Runner's High

The other day a friend of mine complained that he has been chasing the runner's high unsuccessfully for a little over than a year now.  I was astonished.  One of the reasons I am addicted to running and run almost every day is because of the runner's flush or short-term euphoria I experience towards the end of my run.  

At that time I feel my body and spirit separate, not only am I running faster than before - it is as if something much larger than I is running me.  For a mile, maybe two, I slip into another world.  I float inside a vacuum, where there is no time, fully aware and present of what is going on around me.  This state of elation, of profound happiness and lightness, that we just want to jump high into the air and embrace the whole world is the "drug" causing runners like me to return to the road and trails, day after day.  

Until my friend's remark, it did not occur to me that some runners do not experience these multiple bursts of highs.  At least not on a regular basis.  How do we obtain runner's high?  As it turns out, it may not be that simple.  According to Arne Dietrich, a neuroscientist in Beirut, we are more likely to experience runner's high when we run just a little slower than our 10-K race pace, also called tempo pace.  Slow down more than that, and we don't produce enough stress.  Run faster, and we get overwhelmed by the effort.  

At the right pace, scientists believe, the body releases chemicals, reducing our sensitivity to pain and causing the intense feeling of euphoria during or after the run. That being said, for me the runner's high is not a conscious effort at all, but a byproduct of a longer run.  

Could it be that not everyone experiences it? What is your experience? Feel free to drop me a line.