08 August 2014 by Neil Boston
Pilates complements your existing training
If you are a runner you probably focus your training on cardiovascular fitness. If so, you are overlooking your flexibility and core strength which, in turn will limit your performance. Unless you have sufficient core strength and control, your running performance will suffer and you may be more prone to injury. The great news is that Pilates provides a simple and effective solution. By introducing Pilates exercises into your training routine you will become a better runner.
How does Pilates help runners?
Put simply, Pilates is one of the best ways to improve your core strength, balance, flexibility and tone all of which are essential to develop great running form and performance. Pilates is also a great way to build strength, focussing also on the chest, pelvic, hip and lower limb muscles in particular, all perfect for a runner’s needs. Pilates also helps your body to achieve a better balance by making weaker muscles work effectively and taking the burden off the compensating muscles. Finally, Pilates exercises incorporate breathing control which makes runners more aware of the importance of correct, efficient breathing.
Other benefits of Pilates for runners
Running is a repetitive activity; over time any weaknesses or imbalances in the body become more likely to reveal themselves. Most often this is because certain muscles are over-used while other, weaker ones do little or nothing. The resultant outcome of these effects vary and can manifest as aches, pains or injuries, including back pain, hip and knee problems such as runner’s knee, patella tendonitis and IT band syndrome. With the help of regular Pilates exercises, the risk of pain and of injury is reduced considerably.
Investing in Pilates core training conditions your body to use energy efficiently and more effectively spread the loads placed on it during running. Running is a high impact sport in which the force of each strike of the foot travels upwards to the lower back and torso. The additional core strength acquired through Pilates makes those areas better able to cope with repeated impact effectively. It improves body alignment and balance, helping to efficiently distribute the forces of running throughout the body, rather than jarring the same muscles and joints continuously.
The additional awareness and control of breathing encouraged with Pilates exercises makes it easier to breathe with control using all available lung capacity during runs.
If you are looking for another way to improve your performance as a runner, or as a means of reducing or preventing injury, why not join a Pilates class. We think it’s a decision you will be delighted to have made.