I used to run, a lot. And when you're a runner, doing anything other than running can sometimes seem like time lost running. There's something so exhilarating about feeling your heart and legs pumping, checking your pace and blasting out your music. It's perfect cardio-vascular exercise and I'm not saying you shouldn't do it but I do want to talk about the benefits of adding in another form of exercise, something that compliments running - Pilates.
Running is primarily a forward/backward motion of arms and legs (unless, like me your form isn't perfect and you also have a bit of a twist in the torso). If you run a lot you probably have really strong quads and hip flexors (the the front of your body) hamstrings and calves (the back of your body). So it's important to work your body in other planes of movement - lateral flexion and rotation.
Other muscles groups that should be strong and can help with running but that maybe could do with a bit of help from Pilates are the glutes (to help power you forward), the small balance muscles in your feet (to help ground you and keep you upright) and core and back (to keep you upright and again to provide power to lift your legs).
The other thing about running is that it can make you TIGHT. Tight in the hamstrings, calves, quads and back. Pilates is a balance of strength and flexibility so we work on releasing and lengthening the muscles.
You'll be a much better runner if you can find ease in the body and power in the muscles when you need it. It's also important to keep your back healthy and happy too so that you can keep on running for the rest of your life!
A few Pilates exercises that you should consider incorporating into your weekly regime:
- One-legged squats
- Roll downs
- Curls ups/abdominal work
- Hip rolls
- Curl ups/abdominal work with oblique twists
- Spine curls with battement
- Diamond press
- Prone leg beats
- Heel Squeeze
- Side-lying exercises
- Spine Twists
- Side planks
You can add in a workout at home following along with my video below OR just come to class and we'll work through these exercises together!