We're still enjoying warm weather in Chicago, which means it’s still time for sun, fun and, if you’re like me, training for the upcoming race season.
Whether you run early in the morning or late at night to beat the heat, you should also be making some time to cross-train.
Pilates is a great workout on its own, but it also offers multiple benefits for runners. I’ve broken down the 4 best, most common benefits you'll reap if you practice Pilates as a runner.
We need lots of oxygen to run. Also we need to get rid of carbon dioxide. Inhale, exhale, repeat - we all know how to breath, right? There's actually more to it. Pilates helps with mindful breathing, making you more in-tune with your body.
Mindful breath brings a natural rhythm to your movement, which increases the efficiency of your run. It's important to practice your deep breathing techniques when you are not running. The mind-body connection learned through Pilates takes concentration at first. Eventually it will become part of your normal breathing pattern.
Pilates builds up the back muscles evenly and helps elongate and align the spine for better stability. Pilates forces you to focus on stability from the top of your head down to the tip of your toes. This translates to proper running form and more efficient running.
We should all stretch before and after we run, but sometimes we don’t. I’m guilty of it. Especially when I’m trying to get an early morning run in! Pilates for runners will provide progressive stretching that can help to reduce soreness and prevent injuries.
We endure constant impact while running. Having a strong core allows your legs and lower back to better deal with that impact. Pilates works your deep core muscles, the muscles that most of us don't even know are there. Your strong core will help distribute the force of running more efficiently instead of just relying on your major leg muscles.
Having a strong core also stabilizes your hips, which protects you from impingement and alignment issues (we have all felt that tightness and pain in one or both hips after a long run!).
Preventing an injury is so much better than rehabbing one. Run smarter, run better.
Anne is an avid marathon and ultra-marathon runner. She moved back to Chicago from San Diego and is excited to bring her unique west coast style to FFC Old Town. You can sign up for her Pilates for runners group apparatus class Tuesdays at 6:30 AM and 7 PM or Fridays at 6:30 AM. For more information, email [email protected]. Plus, check out Anne’s moves on her Instagram account here!