serious running: trail running, races, shoe reviews

Posts Tagged ‘Endorphin’

What is a Runner’s High?

Monday, April 12th, 2010


Most trail runners have experienced it, some run just to attain it, while others have no idea what a “Runner’s High” is.  If you are a trail runner and have never experienced a Runner’s High then you need to run faster, push your body harder, and attain the point where you lose conscientiousness of what your body is feeling.

A Runner’s High can be described as an elevation of the senses while running, typically long distances and in a natural environment.  It is difficult for trail runners to describe the exact feeling (much like drug users) they get from a Runner’s High, but many equate it to the feeling of an orgasm.  Another good reason to go trail running.

Technically, a Runner’s High is associated with the release of endorphins in the brain.  Endorphins are any group of opiate proteins with pain-relieving properties that are found naturally in the brain.  The word endorphins comes from two parts: endo- and -orphin; which are short forms of the words endogenous and morphine, intended to mean “a morphine like substance originating from within the body.”  Knowing that human cells have receptors for this drug suggests that the body produces its own morphine like substances which it is believed can be released into the body by running long distances and gives trail runners the feeling of a Runner’s High.

While it is difficult to quantify exactly what feeling different trail runners get from this release of endorphins, it is agreed that there is a definite mood change.  The difference in Runners’ Highs can be a positive or negative one with differing levels of intensity.  Maybe that is why many trail runners become so Serious about Running, because they are the type of runners that get this intense positive feedback from running.

Whatever the science is and however your brain reacts to trail running, one thing is certain, there is a typical emotional feeling derived from trail running.  Everyone records their feelings differently but there is always a point during a trail run that your body changes.  So go out for a long trail run, and push to attain a close connection between your mind and body.  Let your mind take over while your feet are still moving, one in front of the other, and you are only aware of one thing…yourself.  Trail running is a free self-awareness seminar!

So say no to drugs and help keep the kids stay off the streets.  Get them running on the trails instead and let’s get hiiiiiiiigh together….on Trail Running.

Get High Off of the Environment

Wednesday, January 28th, 2009

runners-high-enviroment1Since we have cleaned up the environment around us by picking up trash and repairing trail runs, what do we do with the environment now?  I mean, we can run in the middle of it, but what else is an environment good for?  Well, it has been hypothesized that you can get high off of nature.  No.  Not what you are thinking.  In the extensive studying of the Runner’s High, many have found that the environment plays an important role in attaining this euphoric state.  A Runner’s High can be described as an elevation of the senses while running, typically while running long distances.  It is difficult for runners to describe the exact feeling (much like drug users) they get from a Runner’s High, but many equate it to the feeling of an orgasm.  Humph.  Well there you go.  The physical explanation of  a Runner’s High is that it is the release of endorphins to the brain.

Runner’s have described attaining a feeling of invincibility and superior performance by their environmental surroundings while running, leading to a Runner’s High.  Consider this, while out on a long run, alone and the only other thing around you is Ms Nature, you connect with her more deeply.  You are more aware.  This deep connection allows your senses to be greatly enhanced, making you more in tune with your body and what it is feeling.  As you become more aware of yourself, you begin for feel the euphoric state of a Runner’s High.  It is almost as if you can feel each extra endorphin, above the normal levels, being released to your brain and then the feeling of your brain receiving them.  Well, almost is the key word here.  Although I am pretty in tune with my body, I’m not sure if I have made it to the level of feeling individual endorphins yet, hopefully, someday.  I bet David Blane feels individual endorphins.   I assume Chuck Norris can feel them too.

The role the environment plays in attaining a Runner’s High does make sense when you think about it.  For instance, when it is more sunny out you are more likely to be happy and enjoy yourself, moving your mood closer to attaining the Runner’s High.  Compare that to a day that is dark, cloudy, and cold and you are running an unknown routes.  You are not as open to the environment.  You are not open to anything other than getting to your final destination and out of the weather.  You are not appreciating what your environment has to offer.  Go trail running!

That actually brings up another great point for the runner’s life.  Enjoy where you are (and love the one you’ve got for that matter).  If it is cold and raining outside when you go for your run, appreciate it.  How often is it that you get to just be outside in the rain?  Usually you are cramped in an office or curled up on the couch dreading leaving it when it is cold and rainy outside.  You never get time to enjoy the moisture in the air.  Remember when you were a child and it rained, you loved it, you played in it.  Love it again.  Stop blaming it on the rain, no matter what you do, go ahead and put that blame back on you.  You are the only one that can decide how you feel about your environment.  Appreciate where you are.

Cold weather, I still don’t appreciate it.  I’m working on it.  The problem is that the colder it gets the more clothes I put on, so I really never get to feel the cold for it’s most important attribute, being cold.  Maybe I should start dressing down.