Runner's high

Discussion in 'Barefoot & Minimalist Running' started by nisto, Mar 24, 2014.

  1. nisto Barefooters
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    It might have been discussed earlier, but I couldn't find anything, so I'll ask: if runner's high is connected with the release of endorphins, and endorphins are being released at a higher rate when you run barefoot (because of the sensory feedback sometimes bordering on pain), does that mean that bf runners get runner's high easier and quicker? Or is my logic fatally flawed?

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  2. Sly Barefooters
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    barefoot is the most high !

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  3. Longboard Chapter Presidents
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    Many people report an increased feeling of well being just from being barefoot outdoors without any running or increase in heart rate as in slow walking or just hanging out.
    Far from painful, the sensations of being barefoot outdoors are considered pleasurable to many people as long as they haven't been too crippled by continuous shoe wearing.
    Probably with barefoot running the endorphin release from exercise is combined with the other good feelings of being barefoot and the result is higher than classic runner's high.

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  4. nisto Barefooters
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    You make sense, Longboard, and I do agree (the best part of spring has been walking barefoot again). I don't find walking barefoot painful. But I sometimes find that running on gravel somehow heightens the feeling of euphoria afterwards. As if the slight pain has made my body produce endorphins at an higher rate, and quicker.

    Perhaps I'm getting runner's high mixed up with relief...

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  5. Longboard Chapter Presidents
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    Brain chemicals are so complex and we hardly understand them at all......but more is learned every year at a rapid pace.
    It would be really cool for someone to do a functional MRI study with different textures and temps in the unit for the subjects soles to contact and watch how the oxygen uptake is distributed in the different parts of the brain.

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  6. mokaman Chapter Presidents
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    I like doing long trail runs in a light rain...by my experiences this seems bring on a more noticable and enjoyable runners high...could be just the surroundings...don't why that happens though.

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  7. Barefoot TJ Administrator
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    The two times when I experienced runner's high (along with a second wind), I was barefoot. There was one time when I got a second wind (no runner's high) when I was shod in foot coffins.

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  8. dharmadan Barefooters
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    OhmyGoddess, YES! BFR, for me, has been so beyond decades of shod running!

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  9. migangelo Barefooters
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    moka, funny cuz i love bf trail running in heavy rains. it's the best.

    i got my most notable high on my "first" bf run. sandals don't work in mud. read it. didn't believe it. loved it. never felt so great.

    i did a race in the summer and lady told me i was the only person smiling. i told her it's cuz i wasn't wearing shoes. she dropped her jaw, even though she was taking crotch shots of me, and i don't think she breathed for about five minutes.

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  10. peter.robinson Barefooters
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    Runner's high? I have no idea what that feels like. I've only ever equated running with hard work. I'm not really a runner but have tried it on and off over the years, never enjoying it at all.
    Having recently done a lot of hiking I've found I seem to enjoy a bit of trail running and getting even closer to nature by going barefoot seemed to be the right thing to do. One day I'll get there and, who knows, maybe I'll find out what it feels like to run effortlessly.
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  11. Longboard Chapter Presidents
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    Ken Bob Saxton used to hate running!

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  12. skedaddle Barefooters
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    I think a runner's high is a combination of multiple sensory feedback, chemical changes and a notion of past experiences all focused on a narrow point in time.
    Much like the perfect storm the ingredients have to be right and i suspect will differ from person to person.

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  13. Scratch Barefooters
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    My own experience suggests that for me a runner's high comes faster and is stronger than runner's highs I experienced when running shod. I put it down to how much more stimulation occurs in the nerves of the soles of the feet and I've come to believe that it is likely for many of us, our brains are wired to expect to receive sensory information from our feet, much more information than the brain receives from feet bound up into shoes. I suspect that many people could make a real difference in how they feel simply by taking off their shoes and allowing the feet to be the sensory organs that they evolved into being for us. I thought a lot about that on Saturday when I ran and walked in a nature preserve and covered around 13 miles of distance all barefoot. I was amazed at how much information my feet got to experience -- dirt, grass, water, matted reeds, mud, snow, ice, gravel, the steel of train tracks. I got to feel my toes clutching at the earth when I walked up a particularly steep hill.

