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Reaching Runner’s High – The Hurdle Before Euphoria

You can feel every muscle fiber, your pulse is thumping, your circulation is at full speed. But you can't stop now. You keep going further, further. And suddenly it happens. Your fatigue disappears. A wave of energy washes over you and grows with every step you take. Your legs fly over the ground. Whether you’re running on damp forest soil or gray asphalt: a runner’s high makes you feel like a superhero.


When most runners, whether recreational athletes or ultra-marathon masters, talk about runner’s high, they usually say something like:


“Effortless running ... Your head is completely free from thoughts.”

“You’re literally running by yourself and enjoy every moment of the activity.”

“It’s too bad that happy feeling doesn't last forever.”

“My run was really easy once I got into that euphoric state.”

So, it feels good. But is it a tingling sensation? A state of mental clarity? Maybe even inner peace? The reward while running is like a rush – a feeling of pure euphoria. A runner’s high releases new energy reserves. The intensity and duration of the high can't be measured precisely and depend on the situation and type of runner.



Your own performance limit stands between you and that elusive runner's high. And it’s a challenging hurdle to overcome, a difficult barrier to break. It requires mental fortitude and a certain amount of confidence in yourself.


Run five kilometers, 10 kilometers, 15 kilometers and beyond. Go until your muscles and your bones start to feel strained from the effort. But now is the time to persevere*. It is exactly when you start to experience these symptoms that you should keep pushing. This way, you’re more likely to enjoy a runner’s high.


Suddenly, your tired legs become light and running almost feels like floating. It's a rewarding experience for any runner. After the extended effort, your perception changes. And once it captivates you, it will never let you go. You'll want to chase the feeling again and again.



What does the science say?


The research is surprisingly divided over the exact cause of runner's high, despite it being a phenomenon that millions of people experience while running.


Endorphins were thought to be the trigger for runner's high for a long time. Endorphins produced in the brain are released when you exercise. More endorphins are released when you are exposed to prolonged endurance exercise. Chemically, they are similar to opiates and can cause numbness and mental states of intoxication.


According to the theory, your brain is no longer able to supply sufficient oxygen during prolonged endurance exercise. So it puts all of the less-needed brain areas into sleep mode to save power and oxygen. The prefrontal cortex, which is responsible for more complex cognitive processes, is practically running on low during a runner's high. Your head is clear, and your feet run automatically.


Recent research results show, however, that endorphins don't cross the so-called blood-brain barrier. That's why various tests with mice suggest endocannabinoids actually cause runner's high. Your body has been proven to produce these cannabis-like substances while running. The current science leans more towards the theory of endocannabinoids, although belief in endorphins as the cause remains widespread among runners.


In any case, our bodies are designed for this natural intoxication at the biochemical level. Unleash that energy on your next run.



How can you experience runner's high?


You have to force a runner's high to some extent. So be patient. Different runners have different thresholds to cross before they experience runner's high. You will probably test your physical and mental limits or even overcome them on the way. Running longer distances increases the chances of reaching a state of euphoria. Although that feeling of intoxication can sometimes already set in on shorter distances, regular training increases your chances of experiencing it many times over. That said, there are a few simple tricks that can help you set the stage for a runner's high.


Take Your Time

Start your run slowly and give your muscles enough time to warm up.


Find New Routes

Take unfamiliar routes such as a forest path or dirt road, away from urban stimulation and distraction. 


Do Short Intervals

Add unusual movement sequences, such as fast sprints or flights of stairs, to your training. 


Make it Musical

Not everyone likes music while running. But it can help you find a steady rhythm and keep pushing.



Whether you run a 10 km, half marathon or marathon – a runner’s high is your personal reward for the discipline of daring to do. No shoe in the world can really accomplish this for you, but the Cloudflow? Well, we call it the shortcut to runner’s high for a reason. Big on cushioning, low on weight, it’s engineered for speed and comfort. Designed to feel more like a sock than a performance running shoe, it's so comfortable you can wear it right out of the box. 


The New Cloudflow
The second-generation of the podium-topping, record-breaking shoe loved by elite athletes. Now refined with their input and enhanced with Helion™ superfoam for the smoothest of rides, softest of landings and most explosive of take offs.


*Note: Your health should always be your top priority. Never push your body so much that you endanger yourself or risk injury when running.


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