What Is Runners High?

bristol half marathon

how to avoid hitting the wallWhat is runners high?

You could ask 100 different runners what is runners high and you may just get 100 different answers.

Runners high, to me, is feeling as if regardless what pace I am at or what distance I am running it is effortless.

I had a feeling that is hard to describe when I broke the 2.20 marathon barrier at the California International Marathon in 2007.

Feeling effortless

When I am asked what is runners high from co-workers or people who are just getting involved in the sport I bring up that race.

It was strange in that I was on 5.11 per mile through 20 miles in that race and it felt no different than any long run I had done prior.

I had a similar feeling on sunday when I did a fartlek run averaging out at 4.57 pace for the 6 miles covered during that workout.

Lower heart rate

My heart rate was low, my leg turnover felt smooth even while running at 4.27-44 mile pace during the hard segments of that fartlek.

It is a unique feeling and hard to describe.

Ebbs and Flows

Ever find it hard to understand how some days we feel like crap and the next day we are rolling along at quick clip feeling effortless?

Physicians say that when you feel like this, effortless, when even breathing and your mind is totally calm even at high intensities it is due to a cannabinoid neurotransmitter called anadamide.

What is runners high can be answered very quickly as you begin to gain fitness and start to feel effortless on runs that normally gave you a hard time.

Less stress on the heart

It is when your heart doesn’t have to pump as much blood as it once did when you first began training.

Some runners experience it while running, others after a hard workout.

Researchers at the University of Arizona in a recent study in the Journal of  Experimental Biology actually tested how the runners high is created in post workouts.

Good for your brain

There are brain chemicals called endocanabinoids that are in the reward sections of the brain.

The studies showed that exercise or any other activity that promotes health creates in our bodies positive feelings and energy.

I would recommend that athletes run at moderate efforts for at least 20 minutes.

You don’t have to be a national or world-class athlete to experience a runners high. You simply have to be willing to get out and challenge your body.

Lastly, a great way to answer someone’s often asked question ‘what is runners high?’ is to suggest them to implement fartlek runs into the weekly training schedule if they haven’t already.

It is a great feeling to back off pace, look down at your watch and still see you are running fast splits even during your easy segments.

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