Friday, October 1, 2010

Running for Sanity

It has been raining so much this week.  Today I decided I had to chance getting caught in it when I noticed it seemed to be holding off.  With a 5k Sunday and the half marathon next Saturday, I'd kick myself if I ended up injuring myself IN race because I hadn't kept up my running.  I got a little wet, but nothing too terrible.  I've got a bit of a shin splint in my right leg, but it felt good to get back out on the road.  It's weird to say this - mainly because I have years of "I hate running" buried in my head - but I like running.

When you're out on the road, trail, sidewalk, or wherever, it's such a freeing feeling.  You can go anywhere and if you're conditioned and not pushing yourself too hard, you feel like you can go forever.  At first you get out there and your hamstrings are tight, your calves may burn a little, maybe there's a pain in your hip or shin and you start thinking "maybe it'd be best if I just cut short today, save myself from getting injured."  But when you know how your body works and you push through that first mile of minor pain, force yourself to lengthen that stride a bit to stretch your legs, and you find that rhythm, the pace that makes you feel like there's no effort needed, you feel free.  I don't know if it's more of a physical feeling (endorphins, adrenaline) or mental (feeling good about being in shape), but I love it. 

Let me know how you guys are doing with any of your fitness/wellness endeavors!  I would love to hear about it.



易钧 said...

how do endorphins and adrenaline work in helping you feel "no effort needed"?

易钧 said...

*I believe you know who that "易钧" is, right?
just a doublecheck in case I forgot to write L.Z. in the end like the one above, and will for sure happens a lot.

wojo said...

Yes L.Z., I know who you are. Anyways, endorphins are endogenous opioids, which essentially work as natural pain killers. Adrenaline is epinephrine and works in much the same way, decreases your pain sensation, increases all of your other senses, and boosts your energy (fight or flight response).

The "no effort needed" feeling comes mainly from previous conditioning - your body learning to more efficiently use energy stores and to not fatigue too fast. The chemicals simply augment that feeling and then work in some people more than others to give you a happy feeling. For example, "runner's high" in my mind is most likely an adrenaline and endorphin rush and people can become addicted to it.

易钧 said...

Yes I know the role of E in "Fight or Flight", but isn't it (as well as NE) supposed to increase alertness and excitement(tensity) as well as more heart output and energy produce(to get prepared for the stress/danger) etc? How can these help with giving you the "runner's high" feeling which more a "relax"-like effect?

Another thing I'm curious about is how long can hormone/neurotransmitter(only)'s effect last to keep you high?

wojo said...

You'd have to define this "relaxed" state for yourself. A lot of people would describe sitting around in a comfortable chair reading a book while others would say they're relaxed when they're out playing sports. If anyone was placed in front of a live bear, yeah, we'd all get a very quick adrenaline rush that would skyrocket our heart rate, blood pressure, adrenaline production, and energy output for a short time while we mentally race to figure out what to do. However, if I go out and run a 5k, the body does the exact same thing - pumps out adrenaline and endorphins but without the mental state of facing a bear. Many people (myself included) enjoy that rush of adrenaline and find it a preferred state of being, our "relaxed" state.