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Observations placeholder

Dunlap, Scott - The runner's high



Type of Spiritual Experience


The following is from the following Internet site


which may no longer be available.  It was Scott Dunlap's blog of trail running, ultra running, and triathlon racing in the Western United States. Scott was the 2004 Overall Champion for the Trail Runner Magazine Trophy Series (marathon-and-shorter division), the largest trail running series in the world. This blog contained interviews, research, original fiction, new product ideas, and all things trail running….

A description of the experience

Scott Dunlap January 2008

I’m a big fan of the runner’s high. For me, the euphoric feeling is unmistakable (and usually around mile 8), which is why I’ve always been confused by coaches and medical experts saying that the “runner’s high doesn’t exist”. If that’s true, then why are we all as giddy as school girls after our weekly long run?  …….For those of you unfamiliar with the runner’s high, I would encourage you to seek it out as part of your training. It’s a mental state of relaxation partnered with a mild pain cessation that occurs after 60-90 minutes of steady exercise. I find it truly euphoric, setting me in a state of eternal optimism that can last hours after a run. It’s not exactly a “drunk” effect, although it does make it a bit more difficult to remember to eat/drink/take the next turn … I would equate it to two Red Bulls and vodka, three ibuprofen, plus a $50 winning Lotto ticket in your pocket

I didn’t experience the runner’s high until about 5-6 long runs.  The first time you experience the runner’s high, it can be a bit alarming. At first it feels like that mild head rush I associate with going anaerobic, but instead of fading, it builds over the next 5-10 minutes.   I noticed that when I hit this state, my tempo runs became very even, even though I was spending more time looking around than looking at my watch. Everything had a natural rhythm to it - my footsteps, the sound of the wind running past my ears...even the trees and hills around me seemed to flow together. It was a wonderful meditative state. Before I knew it, I was longing to run 8-10 miles every day to “break on through to the other side” to find that familiar state. Hello, addiction!”

The source of the experience

Dunlap, Scott

Concepts, symbols and science items



Science Items

Activities and commonsteps



Frenetic exercise