Runner’s High: Feeling of euphoria

Abhi Khandelwal
4 min readJun 13, 2021


Some people considered Running as a “drug of choice

What’s Runner’s High ?

When you start out on your run, your body goes through a transition: Your breathing may become heavy, and you might notice your pulse quicken as the heart pumps harder to move oxygenated blood to your muscles and brain and felt like you could keep going a few more miles, but as you hit your stride, your body releases chemicals and that deeply euphoric state identifies as “Runner’s high”.
Euphoria is a sense of extreme joy or pleasant feeling of accomplishment.

A runner’s high isn’t the only possible benefit of running or exercising. Indeed, there are several other physical benefits caused by the chemicals released when you’re running, but they’re not all related to your cardiovascular system.

What’s going inside our body and brain — During a long run

“Exercise gives you endorphins and endorphins make you happy”

Any exercise can release endorphins and make you feel good but RUNNER’S HIGH take this feeling to a whole other level.

For decades, it was believed that runner’s high caused by only endorphins, but few researcher’s aren’t convinced that endorphins should get all the credits for runner’s high, though endorphins help prevent muscles from feeling pain, it is unlikely that endorphins in the blood contribute to a euphoric feeling, or any mood change at all.
Endorphins are one of those molecules that can’t cross over to your brain because of their size in comparison to other molecules, this means endorphins can’t be individually responsible for “runner’s high”.
While running your body also releases a group of chemical in your body that act like the compounds in marijuana that causes a high called as anandamide(an endocannabinoid). These molecules are small enough to cross the blood-brain barrier

Endocannabinoids interact with the brain in a same behaviour as marijuana does, but difference is your body naturally producing its own chemical that acts as a drug to counterpart the pain and the stress while running. They’re responsible for reducing pain sensitivity and anxiety.

I don’t have to smoke a pot to have a good tune, but I can always run to be in a good tune.

Endocannabinoids aren’t just about not worrying and being happy; they are also about feeling close to others. Higher levels of them increase the pleasure you derive from being around other people.

How to get Runner’s high ?

  1. There are no shortcuts to runners high.
    As previously stated that the chemical behind runner’s high is produced from physical discomfort, So you need to leave your bed/chair.
  2. Your body needs a fuel.
    You need to be fully hydrated and I would suggest take a small pre-run meal like soaked almonds/raisins and 1 banana.
  3. Avoid Injuries.
    It’s true that runner’s high won’t achieve at lower intensity, but it doesn’t mean all of your runs should be intensely painful. Initial ones should be lighter otherwise it may results to muscles injury or cardiac arrest instead of runner’s high.
  4. Consistency is a key
    It’s not a one day play, you wanna start at a steady pace and slowly move faster. Aim to cover a long distance instead of focusing on time period.
    Your breath should be fast, but can still carry a conversation with your training buddy.
  5. Still not there? Push it a little bit
    Don’t expect to achieve runner’s high on your first week, your body needs some time to adapt. More miles under your belt, the more likely you are to feel it.

I personally co-relate this practice by a “law of kinetic friction”
As we increase the applied force slightly beyond limiting friction, the actual motion starts. This does not mean that the friction has disappeared. It only means that the force has overcome the limiting friction. This force of friction at this stage is known as Kinetic friction.
applied force —
body pain
limiting friction — sweet spot where you just start feeling runner’s high
kinetic friction — when you finally get runner’s high

I hope that you find this article useful and informative, stay tuned for next time.