5 Ways To Overcome Fatigue- On The Run, And In Life - Chi Living

5 Ways To Overcome Fatigue- On The Run, And In Life

Posted by Katherine Dreyer on Wed Feb 4th, 2015, 15 comments

It’s like magic. One second you feel exhausted, as if every ounce of energy and life is drained from your body. Then, from out of no where comes a surge of energy; alive, new, and potent like a rising sun.

You have much more energy in your body than you think.  At your fingertips are sources of energy that are untapped, underutilized, or not fully activated.

Here are a few ways to access that energy while you’re running, walking, and living your life:


1. Clear your mind: Negative, repetitive thoughts drain energy, and most of these thoughts have very little basis in what is actually true. Become aware of these energy thieves, especially while running - when you need your energy most.

Running can be a negative-thought generator if you are new to it or if you, like the rest of us, compare yourself to others.

  • For a quick solution to negative thoughts, turn your mind to what you would like. “I can’t finish this half marathon” turns to seeing yourself cross the finish line with a huge grin. “I’m overweight” turns to imagining yourself thin and fit. “I’m overwhelmed” transforms into seeing yourself in control of your life with time to exercise and meditate. Notice how much more energy is available to you when you think a positive thought, like you flipped a breaker after a power outage.
  • For a deeper solution, underneath your head is the greatest tool in the world to calm and still the mind: your body.
  • Do a body scan for five minutes. This is great on the run, or first thing in the morning before getting out of bed. Start by focusing on your feet and then scan the whole body, move up the legs, slowly up the body, and include your face and head. The more time the better. In one T’ai Chi class we imagined nourishing the very cells of our bones and blood. Weird, yes,very effective for stopping the mind and energizing the body.

2. Relax your body. Energy that is blocked and stored in your body is a veritable energy storehouse, but it’s not a good way to store energy. Like a nuclear plant, it can cause a lot of toxic damage. Storing energy takes energy, and depletes resources further.

  • The real trick to managing the energy in your body is to let it flow.  
  • If you work to clear negative thoughts, you’re 75% of the way to relaxing your body. Notice the deep breath that comes when you release or transform a negative thought.
  • Gentle coaxing movement is the next best way to release the energy blocked in physical tension. Do body looseners religiously. Shake and stretch after you exercise, practice deep breathing exercises, and get some help via massage or physical therapy.
  • Tension makes it harder for you to move naturally. Release the tension in your body and you’ll be able to run faster, further and with less effort.

3. Inspire your spirit: You’re on a run and feeling “blah”. You’re at mile 18 of a marathon, and 8 more miles feels like hell itself. Your spirit needs some inspiration.

  • There is no quick, easy fix unless you’re prepared. To get prepared, notice what touches your heart, what you really care about, and what lifts your spirits. Then, put each one into an imaginary champagne bottle. When it gets tough, pop the cork  and celebrate that cherished aspect of life.
  • Another trick is to be kind to others. When your energy is leaking like a sieve, turn your attention to helping someone else. Give someone a kind word, some positive attention. Heck, give yourself some encouragement as well.
  • Nature is another source of inspiration. Go to a place you find beautiful. Run  an event in an exotic or exciting place.
  • An inspired spirit is the greatest energy resource you have. Cultivate and tend to what matters most to you.


4. The Chi techniques: Every technique in Chi Running and Chi Walking is designed to make your running and walking more efficient, easier, and more energized. It is based on an ancient practice of energy management.

Feeling fatigue? Practice each technique until you find  what gets your energy flowing again. Danny was tired on a run (it happens) and he tried everything. The metronome is what worked for him in that situation.

Here are the best to try if you’re fatigued:

  • Work on your posture by engaging your core and lengthening your spine up through the crown of your head.
  • Lean gently.
  • Shorten your stride.
  • Use the metronome to get into a natural body rhythm.


5. Clean fuel. If you’re often tired and fatigued, look at the food you eat. Delete the junk, add in more fruits and vegetables, expunge corn syrup of any kind from your diet, minimize preservatives and hydrogenated oils, and save sugar for special occasions. Experiment until you find what is best for you, knowing that you truly are what you eat.

Good energy begets more good energy, so start wherever you can to clean up your energy sources and get your energy flowing. Stop the leaks and bring in what inspires and delights, and you'll always find energy in you whenever you need it.

15 CommentsLeave a comment below

I really needed to see this today… I have been feeling just exhausted by life, so tired from morning to night I haven’t even wanted to go for a run, and afraid that the lack of running was adding to my sense of fatigue… fearful about falling on ice and snow while walking much less running, and uninspired to work out in the gym on treadmill, elliptical, bike, etc…. fearing that the tiredness was caused by some undiagnosed serious medical condition… I’m encouraged to hear that others also experience fatigue for no obvious reason, and I’m excited to try some of these hints to see if they help improve my condition.  (Hmmm, just re-read this post and noticed how many times I used the word “fear”... that might be a hint, I’m going to focus on number 1 and number 3, though all of them are probably issues for me right now.)  Thank you, Katherine!

Angela James Feb 5th, 2015 12:54pm

Thanks Katherine for this timely blog!!
We are experiencing dreary wet muggy endless rainy days here in Vancouver. I have been coaching chi walking a lot lately and find that I need motivating to get out there…. with the walking let alone inspire others. So great to have the reminders of how to renew one’s energy.
I am enjoying taking T’ai chi classes twice a week as it is giving me a much deeper understanding of the practice and allows me to take it into my teachings.
We all need renewal every day!!
Thanks again for your inspiration, Angela

Sometimes fatigue is caused by legitimate health concerns - thyroid and adrenal issues are actually exacerbated by over-exercising.  Best to get ongoing, deep fatigue checked out by a qualified healthcare practitioner.

Constance Wright Feb 5th, 2015 02:09pm

This was just what I needed to read and to put into practice.  It is very cold where I live but once I get outside in the morning I feel renewed with energy.  Thank you for the inspiration and reminding me to use my mind to relax my body.

Maureen Wicks Feb 5th, 2015 02:58pm

I find using Y’Chi really helps get me through a run when I’m getting close to the end, but not close enough! I start focusing on objects, run to them, focus on another object, etc., and before I know it, I’ve reached the end and I’m not near as tired as I was before I started using Y’Chi! It’s a great energy saving tool!


I find that walking when the temperature is -23 C is exhausting And so I have shortened my walks for the time being.

I love the idea of “popping the cork” on a cherished memory, I am going to try that during my 1/2 marathon this weekend! Thank you for this smile

More of a question… how do you feel about the use of compression socks (knee highs) for increasing energy.

thank you Katherine, this is fantastic!  I’d like to share it with my f/f on facebook.  Please keep these coming!

pablo ferreira Feb 6th, 2015 07:46am

Thanks for the tips!! Very useful and applicable to everyday life…

Just what I needed to hear thank you - love the reminder of the chi techniques and you are what you eat

One of your brilliant posts, Katherine! Love the champagne bottle exercise!

Danny and Katherine—what are your thoughts on trekking poles for walking??  Do they modify your form and/or misalign your body?  I am in nordic walking country (Wisconsin) and used them on a 13-mile trek last fall.  Thanks.  Inga Berg

brilliant kathy really nice post

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