run, rest, eat, bitch, buy things, cross-train, blog, repeat.

Friday, February 8, 2008

Runner's High

Runner's High is somewhat of a mystery. Scientists and researchers still debate on its exact cause, but any distance runner will tell you that they've experienced it at least once. We know that it occurs during long, strenuous workouts and it has to do with the endorphins and other chemicals produced while doing this type of activity. Basically, its a natural drug. Scientists say that it has the same documented effects on the human body as morphine, heroin and marijuana. That's just crazy! When non-runners ask why I run, I usually tell them that running is addictive. And that's true...more so than most of us realize!

When we experience Runner's High, its like everything in the world just falls into place. All is good and calm. There's an intense, elated feeling of euphoria and any present pain or exhaustion melts right away. Even when I can't run as much as I like or I fall into a non-running slump, I always come right back. I run to experience Runner's High, even though I can only really reacall experiencing it a handful of times in my years of running.

I can vividly remember all the details of my last Runner's High. It was a cool and crisp, sunny day at Moss Wright Park. I was doing a long run of 19 miles. I came around the back turn of the loop and the sunshine blasted me with warmth...it seemed to be giving me strength, speed and energy. I felt like a super-human with magical powers. I even remember the songs that were playing on my MP3 Player-Beastie Boys-An Open Letter to NYC and Matisyahu's Jerusalem. Two great songs.

I recently read about an interesting Runner's High experiment that used rats. All of the rats were given an hour of feeding time-enough to live a healthy life. But, half of them had excercise wheels in their cages while the other half did not. The rats that had excercise wheels ran so much that they eventually died of starvation. They decreased their food intake and spent most of their time on the wheel. They were addicted to running.

It makes sense that doctors reccommend excersise in most any situation...depression, anxiety, eating issues, warding off cancer and heart disease. Running is absolutely a miracle drug!

3 comments:

Amy said...

Wow. Very informative post. Did you just like cut and paste that from runners world or something? That's great.

johnking said...

nope it was DEER and veggie burrito. good stuff.

Dana said...

I SOO completely agree! Even though I don't get that "high" on every run,I continue to run because it makes me feel good overall. Besides I wouldn't to get high on every run. Kinda takes the fun out of it.