The technical part: Pilates is great for many reasons and benefits all types of ages, body types and levels of fitness. Specifically, Pilates is a great addition to any running routine. Why? It’s a very simple equation. The biomechanics of running leads to fast twitching in the muscles. You constantly use your quadriceps, hip flexors and calves when you run. It’s also important to note that running is a repetitive motion- and you are essentially using the same muscles in the same way throughout the workout. Now, Pilates does a little more of the opposite- which is why it is such a great companion to running. Pilates lengthens and tones the muscles using a varied range of exercises. It is not a repetitive motion in the same way running is, and it focuses on stretching muscles like the hip flexors. Pilates also builds your core strength- which is essential to running.
The personal part: As a fairly new runner, I had embarked on training for a half-marathon. I had never run distances like this, so needless to say I was nervous. During this time, I wanted to keep the exercise regimen I already had- which included strength training and Pilates at least 3 days per week. As a first-time half-marathoner, I had no pain (other than being a little sore after the race) and I felt great. Since my first run was a success, I decided to sign up for the same one a year later – but my schedule was busier- and I did not do Pilates nearly as much. I also wound up getting tendonitis in my right knee. Now, I understand that this could have been from many different things- however, I did notice my body responded very differently to my runs because I was not doing Pilates. Next race I went back to the first regimen and I was better than ever!
If you’re looking to become a better and stronger runner- Pilates is one sure-fire thing that will help!