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Pilates Exercises for Runners

Is it possible to run without pain? This is a question I contemplated years ago when deciding whether I should hang up my running shoes. In my experience, people run because they find it is an effective way to burn calories or because they simply love to run. The later group is comprised of individuals that, in my experience, will never give up running unless absolutely necessary. So the question becomes, how can you continue to run in a safe way and without pain? The answer can be Pilates.

Pilates has many benefits specific to runners. Pilates exercises can help runners:

  • Create a strong core

  • Improve symmetry in the body

  • Produce an efficient and more fluid running pattern

  • Increase flexibility

  • Improve oxygenation

  • Expand stamina

  • Decrease fatigue

  • Improve balance

  • Lengthen stride

  • Strengthen the ligaments around the joints improving joint mobility

  • Develop body awareness, which can help you modify and fix stride or impact issues

  • Promote faster recovery from strains or injuries

Running is the same repetitive movement. If that repetitive movement is done incorrectly, injury is certain. Even if you run on protected surfaces, running is a high-impact activity, which causes a lot of stress on the joints and the spine. For a runner, posture is paramount, and posture is dependent on a strong core. Postural asymmetries can be improved through Pilates, thus decreasing wear and tear resulting from uneven stresses/impact on the joints and discs. Pilates improves strength and flexibility of the muscles of the pelvic and shoulder girdle. Fluid and supported movement through these joints helps prevent unnecessary torque and injury.

The Pilates program also teaches awareness of movement habits that may stress the spine/joints, and helps runners change these habits to those that preserve proper mechanics. Awareness of excessive tension and the use of proper focus helps you use the body efficiently.

Not only can Pilates help you develop proper movement patterns and move more efficiently, which decreases injury and pain, but Pilates can also improve your flexibility. Increased flexibility is important for running because it improves the fluidity of your technique. All of these benefits lead to a difference in your posture, flexibility, stability and performance.

In a Pilates private session, we create a progressive program specifically tailored to your needs as a runner. You can also implement the following exercises and stretches we utilize in our group Pilates sessions into your daily routine to reduce your risk of injury:

  • Roll Down

  • Roll Ups

  • Single Leg Frogs and Extensions

  • Single Leg Lift

  • Pelvic Curl

  • Hundreds Prep

  • Open Leg Rocker Prep

  • Hamstring/IT Band Stretch

  • Wall Stretch

  • Forward Push Through

To learn more, visit Bodhi Pilates or call 303-597-8483.

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