That Runner’s High

A friend asked me this past weekend if I am bored while I run. I would never describe running as “boring”, but the actual long runs aren’t all that interesting, either. When I am running outside, I never listen to music. Mowgli proves a good distraction, if he’s with me, and the general scenery on the trail keeps my attention. I have always been one for daydreaming, so I appreciate the free time my mind has to wander.

I realized I spend most of my time thinking about when I will be done running. I have never experienced that elusive runner’s high.

The runner’s high– the concept that you produce so many endorphins while running that you reach some level of transcendent happiness– is something I have heard a lot about, but never experienced myself. Granted, I’ve never taken mind-altering drugs either, so I don’t really have anything to compare it to. Maybe the joy I get when I finish my run counts as a runner’s high. In theory, as the intensity of my running increases, so should the amount of endorphins released in my brain. So perhaps the runner’s high is out and there and I simply haven’t reached it yet.

Surprisingly, my quick “runner’s high” internet search didn’t prove all that helpful. This article from the New York Times is a few years old, but sums up the concept behind the runner’s high nicely. There is even a wikiHow page on “How to Get a Runner’s High”! The steps sound a whole lot like plain running to me, but maybe its worked for someone. WikiHow is an internet authority, after all.

Apparently, “Runner’s High” is also a popular name for an athletic store.

I’m curious to know more. Tell me about your runner’s high experience. How? When? What was it like?

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