If you’re an experienced runner you probably relish in the elevated, floating feeling of the runner’s high. Either you feel content and natural or you feel light and euphoric, almost as if you’d taken a mood enhancement drug or something of the like.
While most runner’s will experience this feeling after strenuous workout during their career, some people claim to never feel it. This has left some people questioning whether the so called “runner’s high” is mythical, but scientists have in fact proven its existence.
Regular runner’s are more likely to feel the runner’s high on a consistent basis, so jump out there.
Yes, there is a strategy involved running into the runners high.
Here’s how to to do it.
How It Works
A runner’s high is the direct effect of endorphins flooding the brain. Endorphins are a group of opiate proteins with pain relieving properties. About twenty different types have been identified in the body so far, but scientists expect there could be more. Endorphins are released in our brain to naturally combat stress and are commonly known to occur when you eat dark chocolate, laugh, listen to music, and engage in physical activity.
When it comes to running, your brain prepares itself for the physical demands of the exercise. Your pituitary gland releases endorphins that attach to receptors on the outer surfaces of your brain cells, acting like a key-like chemical that fits into locks. When enough of the endorphins lock into nerve cell receptors your brain registers the change and feels a conscious feeling of elevation. This is the so called runner’s high. It’s often described as a “second wind” that powers up everything you do and it’s well worth the effort.
So How Do I Get There
Remember that part above where you talked about how endorphins are released to block the pain and stress that comes with strenuous physical activity? Well if you’re a beginning runner, you’ll probably need those endorphins to do just that. The first hard runs you experience when you’re jumping on the bandwagon will probably feel extremely demanding.
You’ll be out of breath, sore, tired, tight, and who knows what else. This is just part of the training period, but because you’ll be experiencing all of these things before you make it over the hill of getting in good shape, you’ll probably be too distracted to feel any sort of runner’s high.
If you’re patient though, you’ll feel yourself get stronger and better. You’ll run harder with less effort and find that you’ve started to achieve things you hadn’t dreamed of before. You’ll feel stronger, more energized, and more fulfilled overall. This is when the runner’s high starts to creep in and grab hold of you.
Instead of needing to go on a run you’ll crave the benefits and feel an internal, inexplicable desire to go just because it feels good. The most important component of reaching this point of achievement is consistency.
Staying Consistent into the Runner’s High
The hardest part of staying consistent comes at the very beginning. You might not want to run or because workouts haven’t made their way into your regular schedule yet, you might feel like you’re too busy to spend any sort of time on going out and getting a workout in. You’ve got to keep training, and here are some tips to get you there.
Build a Schedule. Make a chart, write runs into your planner, give yourself a break away from everything to run. Experts say that one of the best ways to solve a complex problem is to step away and take in other stimuli. Who knows, your workouts could even help your work life.
Set Goals. Goal setting is crucial to achieving just about anything, running included. Setting mileage or time goals and then rewarding yourself (in a positive way) will help keep you on top of your workouts while keeping everything positive. After all, we all know it feels good to achieve something we’ve worked for.
Get a Nike+. Nike+ is a device you put in your shoe that measures your speed and distance. At the end of each workout you upload your run and record your results. You can compete against friends, strangers, and even yourself. The site lets you post goals, own running routes (by being the person who runs on that trail or path the most often) and much more. People say that when it comes to Nike+ five recorded workouts is the magic number. After that you’re addicted.
Other Tips. You can find additional tips for staying consistent and motivating yourself to run at our guide to staying motivated to run.