Sunday, January 11, 2009

Running for the Runner's High - Fact of Fiction?

A couple of days ago I mentioned something about the Runner's High. There are many debates as to if the euphoric feeling of the "Runner's High" is actually fact of fiction. Scientifically I'm not too sure what is really going on in your body when this happens so I read a couple of studies on the "myth" and I finally came across a valid German study that reported it was in fact a TRUE event.

The Germans used PET scans combined with a chemical that reveals endorphins on the brain. They then compared runners' brains before and after runs. The end result was that the PET scans revealed the endorphins being created during the runs and they were attaching themselves to areas of the brain that are associated with emotions. Pretty cool.

Science aside, I believe the Runner's High to be real. I've felt it and know of other athletes who have shared the same experience. We all know that exercise in general can impact your mood and over all demeanor. Those endorphin boosts are what I love about staying active and although I get a boost pretty much every time I'm training or racing, I've only felt the "Runner's High" a couple of times. It takes the endorphin rush to a different level all together.

So, the next time you're on that long run and you feel like you could push the pace and go twice as far, pay attention to what you're feeling. You just might be high.

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