If you're new to Cycling-Through, please take a second and read some of the "Posts of note" in the list to the right. Then, if you see others that you appreciate enough to recommend for that list, let me know.
Also, please feel free to comment - even anonymously if you must.
Thanks for reading!

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Runner's High

My Motto - on the sign.

It's been a while since I hit that stage they call the "Runner's High." My experiences with the runner's high have been minimal and not nearly so impressive as some may infer. If you run 3 or 4 miles and say you have experienced the runner's high - you didn't. Your food just finally settled out into your intestines, or the tylenol you forgot you took finally kicked in.

I ran a little over 10.5 miles this morning while my wife was at an "event" at her chiropractor. (Read "marketing gimmic." I refuse to buy in, but that's a whole'nother topic) About 7 miles into the run, all of the pain went away - almost as a wave. I picked up the pace a little bit, and enjoyed several minutes of flying. I landed some time later and the pain returned, but not completely, prompting me to add 2.5 miles to the 8 I had intended.

About half trails and half sidewalks.

I found this article in the New York Times regarding what they dub the "Runner's High"
It said in part...

The data showed that, indeed, endorphins were produced during running and were attaching themselves to areas of the brain associated with emotions, in particular the limbic and prefrontal areas.

The limbic and prefrontal areas, Dr. Boecker said, are activated when people are involved in romantic love affairs or, he said, “when you hear music that gives you a chill of euphoria, like Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No. 3.” The greater the euphoria the runners reported, the more endorphins in their brain.

“Some people have these really extreme experiences with very long or intensive training,” said Dr. Boecker, a casual runner and cyclist, who said he feels completely relaxed and his head is clearer after a run.

That was also what happened to the study subjects, he said: “You could really see the difference after two hours of running. You could see it in their faces.”

OK, well that's fine, but then that is also the New York Times - not exactly the "Go To" source for athletic knowledge.

I also checked out Runner's World, a much more legitmate source for this type of information and found Amy Burfoot (interesting name for a runner) with the following to say...

"Recently, I added up my lifetime running miles, and found that I'm hovering around 108,000. That distant October turned out to have been my only serious encounter with runner's high. It might have been vivid, but it hasn't happened again. By my math, this means I have experienced the rush on .00185 percent of all my miles. Or, to put it another way, I get high on one out of every 21,600 workouts. Not very impressive."

Her take on it is more like I see it. The balance of the NYT article focused much on a "high" that came after an athletic achievement. I agree it feels great to have 10.5 miles behind me, and my attitude is almost without exception 100% better about EVERYTHING following intense exercise (For example, I spent 2 hours shopping afterward at KHOLS with my wife wearing my sweaty clothes and didn't complain once)(Um - that was me in my sweaty clothes not her in my sweaty clothes - I reworked that sentence a few times and figured a disclaimer was the best I could do). But, that is not runner's high. That is just one of the unsolicited rewards my wife gets for letting me do stuff like that ;).

A true "runner's high," I may never really achieve, and the few minutes of floating that I gained this afternoon was not worth the other hour of hard work. That's not why I run. But that's also a whole'nother story.

Runner's high or not, it was a great run, and may only have been improved upon if the sun had been out to help tan these pasty white arms and legs suffering from a long wet winter.

1 comment:

  1. Well!!! After reading thoe explanations of a runner's high, I prefer to stay disillusioned. I guess if feeling as if I were gliding over the ground is not a runner's high, then I just don't want to know any different. Let me alone in my disillusionment, for what I remember was high enough for me. Would love to run again......