Has your marathon preparation been interrupted by niggles or injury? How Pilates can help.

Physiotherapist Ruth Smith explains how Pilates can can help improve your running, prevent injuries, and help you recover from injury.

If your Marathon hopes have been delayed due to a niggling problem or injury, you can use Pilates to help you find out why and prevent it from happening again….

You may keep hearing people recommend Pilates, but perhaps you’re not really sure why?
Pilates is not necessarily automatically associated with running, but actually once you try it you will realise why it is a perfect strength training habit for every runner.  As a Physio who also teaches Pilates I use it every day in my clinical practice with sports people from all fields but particularly with runners.

This week your focus may be on London or another Spring marathon and its not necessarily the time to start adding fancy ‘Pilates for running’ exercises to your well thought out preparation plan. But in the future, it should be integral to that plan from start to finish, recovery and beyond!

The fundamental aim of Pilates is to emphasise strength in balance along with mobility and breath control. With a regular Pilates routine, your muscles are in better condition, so can tolerate longer runs with less fatigue, soreness and tightness. 

Our Pilates Instructors are experts in analysing posture and movement and can help you to ensure your body stays in the best possible condition through the spring and summer season of running.

Pilates helps you to connect to what your body is doing through each step of every run.  Have you ever had a coach or your Physio speak to you about managing your cadence but been unsure how to practically do it?  this may be due to the difficulty that many of us have with our breathing, once you have better control of the relaxed breathing required for distance running you can start to time your steps to your breathing and gain important focus.  Breath control is the first the key elements of Pilates and you’ll be amazed what a difference some training in this can make.

Trying to run further than you have before?  Pilates will help you to improve the economy of your running technique. This means you will be using less energy to achieve the same distance by reducing wasted energy on poor posture or less efficient limb movement.

Pilates trains your neural connectivity to the muscles and movement patterns as well as the actual strength so that your more efficient movement patterns become automatic and ‘easy’.  This increased activation and strength will help to protect you from injury as the muscles are able to tolerate the increase in loading required as your mileage ramps up.

Pilates stretches and mobility work helps to find areas of tightness that may be troubling you or causing restriction or inhibition to effective muscle activation.   Have you ever had low back ache after running a certain distance?  Perhaps the hips are tight and not giving you the full extension you need through your stride?  That load could be transferred to the lumbar spine which step by step, mile by mile, starts to aggravate and cause pain.

Of course Pilates stretches can also be used as part of your recovery plan to ensure that you are ready for that next training session and in the best possible condition for your next challenge ahead.

As the saying goes…”If you always do what you’ve always done then you’ll always get what you’ve always got” try something new and make a change to get rid of those niggles and injuries and run further and faster!