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The Runner’s High

People often ask me about the runner’s high when I mention I’m a marathoner. They want to know if that’s how I able to train 40+ miles a week and run 26.2 miles at a time. For so long I would say yes and talk about how fabulous it was. However, the runner in me back then and the runner in me now are two pretty different people. For me, the runner’s high that we all talk about has evolved over time. Now, I no longer dread rain or 20 degree mornings because I know there is a chance I will reach that state of euphoria. It certainly doesn’t happen all the time, but it does happen sometimes and that makes it all worth it.

This article I came across last week does a beautiful job at describing the runner’s high. Although I am not an ultra runner like Nick Mead, I’d like to think I can now relate. The 23 year old runner in me would not have had the same appreciation of Mead’s ultra experience. However, after many miles and many obstacles, I think I have a true feeling of what exactly is the runner’s high. 

Nick Mead:

Scott Jurek, the legendary ultrarunner and seven-times winner of theWestern States 100-mile run, writes in his recent autobiography Eat and Run of chasing the “zone”. He describes it as: “That instant when we think we can’t go on but do go on. We all know the way that moment feels, how rarely it occurs, and the pain we have to endure to grab it back again.

“I’m convinced a lot of people run ultramarathons for the same reason they take mood-altering drugs. The longer and farther I ran, the more I realised that what I was often chasing was a state of mind – a place where worries that seemed monumental melted away, where the beauty and timelessness of the universe, of the present moment, came into sharp focus.”

Check out the entire article here.

Happy Trails and Happy Running,

Tracie

Running Update: Today’s track workout was a warm up followed by 4x2K repeats at 6:40ish pace. My RC made me stop looking at my Garmin for the last two repeats so I wouldn’t rely on it for my pace. Luckily, I had a good feel for the pace and did fine without the watch. Race day is in a month! Stats are here.  And check out my #teemhogan bracelet – an awesome way to remember an awesome person.

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3 Comments Post a comment
  1. I hear you about the runner’s high. I am currently recovering from a lengthy period of injury so am unable to run high mileage but I have taken up Audax cycling, which is long distance cycling. When the going gets tough out there on a 200km ride (or 300km, 400km and 600km rides in future), I think back to the endorphin kick I got in my marathon last year and push through the pain of the wall to find that magical place where the high kicks in 🙂

    January 16, 2013
    • I’m sad you can run the miles you want to right now. I know it sucks but it takes the down to appreciate the ups. And that’s great you have another sport! Sometimes I question my sanity when I’m out there for hours at a time but as you said, when high kicks in, it’s like magic and totally worth every minute of it.

      Wishing you a speedy recovery!

      January 16, 2013
  2. Nothing focuses the mind like trying to complete a marathon. At some point in the race all I am thinking about is keeping going and getting to the finish. I’m not worried about work or anything. It’s just the race.
    It really is being fully present in the moment.

    January 17, 2013

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