You might have heard that Pilates is great for runners, but why? We talk to Liz Patient, founder of Pilates for Runners, to find out
I’m Liz; a runner and Pilates instructor. After suffering from a string of running-related injuries and niggles, I decided to adapt my Pilates practice specifically to rehab the injuries and help prevent any further ones from happening. Not only did I remain injury-free, but my form, speed and overall running performance improved.
Dealing with a running injury? Check out our guide to recovery!
Since then, I’ve gone on to share what I’ve learned through Pilates for Runners; an online subscription platform designed to help runners improve their performance and balance out the impact that running has on their body.
There are so many reasons Pilates is great for runners, but there are a couple of really key things that Pilates can bring to your running.
Running is a high impact activity and highly repetitive in terms of your movement patterns, using your muscles in the same way over and over again. This can make it much more likely to get over-use or over-training injuries, especially if running is your only form of exercise.
Varying your movement patterns really helps to balance out the impact running has on your body. It challenges your joints and muscles in different ways. In terms of variety, Pilates is the antithesis of running. It’s low impact, so you’re providing rest and recovery for your body in that sense, while also moving and challenging your muscles in completely different ways.
Pilates focuses a lot n breathing. This can really help you to develop more efficient breathing when running. It also can be relaxing, helping to lower the heart rate and reducing stress, in contrast to running, which raises your heart rate.
When you’re running, you want as much of your energy as possible being used to drive you forward. Any unnecessary movement through your trunk and hips will affect the alignment down your legs, and therefore your landing pattern (how you land in your stride) and your ability to absorb the ground force when you land. Losing energy through the ground as you land will make your running less efficient.
Stability through the trunk and hips comes from a combination of strength, endurance, motor control, balance and coordination exercises. Like any skill, you have to train for it. That is where Pilates comes into its own for runners. Pilates, done in the right way, is all about training your body to use the deeper inner stabilising muscles, not just your outer mobilising muscles that move the joints.
About Pilates for Runners
Pilates for Runners is an online subscription platform of easy-to-follow Pilates sessions specifically designed to help runners improve their running form and balance out the impact running has on their body.
There are sessions of varying lengths, from less than 10 minutes to an hour, so that you can easily incorporate Pilates into your training schedule and reap the rewards through your running.
The sessions are designed to help you understand your own running form better. That way you can identify and target your weak areas in both strength and flexibility.
There are a number of targeted strength and flexibility sessions for glutes, hips, core, upper back etc, as well as sessions for morning movement, pre and post run, rest and recovery and a 6 week beginner course. A weekly schedule of suggested sessions helps you to structure your training week to week.
As well as over 200 on demand sessions, there are also weekly live Zoom sessions.
Want to give it a try? Liz is offering a free glute and hip strength class for Women’s Running readers to try.
There is also an exclusive subscription offer: use code WOMENSRUNNING at the checkout for 40% off both the monthly and annual subscription when you buy before the end of January.
Join Women’s Running for Pilates on Insta Live
On 6th Jan, we’ll be hosting Liz on Instagram Live – she’ll be sharing more about how Pilates can help us runners, and then taking us through a 15-20 minute Pilates session. Make sure you’re following us for more info!