Pilates For Runners - Classes to do at home
I’ll always love running!
It helps me to de-stress, unwind and feel more energised!
I have been a keen runner from an early age and competed for Derby Ladies Athletic Club as well as my county as a teenager! Much more recently, I have competed for Knowle and Dorridge Running Club and now particularly enjoy running trails and coast paths as well as longer distances, having completed both the Brighton and London Marathons.
5 reasons why Pilates is important for Runners...
1. Pilates Builds Resilience For Running
As runners we do need to be incredibly resilient as we are putting a lot of stress and load through our bodies. When we do choose to run longer distances, we need our body, muscles, tendons, and joints to all be able to cope. Most injuries happen due to overload, the impact forces on our lower limbs between runner and ground is usually 1-3 times more than our own body weight! Therefore, some degree of strength training in your programme is important.
2. Pilates Helps Posture
Energy efficiency is important too and your posture and alignment can have a big effect on this. If your spine is too stiff or over flexed and maybe your head is in a forward position your body will have to work harder to resist gravity. This in turn will use up more energy as the body works hard to maintain better posture over a long time. The energy would be better spent on putting it into the legs! Therefore, posture and spinal mobility is especially important.
3. Pilates Builds Core stability
The core is the front back and sides of your trunk and pelvis. It is the base from which everything can work efficiently. Its founder Joseph Pilates referred to it as your “Powerhouse”. It gives you efficient use of arms and legs when running and with a strong core there is less energy wastage! It also helps to reduce the risk of overloading muscles and reduce the risk of injury.
4. Pilates Helps Your Breathing
Breathing, the first of the 6 Pilates principles. More efficient breathing when running will have a great effect on performance. Learning to stay relaxed around the neck and shoulders when you are breathing means less energy wastage. Also learning to breathe the Pilates way will mean that you can breathe through the whole of your chest and lungs. This means you will get better at pushing more oxygen around the body and to the working muscles. The diaphragm is part of your core and works with the deep abdominals, pelvic floor, and spinal muscles to give you the strong stable centre needed. Therefore, a more effective breathing technique will certainly help!
5. Pilates Stretching Helps Recovery After Running
We don’t always hold our stretches for long enough after a run, and this can lead us into thinking that it’s not helping. However, hold them for longer and it will allow the key muscle groups to relax and lengthen. This is so important when we run as we are contracting specific muscles repeatedly. The muscle fibres then shorten and become mis-aligned, so stretching is needed to restore this.
For example, if the hip flexors which are worked extremely hard in running shorten and become too tight, they will pull the front of the pelvis down and throw the lower back into misalignment which can cause many problems.
Being non-impact, Pilates can help as it gives you time to recover whilst working on your mobility, flexibility, muscle activation, strength, and core. Again, reducing the risk of injury.
I know I am biased, but I strongly believe that Running and Pilates are the perfect combination!
Meet Sarah Connors
I am so lucky to be able to work in collaboration with Sarah and have enjoyed working with many of her clients to assist in their rehab and recovery back from injury.
A Physiotherapist for more than 30 years, Sarah has spent most of that time working for and alongside UK athletics, including 2 Olympic Games. The athletes she treats consider her to be a world class Physio!
Sarah now treats athletes and runners of all abilities and founded a local running club which now has over 250 members. She loves getting people moving and her skills and knowledge are so supportive to the work of Pilates as our main aim is to improve the quality, control, and efficiency of movement. Sarah has also worked with Asics as part of their Pro team for over 10 years, guest lectured at Birmingham University and written a book called Running Well.
Sarah has produced some great videos where she talks about different running injuries and their prevention and treatment. She provides exercises and stretches to help too.