    It was a much richer walk than a similar walk I had done there a year before in boots.

    Walking and running is so much more than it used to be now. I feel fully engaged with the terrain when I'm barefoot. It saddens me to think I've missed out on 40 years of a complete experiences. But, I'm planning to go forward with hopefully at least 40 years of full barefoot exploration of the terrain of the world around me.

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  14. TMo Barefooters
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    Until I slowed down, and learned to appreciate the textures, and the surroundings I also felt it was just hard work. Now I find I am anxious to go out. The key is to not make it hard. Slow down and enjoy your run. The speed will come, and you won't quit because you are miserable.

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  15. TMo Barefooters
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    I have experienced second winds before, but I never got the runners high till I slowed down and went barefoot. I just enjoy it more, and I guess that is because of the endorphins.

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  16. NickW Guest

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    Hmmm, this is all very interesting. I am not sure if I have ever experienced a true runners high, although I know I get way more pleasure barefoot or in sandals than I do shod in clunky shoes. Like Moka and Mike, I too love running in the rain, be it light or heavy rain (although I prefer running in my sandals). I love running through flooded areas. Seems the stimulation of the water just seems to cause me to have a smile on my face that stretches from ear to ear and doesn't seem to end. I see a lot of shod people look miserable and I'm out there laughing and carrying on like a crazed person.
  17. Bare Lee Chapter Presidents
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    Whenever I get the runner's high, I get paranoid that everybody knows I'm running.

    Butt seriously, I agree, barefoot enhances the stimulation, and therefore probability of endorphin release. Besides the stimulants already mentioned, like rain and trails, cold surfaces and even some numbness can be highly intoxicating, especially when you're close to threshold and not sure how long you're good for. If I could learn to run in snow I'd be in heaven.

    Of course, isolation from sensory stimulation has the opposite effect: insanity.

    Don't forget the runner's high companion in fitness: the lifter's pump.

    Also, sprinting is extremely exhilarating. You're cheating yourself if you just run aerobic all the time.

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  18. Longboard Chapter Presidents
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    This past Friday I ran outside and was able to fully enjoy the experience despite the thirty degree F temps.
    This was because not only were the winds well below 10 knots, but also the sun drenched surfaces I encountered included many different textures of concrete, several types of brick pavers, a multitude of variations on the Tarmac concept, and a few different grades of gravel.
    Having even the relatively calm wind blocked by the downtown buildings which happened to be on the sunny side of the street made it even more perfect.
    O.K., so in addition to that I've learned to enjoy the other's looks and comments rather than let them deter me, but it all added up to a great work out.
    Here we are four days later with snow squalls throughout the entire day, very little sun, and plenty of chilly wind.
    And according to the forecast we will break the all time record for the day with a low of 8 degrees F predicted.
    After I left the office I couldn't drag myself to the gym treadmill, so I'm making up for it right now as I type this on my gravel trays.
    Sure, it works more than just my soles and muscles of the feet, the calves as well as soleus's get really toned in the process.
    So despite no elevation in heart rate much beyond resting,
    I'm feeling really great 40 minutes now into the one hour training exercise.
    It can't be due to "grounding", as my gravel is contained in plastic boot trays sitting on carpet which is covering a wooden sub-floor over a crawl space. Can't get much more insulated than that!
    Of course there's always the possibility that the feeling of well being was promoted when I heard on the radio a bit ago that Bell's production of this Spring's Oberon has been released for sale to consumers, but I still attribute it to the stimulation of the soles.
    I'll check back after the hour is up and I tap into an Ultra, but I'm guessing that the power of extreme lower extremity stimulation is the secret.

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  19. Sid Barefooters

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    Just wondering what a runner's high is supposed to feel like.

    In general, whenever I engage in physical activity, I get an overall improved sense of wellbeing and improved alertness. I wouldn't say that I feel high, or get a buzz, or feel intoxicated.

    Am I missing out on something?
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  20. dharmadan Barefooters
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    This is anecdotal, but in the '80s, a friend told me only about 1/3rd of runners experience the high -- and those who do tend to be shorter and/or ectomorphs. (I and many people I know who do are either or both of these, FWIW.)

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