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Pilates for Runners

By October 10, 2018Blog, Pilates, Training Tips

Run faster and farther with less chance of injury.

Whether you’re a competitive runner or weekend warrior, running is definitely an easy and cost effective way to stay in great cardiovascular health. But it can be tough on your body and it can feel as if your body is taking the pounding, not the pavements! This is especially true if the body develops asymmetries – imbalances from right to left and/or front to back. Body asymmetries or imbalances develop because of poor body mechanics, causing certain muscles to become overused (a common trait in runners), while others become underused. This can result in a variety of niggles and aches and pains from lower back pain to hip tightness and other issues to knee problems. It can also lead to a wide variety of tears, strains and pulls – all of which take you out of action for a while and can be hard to fix!

Why Pilates?

Pilates exercises create a stronger, more flexible spine and core, and also promotes faster recovery from strains or injuries. For a runner, posture is one of the key ingredients to success, posture is very dependent on a strong core (the entire area from your shoulder blades to your backside!). Pilates develops a strong core by supporting and strengthening the muscles of the torso, hips shoulders and pelvis. These can lead to a huge positive difference in your posture, technique, balance and stability. It enables you to focus on where your head and neck are in relation to the spine and pelvis, on down through the legs and toes. This all adds up to more efficient movement and less chance of injury. Reformer Pilates in particular also helps to strengthen the feet and the ankles and adds even more of a core and balance challenge to keep you in tip top form. For runners experiencing muscle tightness (ehm, who doesn’t?) the Reformer facilitates an amazing stretch, helping to create more functional movement patterns in your body.

Pilates exercises will:

  • Build up the back muscles evenly
  • Elongate and align the spine for better stability
  • Expand the diaphragm (facilitating easier breathing and thus creating more power in your stride)
  • Increase overall flexibility, strength, and balance
  • Increase range of motion in hips and shoulders
  • Enhance concentration through focused breathing
  • Provide more upright running (by strengtheing the upper back and opening the chest)
  • Help bodies recover faster from injuries

Performance Benefits

A stronger and more stable core helps a runner:

  • Run more efficiently uphill with more stability in your joints
  • Run more efficiently downhill with a stronger and more balanced sciatic area
  • Experience less tightening of the neck, head and shoulders
  • Increase oxygenation and stamina with a diaphragm that is able to fully expand
  • Focus on proper movement with better kinaesthetic awareness
  • Decrease fatigue because of less strain on the body
  • Shave seconds off your times because you move more efficiently
  • Run without pain!

At Flex in the City, we have a running coach on the team who specialises in working with runners of all distances and levels to improve their running and their overall body and has years of experience both as an athlete and a coach. Book an assessment with Aoife today by emailing hello@flexinthecity or phone the studio on 0212391700. Even one class a week can vastly improve your posture and your strength and flexibility and can help with any niggles you have been experiencing