It’s hard to explain the ‘runners high’ to someone who isn’t necessarily a well established runner yet or is just starting out, but keep pursuing and it will consume you. Once you kick the habit of finding every excuse in the book to not go for a run, you are going to be finding every excuse to why you HAVE to run! The stimulating chemicals that motivate a long distance runner are unanimous, turning a light hearted Sunday 10k into a 12 mile, my phone died an hour ago and I have definitely missed a meal time, kind of run.
With stress being increasingly prevalent in our lives, we sometimes just need to switch off from the monotonous head bangers of daily routine and catch some time to distance ourselves. I’m not talking about getting on a plane and parachuting onto a desert island, but space from your current mind set. Meditation and relaxation are simple and effective ways to relax your senses and quieten the mind, but it’s not always easy finding a tranquil space to do it!
Physical exercise and meditation are the most common stress busters for unwinding. Running however, is a collaboration of the two. Running works the body on an intense physical level of continuous routined movement, which allows your thought process to wander. You can think of a million things at once but when that runners high kicks in, you find your mental status currently disconnected from the world. Body switched on, head switched off.
A ‘runners high’ allows you to completely detach from the circulation of society, and move graciously down a path of mental solidarity and self being.
“Psychologically, runners may experience euphoria, a feeling of being invincible, a reduced state of comfort or pain, and even a loss in sense of time while running” Jesse Pittsley PhD president of the American Society of Exercise physiology.
So now we know what the runner high is, how exactly do we achieve this amazing sense? When we exercise, we releases endorphins that interact with the receptors in our brain, triggering positive vibes in the body making you feel good. Similar to that of morphine, the feeling that follows a run is often described as euphoric… I welcome you to the runners high! Endorphins hit the nervous system and sets off reactions that reduce pain and anxiety and produce a floaty, free-form sense of well-being. This is the same chemical responsible for the buzz that marijuana produces. So how about you stub out that zoot and get your happy time from a long distance run instead? You will feel mentally energised and positive, but I cannot guarantee you will not have the munchies after!
The reason us runners consistently have that drive and motivation to get ourselves into trainers and out the door everyday is to get the endorphin fix. It is registered within our systems and once you get that hit, it is a recurring craving that will eat at you until you achieve the maximum high.
Olivia Neo x