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Sports & Pilates Series…Running

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In this latest blog in our series about how Pilates can complement your training or participation in other sports, one of our Express Studio teachers at Sweaty Betty Farnham, Sharon Robinson, covers Pilates and running…Here’s Sharon:

Do you enjoy the occasional jog? Do you have a passion for running and get out at least a couple of times a week?  Or would you call yourself a runner and do you try to compete regularly in 5k, 10k, half or full marathon races?  If the answer to any of the above is yes, then Pilates can really help you in a number of ways.

Running involves performing the same movement over and over again, so it often leads to overdevelopment in some muscles and underdevelopment or weakness in others.

Pilates helps you to strengthen many of the muscles used in running, in particular the gluteal muscles, the quadriceps, and the hip flexors as well as the all-important iliotibial band (ITB).  It can help to correct any muscle imbalances, making the legs stronger and able to handle more exertion when you run.  During a typical Pilates class you will also spend time stretching all of these areas, as well as the hamstring and calf muscles.  Working on these two can help to alleviate some of the more common problems associated with running, such as tight or short hamstrings and ‘runner’s knee’, which is often caused by poorly-conditioned quadriceps.

Many runners have a weakness in the hip area which can manifest itself as pain in the knee on the same side.  When the gluteus medias is weak, smaller muscle groups around the hip such as the Tensor Fascia Lateae are fire up instead, but the reality is it’s not strong enough to replace the gluteus medias.  Side-lying Pilates exercises strengthen the full range of muscles in the hip area.

Because Pilates focuses on improving your core strength by working on the deep stabilising muscles, your spine will be much better supported and stronger when running. The focus on good posture will contribute towards a more upright running stance, which helps to keep the chest expanded and encourage more efficient breathing

Finally, Pilates can decrease your recovery time after any injury or the impact after a long or high intensity run, by increasing joint mobility and flexibility.

As well as a qualified Pilates instructor, Sharon regularly takes part in half marathons and triathlons.  If you’d like to find out how Pilates can help your running by attending her Pilates classes at our studio at Sweaty Betty Farnham, click here.