It Takes Energy to Make Energy

Posted by Danny Dreyer on Mon Apr 14th, 2008, 14 comments

We’ve all heard the old saying, “It takes money to make money.” Well, here’s my latest take on that. I was out running yesterday, having an ok run, but not feeling particularly energetic. I’m sure you’ve been there. I was running my favorite out and back trail run with my dog. It’s quite a hilly trail with virtually no flat spots anywhere.

It has an uphill start (which I never recommend) so I started off walking to warm up my legs before taking on the first incline. Once I began running on the trail I walked some of the steeper uphills in order to not over-use my legs early on in the run. This has always worked well for me in the past. Once my legs were warmed up they began to feel much more comfortable on the up hills. I ran to my turnaround point and began my return trip, as I usually do. But on the way back, my legs were beginning to feel exhausted running some of the last hills, even though I was shortening my stride considerably and slowing my pace. I felt as though someone had pulled the plug on my energy. I was body sensing and my legs were telling me that they were tired.

One of the interesting things about the Chi skill of Body Sensing that is explained in the ChiRunning and ChiWalking books is that as you watch and listen to your body, it is important to be as non-identified and impartial as possible. So, here I am, running along and saying to myself, “This is just a sensation.” I intuitively knew that my legs weren’t really tired, because I had done this same run only a couple of days earlier and had a great run. So, then I asked myself, “What can I do about this?” I was on an uphill section, so I shortened my stride, relaxed my legs and began swinging my arms forward and upward wildly, creating a huge range of motion. When I crested the top of the short rise I kept swinging my arms as I had been and leaned into the subsequent downhill slope. I did everything I could to lengthen my stride, rotate my pelvis and bend my knees. I must have looked like a crazy-man. I kept this up for about a minute or two and then relaxed my whole body. What I noticed after doing this,  was that my whole body felt much lighter and energized. I had no problems with fatigue for the rest of the run. In fact, I ran smoother and faster than usual.

After my run, I realized that if I hadn’t chosen to swing my arms and focused on getting my energy moving, it wouldn’t have changed over and I might have finished my run feeling tired and worn out. As it turned out, I felt very energetic afterwards. And that’s when the phrase, “It takes money to make money.” popped into my head.

Whenever you feel you have a lack of energy, it could mean that your energy (chi) just isn’t flowing and you need to do something to “wake it up.” Doing something physical is always best, and don’t always think that just because you’re tired, that you have no energy available. It’s there, but you have to consciously “jump start” it to get it moving. This technique can, of course, be applied just as effectively to situations in everyday life. Try it…you might like it.

Keep the chi flowing,
Danny

 

Tags

  • running,
  • trail running,
  • running hills,
  • running tips,
  • arm swing,
  • chi energy,
  • flow of chi,
  • leg swing,
  • speed tips

14 CommentsLeave a comment below

Hi Danny,

I’m a recent reader of your blog even though I bought your book ages ago, must have been back in 2004 and it helped me a lot.

However, I moved to Glasgow in Scotland in the back end of 2005 and just lost the motivation to go running.  I put it down to living in the city, but even when I moved to a suburb in Feb or 2006 I still can’t drag myself outside.  As a result I’ve put on a bit of weight and I’m sure I’m nowhere near the the 10k times I used to get (50 minutes at my peak).

Is there any chance you could post an entry about how to get motivated and then keep it going, please?

Thanks in advance,
Chris
Scotland, UK

Hi Danny, I am now into my 2nd month of chi running and was amazed on Thursday when i smashed a second off my 1 mile hilly loop! the thing is I set my fastest time back in 2003 when i was at my peak, so to be able to run fastest at the age of 47 is AWESOME! a combination of CHIRUNNING and following ARTHUR LYDIARD’S training program seems to working really well for me! CHEERS DANNY

This is so true - as a martial artist I KNOW that after a long day at work I may “feel"exhausted and “think” I have no legs but just getting to train & work hard leaves me with more energy than when I began.

Nancy Weninger Apr 27th, 2008 03:43pm

This article reminds me of when I was running a lot and teaching fulltime.  If I sat down on the couch when I got home from work, I could stay there and feel tired for the rest of the day.  If I put on my running gear and ran out Baltimore Canyon, somehow I had the energy to do that and return home again feeling fresh and alert for the evening.  We still miss you here in Marin, but can see that you are having great success and happiness back East.  Stay well!

Kathy Griest Apr 27th, 2008 06:37pm

Hey Danny,
I agree with you 100%  on this article about jump starting the body in order to get it going.  When I feel ‘low energy’ out on my run, I go through all of the focuses and think…  This can’t be.  There must be something I’m not doing.  Then I just bring my focus to relaxing and moving my arms and then it comes.  It always comes back to moving the arms for me.  Runners focus so much on the legs that when their legs are tired or feel like bricks, they give up and give in to it.  But if you can let that go and bring your focus to your upper body energy, the legs start to follow and everything begins working in unison… energizing the whole.  I always tell my students….  it comes down to the sum of all parts.

Alexandra Whitaker Apr 27th, 2008 08:28pm

How interesting.  It’s like priming the pump. You cranked the handle, your arms, and your energy well filled up.  Good to know—thanks!

