Does the “Cyclists’ High” really exist?

If you are a moderately serious runner, the chances are you will have experienced the Runner’s High or at the very least, you will have heard people like me drone on about it.  We can easily go on and on about how fantastic it makes us feel; the feeling of being on top of the World and euphoric.

While nobody fully understands exactly what happens, there are some valid explainations.  To put it in a nutshell, there is a process of chemicals being released in the brain – often referred to as endorphins – and these are our natural painkillers which come into play after a period of intense physical exercise.  In my own experience, it’s wonderful.  It brings another dimension to using exercise to stay in good shape; both physically and mentally.  One wonders if it is anything like heroin or other opiates since it is referred to as a “legal high”.  While I have known numerous drug users (through my profession I hasten to add) I haven’t known any who are runners, other than possibly when running from the arms of the Law.  If I had the opportunity, I’d be curious to explore this with them – heroin compared to the Runner’s High.

Upon trying a Google search there are only two references, both from fellow bloggers.  This link leads to the most comprehensive reference:

The question now, is there such a thing as a Cyclist’s High?  Cyclists do ride as hard and fast as they can – either for endurance over a long distance or perhaps outright speed over a defined distance.  Consider those short, intense uphill races, those sprint finishes and a whole raft of other reasons why someone would push themselves to the limit on a bike and yet, nobody ever seems to talk about having a High.

So, does the Cyclist’s High exist?  I suspect it does but it would manifest itself slightly differently to that of the Runner’s High.  I could be a little more bold and assert that YES IT DOES EXIST and you heard it here first!

Either way, I would welcome any comments on this matter.

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3 Responses to Does the “Cyclists’ High” really exist?

  1. Corinne says:

    I usually get runners high about 30 mins in. I’ve had the ‘cyclist’ version of this, but not as often and it does not last as long at all! It feels more like a jolt of motivation rather than the high. I think this is probably because you can control the pace and effort much easier when running than when biking. When I am experiencing runners high, I tend to stick to a similar pace but on the bike, you might hit a climb, or go down hill, then things change.

    • doug says:

      Thanks so much for the comment Corrine. Glad to know you what I was going on about! Just goes to show we all experience the High in different way.

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