5 ways to boost your runner’s high
That elation you feel post-run? Scientists at the University of Montreal can prove why you get those feels – and it’s all down to a little hormone called leptin.
Although leptin is a key hormone in metabolism, the study suggests that it plays an important part in regulating energy balance and encouraging actions that satisfy our metabolism – that is, doing physical activity to search for food. When leptin levels get low, motivation is boosted and the runner’s high is scored!
Want more of that high? Here are five essentials for a happy run…
1 A dose of meditation
The mental benefits of meditating are big – and research shows that combining running with a meditation practice can actually help reduce the symptoms of depression. Download the Smiling Mind app (free, iTunes and Google Play) and check out their sports-specific meditation program, which is designed to complement training.
2 DIY vision board
Got a serious running goal, like smashing out a marathon? Visualisation is a powerful technique used by athletes around the world, so creating a vision board and displaying it somewhere you’ll regularly be eye-balling it means you’ll pretty much be doing mini visualisation exercise throughout your day. Make sure your board shows how you want to feel during or after your goal to help it come to life.
3 The eye of the yogi
Even if you don’t love getting your bend on, yoga is a top complementary exercise for runners as it gives tight muscles a sweet stretch-out, subsequently increasing the range of motion in your joints. Try a low lunge/lizard to help you practice your balance for the pavements, or a seated spinal twist to help loosen and lengthen your spine and ease stiff shoulders and neck after a long run.
4 Good kit
Ain’t nothing worse than feeling uncomfy or under-prepared on a long, hard slog. Trial run your gear (everything from your shoes and underwear to your tights and visor) to nail your power outfit, and if your training includes run commutes, invest in a proper pack for runners. We love the Camelbak Octane Dart, $99.95 – it’s super-lightweight and compact (tick) with pockets for all of your essentials (double tick).
5 Fuel and fire
Yeah we know, you’ve heard it 278 bazillion times – but listen up again, because fuelling during running training is even more important than the hue of your shoes. Give yourself enough energy pre-run with a protein smoothie, like this one from nutritionist Jessica Sepel, or her teriyaki chicken for when you need a hit of wholegrain and protein afterwards.