I used to absolutely despise running long distances. When I was young I was all about the quick sprint – get it over and done!  As I got older I discovered that running could be a relaxing past time and a way for me to de-stress.  But it wasn’t always like that.  I struggled at first as you always do when you’re stepping into something new.  Then when I had built a good foundation, gaining stamina, I could pay closer attention to technique.

Later, when I discovered Pilates, I found that the method was excellent cross-training for my running.  While that was not as well-known back then, nowadays there is greater awareness about how well Pilates enhances any athletic activity.  The focus on core strength, spinal health and flexibility for the hips and legs especially makes it a conditioning program ideal for balancing out the body from hitting the pavement.

Here are some tips for those of you who have Pilates experience.  If you’re new to Pilates, please contact us to discuss Introductory-level packages.

1. Pre-run, take 10 minutes to do a portion of your favorite Pilates routine.  I suggest the stomach series – also known as  “the fab 5” from the Mat workout prior to your run to help warm the core and the spine

  • Single-leg Stretch

  • Double-leg Stretch

  • Criss-Cross

  • Single Straight Leg Stretch

  • Double Straight Leg Stretch (Lower and Lift)

2. Practice utilizing the Pilates principle of Breath to enhance your oxygen efficiency.   Of course you can’t help but breathe when you are working out.  But when you utilize a fuller and measured breath as you do in Pilates, you‘ll be more efficient in distributing oxygen to those working muscles!

3. Pre-occupy yourself with Posture.  Posture is dynamic and greatly influences your overall alignment and breathing.  Your run is a good excuse to “zone out” from the stress, but do “zone in” to your activity and occasionally ‘body scan’ yourself from head-to toe.

4. Foot care – There’s no doubt that whether or not you run, feet sure take a beating.  In Pilates we pay a lot of attention to how we lug the ole dogs around.  I’m a HUGE fan of Toe Sox.  Their style of sock encourages the proper separation of the toes which helps lead to a better toe off.  Learn more about Foot Health on the Toe Sox site.

5. Post-workout, you’ll be good and warm and the muscles are more prepared for a nice stretch.  Can’t fit in a full mat routine after you’re done?  Here’s a quick reference list of exercises great for the hips and legs.  Choose a few favorites and vary after runs:

  • Bridge

  • Single-leg kick

  • Saw

  • Double-leg Kick

  • Single-leg circle

  • Swimming

  • Side-lying series

  • Seated Mermaid

  • Swan

As you head out into the spring weather, enjoy your time as you run with buddies or hit the road with your favorite playlist.

Want to learn more tips in-person?  Be sure to join us for our upcoming Pilates for Runners Workshop!


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