There are articles all of over the Internet espousing the benefits of running while under the influence. Common claims are that it reduces fatigue and that it allows you to forget where you are, giving you access to the oft-forgotten joys of running without an objective. If you free yourself from the chains of compulsive Fitbit™checking, the world is supposedly a beautiful place filled with sunshine and music. With endorsements from ultramarathoner Avery Collins and several pages of info plastered on various online running forums, it would seem that stoned running has blossomed into a legitimate exercise craze. As a running enthusiast and casual pot smoker myself, I was immediately intrigued by the idea of toking up before my nightly jog. A few weeks ago I decided to give it a try, taking two hits– the goal, as most high runners will tell you, is to get high, not blitzed– before heading out and completing a five mile run. Here's what happened:
Mile One: Why is everyone staring at me?
Growing marijuana tips
In the interest of giving you some extra pointless information, I want to mention that when I started this run, I was training for a half-marathon. For this reason, I was trying to keep every mile around the 8:45-9:00 pace. That said, when I first stepped outside and looked around, paranoia set in. It was still dusk, and there were plenty of people on the street. In hindsight, I'm positive none of them noticed me, but in the heat of the moment, I started running a bit faster than I anticipated. Actually, I found it virtually impossible to judge my speed. I ended up running my first mile in 7:23 without noticing. I didn't find myself out of breath, and I was shocked at how fast I was running.
Mile Two: Calm down dude.
After completing my first mile so quickly, I found something new to panic about: pace. To avoid injuring myself (I hadn't completed a mile in under 8:00 in months) I knew I had to slow myself down. This proved much harder than I thought. I abruptly slowed myself to what I imagined was a 9:30 pace, but very soon after found myself sprinting again. I couldn't stay motivated at a slower pace, and ended up feeling bored. My inability to control my speed is still my biggest concern about running after smoking.
Mile Three: The sweet spot.
During the third mile, I was finally in a rhythm that I was comfortable in. I was still going a little faster than I wanted to be, but I was finally hit with that euphoric feeling high runners are always talking about, that moment where runner's high and marijuana haze crescendo at exactly the same second. If two weird miles are the price to pay for the level of calm I experienced in the middle of the run, I consider that a bargain.
Mile Four: I want to go home.
After the euphoria of the third mile wore off, my motivation was absolutely gone. I was mentally depleted and longing for my couch. I could also feel my left achilles tendon start to tighten up, and my legs were starting to feel the effects of going so fast without properly training. My mouth was starting to feel a bit dry from the smoke, and there didn't seem to be much purpose in continuing.
Mile Five: On second thought, this isn't that bad.
By the time I started mile five, I was pretty tired, but as I progressed (possibly due to the fact that I knew I was almost done) I felt like my energy was coming back. This isn't to say I was reliving the bliss of mile three, but rather that this mile felt a bit more natural. This is probably because I was finally able to find the pace I wanted to be running at from the beginning. Still, I was glad when it was over.
In the end, high running left something to be desired. I felt as though I had virtually no control over my own body. Just about every negative reaction (paranoia, exhaustion, low motivation) I expected to have, happened. Also, funnily enough, I was left with cut on my right cheek. Evidently, I'd run into a low hanging tree branch without noticing. I think for certain people–probably those who smoke regularly enough for it not to affect their mood–running while high is probably a fun experience. It definitely aids recovery time and does give you a kind of boost, especially through the first few miles. That said, if you're a casual smoker, I wouldn't recommend hitting the one-hitter before your next jog. The negatives definitely outweigh the positives. Personally, I think you'd be better served smoking after your done as a post-run treat.