Pilates vs Running, they seem like worlds apart. On one hand you have the precision, control and detailed focus on body awareness of Pilates, on the other hand you have the ... precision, control and detailed focus of running! Oh wait - they may not be that different after all.
Great runners will tell you they are always aiming for that extra 1%. The extra 1% off their time, the extra 1% that enables their breathing to improve their endurance, the extra 1% of technique that prevents knee pain, shin pain and all the other niggles that plague runners. The question is how do they find this extra 1%? Running specific drills, time trials, routine and strength and endurance training can get you so far. However there comes a point where to improve your running you must focus on the nitty gritty details of your biomechanics. This is where Pilates comes into it's own.
The Pilates principles of;
- Core Control
- Lower Limb Dissociation
- Upper Limb Dissociation
- Head, Neck and Shoulder Organisation
all have a role to play in the perfect run technique. As any great runner will tell you, if you can't control your breath you won't last long on the track or course. If you're lacking in core control it won't be long before knee, hip and pelvis problems begin to plague your runs, changing them from an enjoyable pastime to a painful chore. With lower and upper limb dissociation you look more like a novice than a pro and without head, neck and shoulder organisation much of your well preserved energy will be wasted on holding you up right, and lost on your endurance and speed.
Still unconvinced? Picture your favourite runner, Usain Bolt, Shalane Flanagan, Rob Krar and think about what they look like when they run. Isn't there a fluidity and beauty to their movements like a well trained orchestra, each muscles, joint and bone performing perfectly to create a symphony of movement. How is it that they learn this coordination of power, strength and endurance seemingly without breaking a sweat? Pilates! They practice off the track what they display on the course. Complete and utter control and mastery over their bodies, an art form which doesn't come from repeating high knee drills or hammering out mile after mile of cross county track work. They take it one step further and break their movements down into simple hip flexion, spinal rotation, ankle flexion and so on and so on. Only by working on the individual parts can the whole become truely effortless.
If your looking to implement a bit of Pilates into your running programme might I suggest starting with some Pilates Studio work. The use of the equipment is a fantastic way to begin to reconnect with your core muscles and start to learn the basics of the Pilates principles. The push-pull of the springs replicates the spine like motion we are trying to recreate in running and there really is nothing better than slowing down your gait on the reformer and having the time to process all the unique movements your body goes through in each phase of your running cycle.
For more information about Studio Pilates work you can chat with our friendly reception team on 8544 1757