summer athletic program. As an adult she began training for races and loved it. She’s run several 5Ks and completed two half-marathons. “On race day (in NYC), there was a terrible rain storm and cold weather, and I did it. So, if I can run in those conditions I can do anything!” states the mami of two, a boy and a girl.
Why she runs: “I feel amazing! It gives me a new and fresh perspective on things, stimulating creativity.”
What keeps her going: “Running is therapeutic. I can be really stressed and I know that after I go for a run outside, everything will be better. Running helps me clear my head.”
Her best tips: “Buy a great pair of sneakers and make sure you get fitted at a running specialty store. Also, a good workout playlist—nothing like music to get you motivated. Start slowly and build up to where you want to be. Read Runner’s World and Fitness magazine for tips and training schedules.” 

Stories of 7 Women Who Run to Feel Good-Lorraine C. Ladish

Lorraine C. Ladish

LORRAINE C. LADISH • Author & Mamiverse Editor-in-Chief
Lorraine started running with her father when she was 12 years old, and has kept on going ever since. “Back then I didn’t know how to breathe or pace myself, so it was hard,” she recalls. “I’ve never been good at speed, but I’ve embraced endurance.”

She’s completed 5Ks and 7ks and a half-marathon. “It was one of my most exhilarating experiences. But now I’m back to running just for me.” The mom of two girls, 12 and nine, Lorraine substituted running for walking or swimming during both her pregnancies.
Why she runs: “For mental clarity and emotional stability. And of course, for the fitness benefits. I’m addicted.”
What keeps her going: “If I don’t run for a couple of days, my kids remind me to! They know I feel better and am nicer to be around after a run.”
Her best tips: “Find a reason to start. Read books on running. Learn how to pace yourself. Sign up to a race and finish it. The rest will follow.”

DAILY BAEZ • Blogger
Daily, the mami of two girls, 11 and seven, started running a few years ago on a treadmill. Only a few months ago, she discovered the freedom and simplicity of running. “Also, it’s free and I can feel and look great by doing it!” she says. She’s already run a 10K and logs 5 miles every day. Looking at other women on social media sporting toned bodies is a big source of motivation for her.
Why she runs: “I feel amazing, I feel like nothing else matters when I am running just me. I just run till I reach my daily goal.”
What keeps her going: “Running gives me health, the ability to be active and teach my kids a healthy way of living.”
Her best tips: “Get a good pair of running shoes. Run at your own pace but make sure to challenge yourself, have goals. Use fitness apps like like Nike +run.” 

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Stories of 7 Women Who Run to Feel Good-Gemma Salas

Gemma Salas

GEMMA SALAS • Health & Fitness Expert
Gemma, who lives in Barcelona, Spain and has an 18-year-old daughter, started running a year ago, on a bet. She promised she would do a half-marathon in under two hours and she did! She is now prepping for her third half-marathon which she hopes to finish in 1 hour and 45 minutes.
Why she runs: “I feel happy and satisfied every day I run regardless of the time or distance. All running days are good for me.”
What keeps her going: “Sometimes I don’t feel like (running) but that changes after the first five minutes. And it always happens that way.”
Her best tips: “Go step by step, armed with a fitness and running plan and always be happy for small achievements. Drink water before and after your run, and eat a healthy diet that includes good-for-you vegetables, whole grains and proteins.”

Sandra Sanchez of Waco, Texas, is a mother of three who competes in triathlons and running races. This opinion editor of a local newspaper initially hated to run. But she quickly realized that was the worst part of her triathlons and in order to improve her times, she needed to better her runs. “I really don’t think of myself as a great runner and, frankly, I’ve never loved running. I’m a swimmer at heart.”
Why she runs: “I truly believe working out with others helps motivate and keep one accountable. Plus, it’s so much fun.”
What keeps her going: “When I nail a good run, I feel great. When I don’t, I congratulate myself for finishing and vow to try harder the next time. Perhaps reevaluate whether I was well rested, too overworked or hydrated. I don’t beat myself up ever.”
Her best tips: “I make sure I hydrate before running. I have to listen to music. I always wear a hat and dry-fit, cool run gear and I spend $150 per fitted shoes, which I change out every three or four months.”