While running is one of the most natural and instinctive exercises, it’s also one of the most injury prone. According to CoreRunning.com, “Research shows that if you run regularly, you have a 37–56% chance of getting injured. The majority of these injuries are overuse injuries to the musculoskeletal system (comprised of the muscles, tendons, joint tissues, ligaments and bones). What’s even worse, researchers estimate that up to 70% of injuries are likely to reoccur!”
So what if there was an exercise program that reduced the risk of injury and allowed you to improve speed at the same time?
Enter Pilates, the perfect complement to running. Where running is high impact, Pilates is low impact; where running creates muscle imbalance, Pilates promotes balance; and where running creates tightness, Pilates promotes mobility. Performed correctly, Pilates will strengthen muscles, ligaments, and tendons to guard against impact, improve form, and create a consistent gait. This strong and efficient running body will allow you to run faster for longer while minimizing the chance of injury. This program will improve any imbalances in the body, strengthen the core, and increase overall flexibility.
Be sure to follow the the basic principles of Pilates as you practice to get maximum benefit. These include proper breathing technique, posture, precision, shoulder position, and spine position.
Add variety by trying my work out above! These exercises are taken from the essential Pilates for Runners DVD. Perform this routine three times a week for maximum results. It’s intended for an intermediate, with variations for beginner and advanced included.
Author Laura Tarbell is a certified STOTT Pilates instructor and owns and operates Tarbell Pilates in Hogansburg, NY. She currently holds a variety of other certifications, including AFPA Nutrition and Wellness Counselor and Personal Trainer, STOTT Pilates Advanced Mat and Intermediate Reformer, PNF Stretching, Nutrition for the Female Athlete, Pre and Post Natal Pilates, and Athletic Conditioning on the Pilates Reformer, to name a few. Laura’s DVDs are available at her website, Tarbell Pilates.