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Runners High? It’s More Like Work

I’ve run off and on for about 35 years, never because I really wanted to, usually because I had to.
I had to run when I was in junior school because I played for the football team. I had to run in high school because I was in the track team. And now, I have to run because I am gaining belly fat and my metabolism has slowed to record lows.

Don’t get me wrong—I love a nice jog through my local park, especially in autumn as the colorful leaves line my path and the vibrant trees please my eyes. I find running to be much more fun when I have a partner along who is not trying to set a land speed record. I used to run with a friend in France who taught me a lot about endurance and the mental limits that we set for ourselves. He always said that the first 45 minutes of a run were agony, but after that they were pure pleasure. He’s probably one of these guys who talks about a “runners’ high”, although I don’t think that there is an equivalent term in the French language.

My friend did have a point. The agony of our runs together did seem to ease a bit after about 45 minutes, although I know that makes no logical sense. After galloping around our Parisian suburb for 60-75 minutes several times a week for months, he persuaded me to run in the half-marathon near Paris. On that memorable day, I ran for two hours, longer than I had ever run before, or have since. It was a fantastic spectacle, as only the French could pull off. There were bands every few kilometers, lots of well-wishers calling out from their windows, gorgeous scenes as we ran along the Seine and wonderful camaraderie that struck this competitive American.

Despite that wonderful experience, I’m still not sure if I believe in a runners’ high. I don’t feel a chemical rush during my runs, at the 15-minute mark, the 30-minute mark or even the hour mark (haven’t gone that far in many moons). I do, however, feel an energy kick later that day when I have run, and I sleep a lot better, too. I’ll vote for an enjoyable runners’ sleep any day, but will hold on the idea of a naturally generated high. I know that all kinds of great chemicals are released into your brain when you exercise vigorously, and I also know that I am in a much better mood when I run (just ask my wife), but I still don’t get high. Running for me has always been more of an obligation, not a pleasure.

Perhaps I’m wearing the wrong shoes. Maybe there are secret shoes that release additional chemicals into your body as you run, producing the high that veteran runners rave about. I’ll have to find out where those are and buy a pair.

New Balance has made many an awesome running shoes in its 100+ years of existence. The brand began in 1906 in Boston, when it pioneered arch supports in footwear for professionals who were always on their feet – police officers, waiters and the like. New Balance went on to boom during the running craze of the 1970s and beyond.

Like most athletic brands, it has branched out into fashionable casual footwear, and New Balance’s offerings do not disappoint. They sport the distinctive “NB” logo and throwback two-toned soles that recall life before shoes cost three figures. They also are as ultra comfortable as you would expect from a brand that began with comfort in mind. They might not get you high when you wear them, but you’ll feel like you’re walking on pillows, which is more pleasant than most shoes feel, a sort of mini-high, let’s say. Posted by for Stand Out.

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