It Takes Energy to Make Energy

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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,


Posted in Technique

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