The Runner’s High Revisited: A Phenomenological Analysis

in Journal of Phenomenological Psychology
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This article revisits an oft-studied phenomenon from the vantage point of the phenomenology of Merleau-Ponty (1945/1962), Keen (1973/1982), and Giorgi (1985). The protocols used have been taken from the first comprehensive academic study conducted on the runner’s high phenomenon (Sachs, 1980). Throughout its experimental study, the runner’s high has remained a poorly understood phenomenon. Possible reasons for this are considered alongside the phenomenological analysis. Considered phenomenologically, the runner’s high is an experience of the absence of the limitations of body, time, and space. It is experienced on the backdrop of a typical run experience which is characterized by familiar pains and labor. However, in the event of the runner’s high the familiar pains and labor do not present, making the runner’s high an experience of absence. Since these limitations play a role of restriction, their absence is pleasurable.

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