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    18 Things That Made Real People Actually Like Running

    From people who used to dread it, too.

    We asked members of the BuzzFeed Community how they came to really enjoy running.

    Here's what they said.

    And by the way, remember to check with your doctor before you start a new exercise or training program!

    1. Let running teach you how to persevere and tough it out when things get rough.

    SoPinkUK / Via

    "As you run, your legs beg for you to stop but in your mind, you want to move forward. Or perhaps you feel like your lungs are about to collapse, you want to stop and catch your breath but you keep moving forward. I think of those things as obstacles in life. There's always something that's dragging you down but you have to keep moving forward. I'm glad that I'm running again. Running builds character such as discipline and persistence, something humans need to survive our society today.

    Running makes me feel good physically and mentally. It has helped me to keep moving forward."

    —Abby Sencio, Facebook

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    2. Train for an obstacle race that makes you feel superhuman. / Via

    "My doctor told me to lose weight, so I started doing long walks on the treadmill. My brother got me a ticket for the Gladiator Rock 'N Run obstacle mud race. I started training alone and I just kept thinking about how I was a gladiator and just started going faster and faster on the treadmill.

    I fell in love with the agility and speed and how great my legs felt moving back and forth uphill. My calves and thighs would tingle and burn. I loved the soreness I felt afterwards. When I got on the obstacle course I felt amazing. Never looked back since."

    —Guadalupe Leon, Facebook

    3. Sign up for a race that's very *you.*

    Instagram: @allbouttheprep / Via

    "I thought running was boring. Then I got involved with the Bourbon Chase — a 200-mile team relay race across Kentucky with a visit to every distillery from Jim Beam to Lexington. That I can run for!"

    —Trevor Pittman, Facebook

    4. Use it to get out all your stress and anger and frustrations.

    ILoveApparel / Via

    "I have anxiety and I started running about four years ago when I was going through a tough time. I'm currently going through another tough phase and running has been my one constant for the past month and a half. I work through my anger, my confusion, my anxiety, and my stress. It's not like they don't exist once I'm done running, but they don't seem so monumental. They are manageable.

    Running gives you a small sense of accomplishment that you can carry with you for the rest of the day."

    —Aishwarya Subramanian, Facebook

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    5. Go explore some legit cool places.

    Instagram: @runlaur / Via

    "I used to HATE the thought of even walking a few blocks but I started walking to lose weight and slowly started to like it. I started finding all of these gorgeous trails, woods, mountains, and even new little restaurants and stores. Before I knew it, I started running a bit in between my walks and as the months went on, I did more running than walking. Now, over a year later, I run four miles at least three times per week and I LOVE it.

    I've done a few 5Ks and now I'm preparing for my first half marathon next year. Running really did change my life."

    —Jade Chanelle, Facebook

    6. Actually celebrate every time you break a personal record.

    Instagram: @sugarcoatedstrych9 / Via

    "One summer a few years ago, I decided I was sick of complaining about my weight, so I got up almost every day and just ran. I was patient with myself and walked when I needed to. Eventually, I began to marvel about all the stuff my body was capable of! I ran for 20 minutes, then 30, than 45, all of which I had never imagined I could do! Then I began to think: What if I maxed out my potential? Wouldn't it be fun to see what I can really do?

    Tracking my progress has been what has made it fun for me and I fall in love with running each time I accomplish a new goal. I'm about to run my second half-marathon in a few months; only a distant dream a few years ago!"

    —Hannah Hiller, Facebook

    7. Use running as a kind of therapy to process stuff.

    Lzf / Getty Images

    "I really fell in love with running after my brother passed away when I was 13 years old. A family friend who was 16 and a runner took me under her wing to train with her for a half-marathon. It gave me something positive to focus on, allowed me the time to think, process things, and generally make me feel good when things were really crappy.

    There still is nothing that can solve my problems more than a run out on the road or on the trails near my house. It's my favorite therapy."

    —Kathleen O'Hagan, Facebook

    8. Go watch a marathon and marvel at how freaking awesome everyone is.

    Instagram: @nycmarathon / Via

    "I would run on occasion, but nothing serious. I had a friend who ran the Colfax Half-Marathon, and I went to watch. While waiting for them to pass, I witnessed an individual connected to another person running. They had a sign on that said 'blind and running.' After witnessing that, I got motivated and started running more. Since then, I have done three marathons and two half-marathons!"

    —Jordan Michael Alan Brenner-Bladek, Facebook

    9. Or just sign up for a half-marathon on a whim and see what happens.

    Instagram: @travelgastronaut / Via

    "I suffer from severe depression and two years ago an old coworker of mine was running a half marathon and her running buddy was leaving town for the weekend so she asked me to fill in for her. I just didn't know if I could continuously run for 13.1 miles but I did it anyway.

    Three hours and 45 minutes later I was crossing the finish line of my first half-marathon and for once in my life I was genuinely happy. It was a high that I never wanted to go away.

