3 Ways Pilates can Improve your Running Performance
For too many years I avoided strength training as a long distance runner. I thought it would make my legs heavy, it would bulk me up and slow me down. I also thought running made me ‘strong enough’, and to improve my times and my performance, I just had to run harder or longer or faster. I also injured myself too many times which saw me take long and frustrating periods off running and not be able to compete in the races I wanted to.
Nowadays I know a lot better, both because I’ve learnt a lot more and have made a dedicated effort to get stronger. Clinical Pilates has played the biggest part in my transformation, and my only regret is that I didn’t start strength training sooner.
The first thing Clinical Pilates did was help me develop some serious core strength. Learning how to correctly activate and strengthen my core muscles, as well as how to functionally recruit them whilst I ran, gave me a stronger sense of center and a much better base to move my limbs from. Think of a strong tree trunk able to support its branches, rather than a bendy sapling. I became much more efficient and felt running became much less of an effort.
Clinical Pilates also helped me address muscle imbalances I was unaware of. I’ve discovered, and strengthened, my glute medius, my adductors and deep hip rotators. My hip control and single leg balance has never been better. This has led to a big change in my lower limb injuries, especially some recurrent knee pain.
This brings me to my last point: injuries. As runners, we get injured for a lot of reasons. Often training errors, and many times because we do not have the strength to support our training load. By strengthening my core, my glutes and back, I have managed to overcome and avoid recurrence of injuries that used to hold me back. I no longer have lower back pain when I run, my knees are rarely sore and a left hip labral tear is barely noticeable.
Written by our Owner & Physiotherapist, Naomi Fyffe