Every runner fond of running, once in a while has experienced this euphoric feeling; runner’s high. Here you are to find out everything about it. How does it happen? What’s the science behind it? Moreover, learn about the 5 steps on how to get runner’s high.
Just ask any runner and you will know how magical it has been for them. Your question will let them relive that moment. Just the glow on their face would tell you all about it.
Some consider it the best drug messing with the neurochemicals. Here is the catch; you can’t buy it but you have to earn it. We would like tell you about this sensational feeling and how you can increase the chances of experiencing it every time you go for a run.
What is a Runner’s High?
A runner’s high is the euphoric feeling you get after some long-distance running.
When you run your brain releases combination of chemicals which make you happy and joyful. But that feeling can be caused by any exercise when you sweat.
A runner’s high goes a step forward than just happiness. Your body feels lighter and you feel no pain. Sounds interesting? It gets better.
Once you reach the part where the high is triggered. You feel that you can run forever and possess infinite energy. As a result, you would never want to stop.
Something like flying where your feet don’t the ground. Where you can run faster and faster, and every mile gets easier and easier.
Please Note: Runner’s high does not happen every time you run!
What’s the Science?
When you reach a comfort level of running by at least half an hour at around 80% of your heart level. Two mood boosters are released in your brain; endorphins and anandamide.
Endorphins are opiates that act same as its chemical counterpart; morphine. Endorphins act as pain killers produced in responce to physical discomfort.
Whereas, Anandamides are cannabinoids which create a feel of calmness. They are a synthesized version of THC. THC is the same chemical found in marijuana.
Your blood carries these two chemicals to your blood brain barrier, which is a gatekeeper to your brain cells. Anandamides get into your brain easily, but few endorphins get in as they are relatively larger.
Now that the two mood boosters immigrate into your central nervous system. They limit the signaling power of the pain sensors, Nociceptors, which run though the spinal cord. As a result, you don’t feel your legs burning when you run.
Endorphins charge your prefrontal and limbic regions which regulate your motivation and emotion. You become calmer and soon euphoria kicks in.
Anandamides triggers dopamine which is a neurotransmitter which contributes to lust, pleasure and addiction.
A runner’s high is the result of these two chemicals playing with your head.
How to get Runner’s High?
A runner’s high is not something you should expect to happen every time you go for a run. Although, there are some techniques to maximize the chances.
Start with preparing yourself for great run. Here is a list of things you should consider:
- One of the most vital gadgets would be your Running Shoe. A decent pair of running shoe is vital to get started. Think of them as your jet to fly high.
- Make sure you have proper Gym Wear. The fabric should be moisture-absorbing. Muscle fit clothes with stretch ability are ideal. Check the weather before making a run. If you need a hoodie for the weather, grab it. More on Why You Need Gym Wear.
- Have a carbs, proteins and potassium meal at least 30 minutes before for a Pre-run Meal. Carbs are a great source of energy. Peanut butter is a great option for extra proteins. Moreover, a Banana will help muscle cramps.
- Make sure you have hydrated yourself enough before the run.
- Keeping Music or Audio Book on the go is always a great idea. It gives you company and keeps you engaged.
- Get a Running Partner if you want. It again serves the same purpose of keeping you engaged.
- Whether you are running on a treadmill or outdoors, it shouldn’t matter if your approach and mindset is right.
No exercise or workout should be done without a proper warm-up.
You know you have a good long distance to run. Therefore, stretch your lower and upper body for good 5 minutes. It will ensure your body is looser and relaxed. Also a good thumb rule to avoid injury.
Start running at less than 50 percent of your normal pace for 10 minutes. Running at a higher speed is always tempting when starting out to run. But starting slow will prevent you from getting tired early.
3. Pick Up the Pace
Once your body is warmed-up, you still need to hold your horses. Don’t rush in a full sprint but get to 70 percent of your full pace. You will feel the resistance but try to stay focused and in a comfortable position.
The key is to stay consistent on your pace. If you think the current speed is too much for you then slow it down to 60 percent.
Running at a steady pace without losing focus is the crucial part. Moreover, maintaining consistent speed between 60 to 70 percent of your speed remains the key.
Running also needs to be smart. Make sure you are comfortable yet running at the optimal pace. As long as you are enjoying your run, you are on the right track.
Any fatigue you feel should be welcomed but controlled. Moreover, don’t think too much about your runner’s high or else you might get distracted.
When you start to get little fatigued and you don’t feel any cramps, that is good news. Drag yourself a little more till you get uncomfortable. Make sure you are at least 45 minutes into the run by this time.
Soon your body will start to feel lighter. Your legs will stop burning, which means you are taking off for the euphoric journey.
In the state, you may run for as long as you want. The time for runner’s high varies but you won’t care. Your state of mind will take over all the time relativity. At some point, you will start to lose some steam and your body will eventually signal you to stop.
You will be light headed for a while and won’t believe what you just felt.
Whether you were successful or not in achieving the state, you certainly had a terrific run. Do not be disappointed if you missed out on it. You can always try again.
The more experienced runner you are, the better the chances you have.
Runner’s high is not a common experience and don’t go in with a lot of expectations.
Keep striving for great and challenging runs. Once you accomplish the runner’s high, it will be worth your efforts.
Keep running and stay fit!