How to enjoy that elusive runner’s high
How to feel the true joy of the run
MOST of us have heard tales of the ‘runner’s high’, a feeling of euphoria that develops in the middle of a run. Beginners might find the idea hard to believe – it’s common for new runners to push themselves too hard, which stresses the body in a negative way and so leaves running joy far out of reach. However, it’s a fact that exercise stimulates the production of endorphins, mood-boosting brain chemicals. A few tweaks to your routine can help you feel the good vibes.
Make your run an escape from stress instead of one more thing that adds to the pressure. Many runners find the morning to be the best time to fit in the miles, before other obligations demand attention. But if you fret about the day to come during early runs, try going later. Find your most peaceful time to go running and stick to it.
It’s hard to feel good when you’re really huffing and puffing. Ease into each run to allow your body and mind to warm up, and take walk breaks to keep your effort level steady and to prevent aches and fatigue.
Every mile or so, assess your form: keep your posture upright and your footfalls light, and shake out any tension in your neck and shoulders. It’s also wise to repeat a mantra such as ‘I feel good’, whether or not you actually do. The body follows the mind, so negative thinking will dampen your enjoyment.
TUNE IN, OR OUT
Some runners have a better experience when they focus on their breathing and their surroundings. Others prefer to daydream or listen to music. You should do whatever helps you maintain a positive attitude throughout your run. (But if you do wear headphones, keep the volume low to stay alert to your surroundings.)
A comfortable pace is key for a feelgood run. Beautiful scenery helps, too.