Weekly Check In: Thoughts on Runner’s High

View of Stillwater Dam from today’s run.

I’m signed up to do two different races this May, the infamous Broad Street Run in Philly on May 7th, and a Tough Mudder outside Coatesville the weekend of the 20th.  Because of this, I’ve been spending quite a bit of time, especially on the weekends, going on lengthier runs then I’ve ever attempted in the past.

Historically, I’ve never enjoyed running,  in say, the ways that I enjoy hiking or cross-country skiing. I’ve always viewed it as a means to an ends, and chalked up my 2-3 2-3 miles a week to vanity, much more then actual enjoyment, or even the health benefits. A few years back, I sort of revamped the ways in which I worked out, trading 1.5 lifting sessions, and 45 minute runs, to spending far less time working out, and more time maximizing my time at the gym. I’ve seen a difference too, and while I am no where near ripped, I definitely have toned up, have more energy, and am probably in the best shape I’ve ever been in (#humblebrag).  I more or less found a way to circumvent the process of running, in ways that I find enjoyable.

However, with these 10 and 12 mile races looming, I just feel like I can’t jump rope my way to tackling 10 miles in a timely fashion, and so have started running once again, this time in 3, 4, and 5 mile segments.  I don’t hate it as much as I used to. In fact, I just completed 7 miles this morning, and really loved it, although that probably had to do with the fact that it’s one of the first nice days of spring, I was running on a particularly scenic stretch of land, and my brother, sister, and cousin, all of for this high holy day, joined me.  Typically I’m running alone, and mostly through town.

I’m only really bringing this up on this blog today, because I know a lot of people who enjoy spending their weekends running. They find that Saturday morning run energizing and rejuvenating. They plan weekends around early morning races, and spend afternoons going for longer runs. And a majority of those people, reference the runner’s high, the feeling of euphoria that running can give you, where your sore legs, and ragged breath, and whatever else is plaguing you at the moment, melts away and you are just in the moment running. I don’t think I’ve ever experienced that. I think I have had similar sensations with XC skiing, and with hiking, but never running itself. Even when it’s enjoyable, it always feels like work to me.  I know some people say you need to get that first mile, or two miles, or three miles, or even four miles in before you reach it, but after fifth mile today, when I somehow did find a rhythm, and somehow didn’t want to keel over and die, all I could concentrate was getting to the end. All I could think about was finishing. It’s leading me to conclude that maybe this whole runner’s high doesn’t exist. Maybe it’s just going to be something I don’t mind doing because it’s good for me, but don’t particularly enjoy, like eating leafy greens.

Anyhow, thoughts? Suggestions?

Or maybe I should just stop over analyzing, and be thankful that this morning’s long run helped me rationalize a personal pizza and Moscow mule for lunch.

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