If you’re a non-runner, you’ve heard of runner’s high. If you are a runner, even a mediocre one like me, maybe you’ve experienced runner’s high. I don’t know if what I feel during or after a run could be classified as “runner’s high” but I definitely feel something after many of my runs… maybe it’s just relief that they are done!
Seriously, in a 2008 NY Times article , researchers tested endurance athletes and found that endorphins were released during intense or endurance exercise. Since I’m a newbie, running 2.5 or 3 miles for me is actually intense exercise.
I don’t know how many endorphins are released, but I can wake up in a foul mood, stall and grumble my way out the door on a running day, but halfway through a lot of the time, I start to feel better. Halfway through, I’m surprised at how quickly I’m getting from point A to point B. Halfway through, when my breathing feels good and my legs are almost working independent of the rest of me, I stop fighting with myself and give in to the motion and my surroundings. Halfway through I start to think, “hey, this is actually fun.”
I don’t know that what I am experiencing is an official “runner’s high.” I’ve read stories of extreme emotion, out of body experiences, euphoria.
I haven’t experienced those, but I haven’t run long distances yet either. All I know, is that after a run or after a race, even if it’s not a great one, I feel better than when I went out.
And sometimes that flood of good feeling comes in the middle, like today, and makes the effort so worthwhile.