Pilates for runners

I love running and I am not alone. According to Sport England every week close to 2 million people are spending at least 30 minutes running to keep fit. I have run 5km Park Runs, 10km races, half marathons and proudly the London Marathon last year (once was enough more me!). In the past I have suffered some of the common running injuries including ankle problems, ITB syndrome and lower back pain but I can honestly say that since practicing and teaching Pilates regularly I have generally managed to avoid running injuries (apart from some nasty blisters!). Pilates is fantastic for runners and I would encourage any runner to incorporate Pilates into your training.

Pilates strengthens the core and other important running muscles. One of the key elements of Pilates is a neutral pelvic position. Pelvis is king when it comes to posture in running. If you can get your pelvis into a good position and hold it in that position while you run this will help your running gait. Pilates help to strengthening the gluteals which are the power house of your run and will help to stabilise your pelvis and drive you forwards. Improving flexibility is a focus in Pilates. Some areas that commonly get tight in runners include hip flexors, hamstrings and calves so stretching these areas (amongst others) can hugely help your running gait. Let’s not forget the upper body and arms. Tight, rounded shoulders, will affect your running gait and Pilates can help to open the shoulders and mobilise the upper back. Pilates also improves body awareness. If we are more aware of our body we are more likely to notice any areas of concern and address these before they turn into an injury which halts our training. Incorporating Pilates into your running training will improve your core control, balance and running efficiency helping to reduce your risk of injury and ultimately help you run faster!

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