While it can seem like the easiest thing to do to improve your running times is to spend more time hitting the pavement, this isn't always the case. Pilates can be a great way to improve your running time as well as make running more comfortable and fun. Here are some ways that pilates classes help running.
While it can seem like running is mainly driven by your legs, your core also plays an important role, particularly in uphill runs. The lower abdomen needs to switch on and do a lot of work, and unfortunately, if the muscle is not strong enough or simply fatigued from over-training, it's easy for the lower back to jump in and try and do all the work. This can lead to lower back strains and injury if not careful, as well as leading to dropping out of races or dropping pace due fatigue. Pilates works on strengthening the abdomen to protect the lower back during runs.
If you run off-road, it's important your hips be flexible and absorb shocks as the terrain changes. Most training focuses on the larger muscles of the hips as well as large leg muscles, whereas pilates also works on the small muscles of the hips. This allows you to have more flexibility and easily absorb impact, which can improve performance and minimise your risk of injury.
Having a strong core allows you to carry your body more efficiently and have a more stable posture throughout the race. By keeping to a stable and efficient stride, you can often do longer distances or push yourself to run faster over shorter distances. This is extremely useful for runners looking to improve their endurance for longer distances or time efficiency for shorter distances.
Equally, stiff muscles cannot accurately convey feedback to the rest of the muscle group on how to respond if there is a change in terrain. Pilates can also help by loosening stiff muscles in the legs and abdomen so that they can respond to changes appropriately.
If you are a runner looking to improve your running performance and minimise your chance of injury, it can be a good idea to add regular pilates classes to your training regime. They can help you improve your core stability, hip flexibility and overall running efficiency so that you can become the best runner you can possibly be.