Signs I’m Having a Runner’s High

I’ve had approximately 4 runner’s highs in my entire running life (about 8 years). That’s a pretty low rate – an average of one every two years! So it takes me a while to recognize one. Here are some signs I noted today:

1. Unaccountable happiness with life/smugness. As in, “Wow, this is the best running song ever! I’m so smart to have put this on my running playlist!” (Today’s best running song ever was One Night in Bangkok, for the curious…children of the 80s represent!)

2. Feeling like I could run all day and all night. Suddenly everything feels good and I feel like I could just keep running forever. This is NOT the time to make decisions at forks in the road where turning left is the standard 3.5 mile run and turning right is a 7 mile run. I tell you this from experience, for a runner’s high won’t last 7 miles.

3. Goosebumps. I notice them on my arms first, and usually I think, “That’s weird, I’m sure I’m not cold…”. I think they’re a result of a chemical reaction that’s causing the runner’s high. Adrenaline or endorphins or something. My whole body will be covered with them eventually.

Most of the stuff I’ve read on the internet about runner’s highs talk about a state that runners feel after running. I’ve never, ever gotten such a thing. Usually after finishing a run I feel a) hot, b) sweaty and c) tired. A little pleased that I did it (good girl – go me!) but not high. No, my elusive runner’s high happens while I’m running and it makes my workout AMAZING. I feel orgasmically good – running feels like the greatest thing I could ever do with my body and everything just clicks. Sometimes I get such a rush that I sprint for a while, because working hard feels SO GOOD!!

Usually it wears off after a few minutes – once I got a good 20 minutes or so out of it. And then I’m just running like normal and a little more exhausted than usual because I worked extra hard.

They’re so rare that if I was, as several articles have suggested, running because of the pay-off of a runner’s high, I would have quit long ago. I run for me, but a few minutes of euphoria is a fabulous bonus, once in a while!

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5 Responses to “Signs I’m Having a Runner’s High”

  1. snapshotstacy Says:

    Devil Inside by INXS (of course) is my ultimate running song. I found that it’s pace matches me PERFECTLY! I got a little giddy. ;-D

    • Laina Says:

      It’s funny – for me it’s whatever is on when my runner’s high starts, I think “Wow, this song is AMAZING to run to, how come I never noticed before how perfect it is to…hey, wait a minute, I’m never this enthusiastic when I’m running, I’m about to experience a runners high!”
      It’s like, if I suddenly start thinking whatever is on is amazing, it’s an early indicator…

  2. Trystan Says:

    Almost 4 years of running, incld. 10ks, never a high. After the 1st 10k, I felt “wow, omg, can’t believe I did that!” but otherwise, it was all work. Work, work, work. Occasionally meditative & in a groove, but always work. Not enough positive feedback to keep it up (also, injuries, ugh!).

  3. Jessica Says:

    I started back at the beginning of your blog yesterday, and this is as far as I’ve gotten. I am currently on the HMR decision free diet. I am wondering how you started running. I would think you probably weren’t running at 400lbs., so, at what point did you decide to start running? and how long did it take for you to reach the running milestones? a mile? an hour of non-stop running?

    Also, I am amazed at your commitment. I hope to take such an earnest approach to maintenance some day. Thanks for blogging

    • Laina Says:

      Hi Jessica,
      Congrats on doing the HMR dieat, that’s a great program! You’re right, I didn’t start running until I was almost at my goal weight, because I couldn’t seem to lose the last 20-ish pounds I wanted to, so I think I was around 190-200 when I started. I’ve gained in the past and ran all the way up to about 225.
      I started out the very first time I ever went running just running around the block, I think it was 15 or 20 minutes, and went REALLY slowly.I was pretty sore after that so I took a day or two off then next time I added another block, and each time I’d try to add a little distance, never going particularly fast -speed has never been my goal, burning calories and gaining endurance has always been more important to me. I got to a mile pretty quickly, and I entered my first 5k after about 3 months. My only goal in that race was to complete the whole thing without walking, and I did, but again – I run very slowly!
      Good luck, I’m very excited for you, please keep me posted on your progress!


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