5 Steps to Reach the Ultimate Runner’s High
Running is one of the most accessible and beneficial forms of exercise out there. Not only does it improve cardiovascular health and build strength and endurance, but it also has the power to elevate our mood and boost our mental well-being. Many runners describe experiencing a sense of euphoria and wellbeing during and after a run, commonly known as “runner’s high.”
In this post, we’ll explore what runner’s high is, why it happens, and most importantly how to get runner’s high, and how you can experience it for yourself. Whether you’re a seasoned runner or just starting, this guide will provide you with tips and strategies for achieving that elusive, but runner’s incredibly rewarding feeling of high. So lace up your shoes, hit the road or the trail, and let’s get started!
What is The Runner’s High?
Runner’s high is a term used to describe a state of euphoria and heightened well-being that some runners experience during or after a run. This feeling is often described as a sense of elation, calmness, and reduced anxiety.
The scientific explanation for runner’s high is the release of endorphins, which are natural painkillers that the body produces in response to stress or pain.
Endorphins are released by the pituitary gland during exercise, particularly during endurance activities like running, and they can bind to receptors in the brain to reduce pain and produce feelings of pleasure and euphoria.
In addition to endorphins, other hormones, and neurotransmitters may also contribute to runner’s high. For example, studies have shown that exercise can increase the production of dopamine, a neurotransmitter that is associated with motivation and reward.
Similarly, exercise has been found to increase levels of serotonin, a neurotransmitter that regulates mood and can produce feelings of well-being.
While the exact mechanisms behind runner’s high are not fully understood, there is no doubt that this experience is a real and powerful phenomenon. For many runners, the feeling of a runner’s high is a major motivation for getting out and running, and it can contribute to a positive, sustainable relationship with exercise.
How to Prepare for Runner’s High
If you want to experience runner’s high, it’s important to prepare your body and mind for the challenge. Here are some tips for getting ready:
- Before you start running, make sure to do a thorough warm-up to prepare your muscles and joints for the workout. This can include dynamic stretching, light jogging, or other gentle movements that gradually increase your heart rate and blood flow.
- Drinking enough water before and during your run can help you perform better and reduce the risk of dehydration. Make sure to drink plenty of water throughout the day, and bring a water bottle with you on your run.
- Eating a balanced meal or snack before your run can give you the energy you need to power through and potentially experience a runner’s high. Some runners find that eating carbohydrates before exercise can help improve endurance.
- Mental preparation is just as important as physical preparation when it comes to runner’s high. Take some time to visualize yourself running smoothly and effortlessly, and focus on the positive feelings that you hope to experience.
By taking these steps to prepare your body and mind, you can increase your chances of achieving runner’s high and enjoying all the benefits that come with it
How to Get Runner’s High
Achieving runner’s high requires more than just lacing up your shoes and hitting the pavement. Here are some tips for how to get there:
1. Focus on your breathing: Taking deep, controlled breaths can help you stay calm, centered, and focused during your run. Try to breathe in for two steps and out for two steps, or find a rhythm that feels natural and comfortable for you.
2. Find your pace: Running at a consistent, comfortable pace can help you settle into a meditative state that can lead to runner’s high. Experiment with different speeds and find the one that feels most sustainable for you.
3. Set small goals: Breaking up your run into smaller, achievable goals can help you stay motivated and focused. For example, you might aim to run to a certain landmark, complete a certain distance, or maintain a certain pace for a set amount of time.
4. Embrace discomfort: Running can be challenging and uncomfortable, but pushing through those moments of discomfort can be incredibly rewarding. Focus on the positive sensations that come with running, such as the rush of endorphins and the feeling of accomplishment, and use those feelings to propel you forward.
5. Listen to your body: Runner’s high can be an intense and powerful experience, but it’s important to listen to your body and avoid pushing yourself too hard. Pay attention to any signs of pain or injury, and adjust your pace or distance accordingly.
By following these tips and staying consistent with your running routine, you can increase your chances of experiencing runner’s high and enjoying all the benefits that come with it.
How to Sustain Runner’s High
Once you’ve experienced runner’s high, you’ll want to find ways to sustain that feeling and keep it going beyond your run. Here are some tips for how to do that:
1. Cool down properly: After your run, take some time to cool down and stretch your muscles. This can help prevent soreness and stiffness, and can also help you relax and stay calm.
2. Hydrate and refuel: Drink plenty of water and eat a healthy snack or meal after your run to replenish your energy stores and aid in recovery.
3. Reflect on your run: Take some time to reflect on your run and the feelings that came with it. This can help you stay motivated and inspired for future runs, and can also help you identify any areas where you can improve.
4. Vary your routine: Mixing up your running routine with different routes, terrains, or distances can help keep your workouts interesting and engaging. This can also help prevent burnout and keep your motivation high.
5. Cross-train: Incorporating other forms of exercise, such as strength training, yoga, or cycling, can help improve your overall fitness and reduce the risk of injury. It can also help you stay motivated and engaged in your fitness routine.
By incorporating these tips into your running routine, you can sustain the positive effects of runner’s high and make it a consistent part of your life. Remember that runner’s high is a powerful and rewarding experience, but it’s important to listen to your body and stay safe and healthy as you pursue your fitness goals.
Dean Karnazes has pushed his body and mind to inconceivable limits, from running in the shoe-melting heat of Death Valley to the lung-freezing cold of the South Pole. He’s raced and competed across the globe and once ran 50 marathons, in 50 states, in 50 consecutive days.
In A Runner’s High, Karnazes chronicles his return to the Western States 100-Mile Endurance Run in his mid-fifties after first completing the race decades ago. The Western States, infamous for its rugged terrain and extreme temperatures, becomes the most demanding competition of his life, a physical and emotional reckoning and a battle to stay true to one’s purpose. Confronting his age, wearying body, career path, and life choices, we see Karnazes as we never have before, raw and exposed. A Runner’s High is both an endorphin-fuelled page-turner and a love letter to the sport from one of its most celebrated ambassadors.
In conclusion of How to get runner’s high, runner’s high is an exhilarating and transformative experience that can make running more enjoyable and rewarding. While not everyone experiences it, there are ways to increase your chances of achieving it, such as focusing on your breathing, finding your pace, setting small goals, and embracing discomfort.
However, it’s important to remember that runner’s high is not the only goal of running. Running can provide many physical and mental benefits, such as improved cardiovascular health, increased endurance, and reduced stress levels. So even if you don’t experience runner’s high, there are still plenty of reasons to lace up your shoes and hit the pavement.
Ultimately, the key to achieving runner’s high and sustaining it is to stay consistent, listen to your body, and enjoy the process. By doing so, you can experience the full range of benefits that running has to offer and make it a lifelong habit.