Getting High When Running

Image: graur razvan ionut / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image: graur razvan ionut / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

I’m an addict and I admit it.  But it is an addiction I never want to kick.  Today I experienced one of those great runner’s high where you are in a total state of euphoria and happiness.  I wanted to high five other runners and hug people on the streets, but being a relatively sane person, didn’t quite take it that far.  I’ve never done cocaine, but they say when you experience a runner’s high, it is the same feeling.  Some researchers say there is no such thing as a runner’s high, but I’m here to tell you, I experience it often.

The high I experience comes in various degrees and don’t come with every run.  Usually, it is in the middle of my long runs when I’m listening to music that I get that “I’m on top of the world” feeling and all is right with the world.  Deep emotions come to the surface and it is like this outpouring of love that wants to express itself.  And this feeling seems to last for a while, where I’m still feeling great hours after the run.  Unfortunately, this level of the runner’s high doesn’t come very often.

Most of my highs I experience are a general sense of peace and well-being.  If it were a scale of 1 to 10, I would give these highs a 5 or 6.  I get high on most of my runs, especially when I’m well rested and life is routine.  The runner’s high effect can lasts for hours, and for me, that is usually until the afternoon.

I can really tell the difference in my mood and outlook on life at work on my run days versus my non-run days.  On the days I run, I’m a zen master and no problem is too big to solve.  On the days I don’t run, I’m a grumpy old man and problems are magnified and negativity can creep in.  Although I cross-train on the days I don’t run, the workouts just don’t seem to replicate the highs I get from running.

If I could run every day without the risk of injury, I would, but know my body would eventually fall apart.  Like all things in life, too much of a good thing has consequences.  So I have to ration my running fix to 3 or 4 days a week.  Although I’m admittedly an addict, fortunately the high I’m seeking is 100% natural, totally free, and great for your health.

Question:  Do any of you also experience the runner’s high when you run?

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About runninginspired

I’m in my mid-40s and have been running for about 19 years. I have finished 24 marathons with a personal best time of 3:04. I currently reside in San Diego, CA. I enjoy running since it keeps you honest and will give back what you put into it. Work hard, but smart, and good results will eventually follow. I like to experiment with training plans, gadgets, shoes, and nutrition to find what works for me. The primary purpose of this blog is to document my training and thoughts about running in my ongoing quest to improve my fitness and health.
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4 Responses to Getting High When Running

  1. Jamie says:

    Most definitely! I can start a run feeling grumpy but totally reversed the mood once I’ve finished it, no matter how short the run may be. The chemicals coursing through our bodies are pretty amazing stuff.

  2. Matt says:

    Never felt as much of a runner’s high as I did in Nagano! Thanks for all the good insight into training and nutrition.

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