Now that we’re headlong into December, the marathon seems long ago. Nonetheless, there are many dedicated runners out there who brave the elements to get what I think is one of the best stress-busters around – a good run!  Use these Pilates tips to help you add power and stamina to your running (from a slightly updated edition of a previous blog entry).


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 or ab series – which is also known as “the fab 5” from the Mat workout.  Do it before 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)
  1. 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!
  2. 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.
  3. Foot care – There’s no doubt that whether or not your 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.  The design protects individual toes cutting down on friction and those annoying blisters. Learn more about Foot Health on the Toe Sox site.
  4. 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:
  • Single-leg kick
  • Saw
  • Double-leg Kick
  • Single-leg circle
  • Swimming
  • Side-lying series
  • Seated Mermaid
  • Swan

On a side-note, being a runner and an athlete, if you haven’t already, you’ll really want to start learning more about fascia – as it plays a vital role in the body’s ability to sustain elastic recoil – that is, dealing with impact forces.  Sue Hitzmann, the creator of the MELT Method (a method specifically designed to address your fascia, also known as connective tissue) gives her two cents on marathon running in her blog.

As you head out into the weather, enjoy your time running with buddies or hit the road with your favorite playlist!  Be safe and protect yourself from the elements and drivers by wearing warm and reflective clothing.

Want to learn more tips in-person?  Give us a call to find out about the next Pilates for Runners Workshop or MELT Intro, or sign-up for our newsletter to receive the latest updates.

See you in the studio!

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