    I now run three miles every morning and I am constantly looking for new half-marathons to run. I'm training to run my first full marathon. Can you imagine that high after I cross the finish line running 26.2 miles!?"

    —Johnny Chacon, Facebook

    10. Use running as your alone time — where you're in total control and can do/think whatever you want.

    Monkeybusinessimages / Getty Images

    "After I found out my husband at the time was cheating, and enduring months of emotional abuse while we tried to 'work it out,' I started running as an excuse to be alone and try to forget for a little while. I ended up finding a sense of control and freedom in a time when I felt I was drowning.

    When I gave up comparing myself [to others] and just enjoyed the experience, I fell in love and haven't looked back. Thousands of miles, lots of 5Ks, and down 130+ lbs, I'm about to run my second half-marathon and I'm looking into a full one next year.

    Running has given me my life back."

    —Nicole Mason, Facebook

    11. Make it your excuse to take a very cool and memorable trip.

    Instagram: @mariafreckles / Via

    "My mother has been a serious runner for years but I've always only been sporadic at best. But somehow the running bug bit me seriously two years ago, and I decided I wanted to run a half-marathon, specifically the Disney Half-Marathon. Disney has always been on my mom's destination run bucket list so we decided we'd go for it. She patiently trained me for a year, through the rain and sun and snow and we did it! But the best part of the whole thing wasn't the trip to Disneyland (though that was ridiculously fun). I really just enjoyed spending time with my mom. We still run together, though we have no solid plans for another race."

    —Kirsten Bower, Facebook

    12. Use it to feel amazing in your body.

    FabulouslyFeminist / Via

    "Two and a half years ago I was in a bad car accident that left me unable to even walk unassisted for nine months. When I realized I was able to run again after so much rehab and training, it was the happiest, most triumphant feeling. I started signing up for races and running more consistently mostly just to prove to myself and others that I was strong again. Now I'm hooked!"

    —Anna Wood, Facebook

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    13. Make it the thing you bond with someone over.

    Robedero / Getty Images

    "I got into running as a teenager partly because I was terrible at other sports, and partly because my father was a competitive long-distance runner. I stuck with it as a teenager because even as I got older and the relationship between my father and I waxed and waned, it was common ground he and I could meet on. Even when we weren't communicating we could always talk about running and upcoming races.

    My father passed away unexpectedly earlier this year, and it may sound corny, but now I want to run to still feel a connection to him and all the things he taught me about breathing and form and speed work, because even though he's gone I don't ever want to lose that common ground we had."

    —Ali Arellano, Facebook

    14. Celebrate your precious downtime with a few minutes of running.

    Instagram: @abertolet / Via

    "I'm a single mama with a three-year-old, in school full time and working part time and going for my 8 a.m. run is the glue that keeps me together through all this!! I've struggled with depression and anxiety for years and have a better handle on my mental health because of that extra 5-10 minute run. It was by chance that I have started loving running, but the timing really made a difference for me — the fresh morning air, carefully selected tunes, and changing up the route every once in a while have made running so so easy to love."

    —Darlene Rivero, Facebook

    15. Familiarize yourself with a new place by taking a run.

    Instagram: @lna_beyer / Via

    "I used to say the only way you'd get me to run was if a bear were chasing me. Then I moved to a remote town in Japan where I didn't know anyone, didn't have a phone, and didn't have any spending money. I started running to explore my new home, and over the course of two years got to love it by discovering every alley, neighborhood, secret shrine, and eccentric citizen."

    —Marta Haruko Senn, Facebook

    16. Do it to support a cause you care about.

    Instagram: @kwilkerson02 / Via

    "In 2013 I was possibly the furthest thing from being a runner or enjoying it. I went for a jog maybe a few times a year to try something different.

    Then, the tragic events at the Boston Marathon in 2013 unfolded. My best friend asked me if I wanted to participate in a three-mile Run for Boston race in Austin, TX. I couldn't run for three minutes, let alone three miles, but I figured I would try to show my support to a city in need. That run changed my life. Seeing thousands of people, all of different races, ethnicities, body types, and ages, supporting Boston was an incredible sight.

    One day, who knows when, I am committed to running the Boston Marathon — to go to the race that started it all for me. We are Boston Strong."

    —Kaitlin Panaccione, Facebook

    17. Use it to feel how damn strong you are.

    amyd / Via

    "I started running to impress a guy but ended up impressing myself. I gained control over my chronic asthma, got a stronger body, and now I feel like such a badass when I hit the pavement."

    —Sarah Cullinan, Facebook

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    18. Or, heck, just do it for the post-run euphoria.

    Instagram: @runforabettertomorrow / Via

    "By no means am I athletic, but I run for the great feeling you get afterward. It’s amazing how you can be dragging your feet to the gym, but afterward feel on top of the world!! And as a side effect, it’s good for my body. I know I’d have an unhealthy mindset if I did it just to lose weight so I sincerely just go to get the great feeling afterward."


    Responses have been edited for clarity and length.

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