April 28, 2023

What is Runner’s High?

Ever wondered why so many people LOVE to run? Well, there’s a pretty simple answer – runner’s high! But what actually is it and how do you get it?

We’ve called in some help from the experts so that we can actually understand this feeling and be enlightened into why so many people choose to run. Here’s what Jaclyn Murphy, Head of Exercise Physiology and Alana Murrihy, Senior Physiotherapist from Upwell Health Collective had to say about Runner’s High.


The runner’s high is shorthand for the range of changes that occur within the body. It is the sense of euphoria that we experience when there is a sudden increase in the flow of endorphins and feel good chemicals. It happens so quickly after running in particular due to the flooding type release of these hormones.

The reason why this occurs with running is due to the nature of running, often it is prolonged stress on the body – however this can still be achieved with a short, sharp high intensity workouts, like a treadmill interval session.

The runner’s high also contributes to a positive feedback loop the more you get the runner’s high and feel good, the more you want the runner’s high and the more motivation you have to run.


The runner’s high is generally achieved from increasing the overall stress on the body by pushing yourself that little bit harder on your next run or by finishing your run off with a hard push towards the end you will increase the likelihood that you will experience a runner’s high.

When it comes to experiencing runner’s high as little as 5 minutes of anaerobic or high intensity exercise can have significant mood boosting effects. That means whether you’re taking on a 10 minute Treadmill session with Laura or one of the runs from the KICRUN program, you’ll be well on your way to achieve the runner’s high!

In addition to this running also gives you the opportunity to zone out from your day to day life and enjoy just being able to run.


You’ll be glad to know that there are some great side effects from experiencing the runner’s high.

When a person experiences runner’s high, there is often a decrease in anxiety and some improvements with depression can also be noticed. Moreover, it can lead to increased concentration, memory, clarity and reduced brain fog. Plus, for anyone experiencing pain, the runner’s high can help to reduce the intensity of pain signals and improve overall feelings of wellness and wellbeing.

These by-products are all thanks to your body’s sense of wellbeing increasing and the impact of stress on the body decreasing from the release of endorphins and endocannabinoids after you run!

What are endorphins and endocannabinoids?

Endorphins are a group of chemicals produced by the body, that carry signals from one nerve cell to another and are produced by the pituitary gland and released into the bloodstream when we are stressed or our bodies are placed under stress with an activity, like running. Endorphins, increase feelings of pleasure, euphoria, wellness and reduce pain, the word itself says endogenous morphine – essentially morphine produced in the body itself.

Endocannabinoids on the other hand, are new players to this game and have come to light more recently. Unlike endorphins, endocannabinoids are able to cross the blood-brain barrier (endorphins remain in the bloodstream), and activate cannabinoid (yes, like cannabis) receptors throughout the body but predominantly in the brain. Endocannabinoids, like endorphins, help to regulate stress and pain signals while also impacting appetite.

If you’re keen to get running, find out which of our running offering is for you here.