A runners high isn’t easy to describe to non-runners, but those who have felt it truly understand it. Famous runners, Olympic runners and weekend warriors have all experienced it.
WHY PEOPLE RUN
Many people run as a means to losing weight as studies have shown that aerobic exercise along with diet are the perfect tandem for burning excess fat. Not only does one lose weight but a growth of leaner tissue results as well.
Most likely the second most popular reason is the accessibility of running.
Then of course there are a multitude of health benefits to be reaped by taking up running on a regular basis.
Running is a big help when it comes to lowering blood pressure. For one reason it helps maintain more elasticity in the arteries.
During the course of running, the arteries expand and contract a lot more than they normally would and this is what creates the elasticity and in turn means lower overall blood pressure.
Running will also help maximize the full potential of the lungs. Deep breathing means the lungs will use more of the 50% of our lungs that are normally not used.
OLYMPIC RUNNERS, TRACK RUNNERS, CROSS COUNTRY RUNNERS AND YOU
From the outside looking in running might seem tedious to an onlooker. All they envision is the pain and how very exhausting it must be.
Before running exploded onto the world scene in the early 1980’s many people thought it was a sport for a hardy few. It was reserved for those incredible athletes they would watch run in the World Championships, the Boston Marathon, or perhaps the Olympic Games.
Runners of all calibers and every type can experience a runners high. It’s not something that is an experience for a select few.
If running is a passion for you than chances are you have–or one day soon — will experience a runners high.
An Olympic runner might experience his high the moment he crosses the finish line to capture the gold medal.
The track runner might experience his runners high when he runs his fastest 800 meters ever.
Cross-country runners might experience it when they find themselves in the leading flight as they turn for home.
A new runner might experience a runners high for the first time on that magic morning when nothing hurts after a long training run the day before.
Perhaps that was the defining moment when the runner truly realized for the first how amazing their body was and just how much they were capable of.
WHEN YOU WILL NOT EXPERIENCE A RUNNER’S HIGH
New runners will most likely not get to experience a runners high if they are constantly pushing themselves to run more and more often, and further and further before their body is really ready for it.
It is more likely they will become over-tired, depressed, or perhaps injured. Worse yet, they may give up on running altogether because it is simply too difficult and gives them little pleasure.
The only reason it’s too hard is because they have not given their body time to adjust and ease into this new effort they are asking from it.
A new runner, or any runner for that matter, is not likely to experience a positive high from constantly being physically stressed and sore.
If you find yourself in the later stages of a marathon and begin to crash into the mystical “wall” it is unlikely you will be experiencing a runners high on that day. You have not planned your marathon properly and your body is paying for it in a big way.
At this stage you will be about a million miles away from a runners high.
WHEN YOU ARE MORE LIKELY TO EXPERIENCE A RUNNER’S HIGH
Take the very same marathon course a year later and you have taken the time perhaps to learn how to use a heart monitor and perhaps did a better job of tapering and resting leading into the big day.
All of a sudden at that very same spot where you crashed into the wall just one year ago, you are passing runners left and right. It just sends an uplifting surge of energy through you to realize you did things right and this is going to be “your” day.
Not only will you be experiencing a runners high at that moment, but most likely for many days following the marathon as well. In many ways that special “high” is achieved when we are doing everything right and our running experience is a positive one.
Many runners thrive on the euphoria they often feel after a good run and if many cases claim that this is what keeps them running.
Actually, there can be a chemical reaction that causes a euphoria. The reaction is created from a betaendorphin release that is triggered by nervous system neurons. It’s initial intention is to ease the pain after a run, but at the same time it causes a mood and feeling of exhilaration that runners begin to crave. An many ways it’s an addiction, but a positive one.
For many people running can create a turning point in their lives as it can replace addictions to alcohol, food, and at times, even food.
Running has a way of providing more energy for our daily lives and it also seems to provide a perfect balance of appetite, food and exercise and at the same time improves the ability to relax and sleep on a regular basis.
Yet there is far, far more to a runner’s high than a chemical reaction.
HAS THIS HAPPENED TO YOU?
Have you ever gone for a run and felt like you had wings on your feet and any direction you happened to run, it felt like the wind was always at your back?
Have you ever been out running and had a surge of energy and “feel good” vibrations run right through you?
Have you ever been out running early on a clear Winter morning when your world was covered with a fresh blanket of snow and ice crystals gleamed in the crisp air and you felt just so lucky to experience this moment of solitude as your silent footfalls broke a new path in the powdery snow?
Have you ever had a training run that just felt so effortless that it left you feeling great all day?
There are many ways to experience a runners high and those are just a few of them.
In many ways it is an emotional event that comes with doing something that is very good for you and recharges your life in so many ways.
Can running be obsessive?
You might call it an obsession I suppose, but personally I like to think of it as a creative compulsion.