HI DANNY,
THANKS FOR THE HELP AND SUPPORT AND ADVISE ON RUNNING MY MARATHON! I FINISHED IN 10TH PLACE JUST MISSING OUT ON 10TH AFTER A MARSHAL SENT ME IN THE WRONG DIRECTION IN THE LAST 200M, I ALSO WON MY AGE GROUP V 45.
OVER HALF THE RACE ROUTE WAS OVER CONCRETE, THE MOST UNFORGIVING SURFACE KNOWN TO RUNNERS ! YET I FINISHED WITH VERY FEW ACHES AND PAINS THANKS TO CHIRUNNING, I EVEN RAN THE DAY AFTER. AFTER MY LAST 5 MARATHONS I COULD HARDLY WALK LET ALONE RUN BECAUSE OF SORE CALF AND LEG MUSCLES AND HAD TO WALK DOWN STAIRS SIDE WAYS BECAUSE OF THE INCREDIBLE PAIN.
CHEERS DANNY

OOPS! THAT SHOULD HAVE READ FINISHED IN 11TH PLACE!

Wow….I believe it, it takes energy to make energy. Before I was aware of chi or chirunning, and my kids were young and participating in team sports, they would always say ” dad, im saving my energy for practice or the game tomorrow” I would always tell them “if you need this much energy(holding my hands 12” apart) you need to create this much energy and I would hold my arms out wide. They would smile and say I was crazy. To this day , when I am feeling tried….I go to the gym or for a ride or a run. It really works

SUN IN THE SKY, you know how I feel
Reeds driftin on by you know how I feel

It’s a new dawn
It’s a new day
It’s a new life
For me
And I’m feeling good

Fish in the sea you know how I feel
River running free you know how I feel
Blossom in the tree you know how I feel

Dragonfly out in the sun you know what I mean, don’t you know
Butterflies all havin fun you know what I mean
Sleep in peace when day is done
That’s what I mean

And this old world is a new world
And a bold world
For me

Stars when you shine you know how I feel
Scent of the pine you know how I feel
Oh freedom is mine
And I know how I feel

It’s a new dawn
It’s a new day
It’s a new life
For me
And I’m feeling good

Posted by running faster with the ALIEN LIZARD

Dear Danny,
I have been running for over 28 years. Less than three weeks ago a massage therapist recommended ChiRunning. I immediately looked into it and have been trying to learn from your book and video. As yet I’m not running any faster or slower but definitely better. One of my goals is to keep at least a steady pace if not a negative split on my long runs (over 13 miles). Until now I’ve been able to count on one hand the number of times I’ve gotten a negative split on one of them.  Yesterday I set out to do an LSD run of 16 miles—the first since learning about ChiRunning. Speed was unimportant as long as I kept steady or faster. At 5 miles I was averaging approximately a 7:55/mile.  At 8 miles I had slowed to an average 8:08 overall and at 11 miles 8:10.  Once again, as so many times in the past, I had slowed down no matter how careful I had been to start slow and build. Since I wanted to keep the S in LSD I was not about to try to power it through just to get my mile pace down and assuage my ego. Besides, I’ve learned from experience that that rarely works.  I just continued on as before focusing on the focuses: pick up the feet, relax the shoulders, lean from the ankles, etc.  Long story short I finished with an 8:02/mile pace and a negative split for the second half. The energy had come back. How I’m not quite sure since I didn’t think I changed anything I was doing. But wow, I think that’s the first time I’ve come back from slowing down.  Thank you.
Carol

Great ideas towards the energy.  I have noticed similar things in regards to fatigue and just tricking yourself to get into the right flow.  If one does not have any motivation at all to run, or get back into, as posed in a prior comment, look into your life and examine what is holding you back and preventing you from wanting to feel better?  I have had mulitple sclerosis for ten years and within the last year I have worked up to 7 mile runs!  I am just happy to run because I physically can!  Isn’t that enough?  I feel free within my life and I feel that I am controlling everything to where I want to go and what I want to do.  Therefore, I feel enabled and empowered to make the conscious effort to run and promote the “feel good” mindset.  I rarely watch t.v., rarely drink and surround myself with healthy, positive people so I receive THEIR positive energy that gives me ENERGY to do good things like run.  ENERGY, is ENERGY is ENERGY.  As an extreme example, I cannot imagine a drug dealer wanting to run and promote health when they surround themselves by scum and “fixes.”  Peace, Julie.  Get running!

Frances Lally Jun 7th, 2008 02:39am

Hi Danny
I attended a Chirunning workshop three weeks ago and read your book.  I have been running since childhood for the past 34 years approx and have suffered with knee and hip problems over the past few. I discovered at the workshop that my alignment was the problem and I am trying to hold my pelvis in the correct position while running, which is proving very challenging and quite difficult for me.  Also, I have been shuffling along not lifting my feet so I am working on this focus also.  I am not finding my runs any easier, in fact more difficult and energy consuming but I am not too concerned about that as long as my posture is correct.  It like learning to walk or run all over again.  I hope and trust it will get easier with practice.  Kind regards.  Frances

Tina Ranieri Aug 7th, 2008 03:41am

My what a great blog…thank you so very much!!! Sometimes the mood does strike me kinda like this morning…but this has motivated me and inspired me..founs this in the Barefoot running group posted by another thay found here

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