A lot of runners and triathletes have heard about Pilates but might be unsure why they would need to do it. In this article we discuss with Dr. Eoin Everard of www.everardpilates.com five key reasons why runners might try adding Sport Pilates to their routine.
1. Reduce Injury Risk
Consistency in training is massive. Keeping your body healthy so that you can consistently train is the key to improving your times.
How Sports Pilates helps reduce injury risk
Running tends to really rely on the passive structures of the body (ligaments, tendons and joints). Rarely do you hear of runners get a muscle tear but instead we see regular occurrences of plantar fasciitis, Achilles tendonitis, shin splints, knee + hip joint pain etc.
Sports Pilates works the key muscles of the body that tend to become weak and lazy. By strengthening these muscles, we essentially “wake them up”. Now when running the muscles can help take the force when we land. This helps take pressure off the tendons, ligaments and joints of the body.
Secondly, running uses a small range of motion, Doing our Sport Pilates increases Mobility and Flexibility to help your joints long term.
2. Improve Running Economy
The Above picture shows that exercises like we do in Sports Pilates improves running economy. A simple question then is what is running economy and why is it important?
Running economy is generally accepted as one of three major factors in running performance. VO2max and a good lactate threshold being the other two. Running economy simply means how efficiently you can run at a given intensity.
Using a car analogy, running economy is how much fuel does it take to go at a certain speed. You could have a great engine that is efficient but if the tires are not pumped up it will burn a lot more fuel.
It is the same with our bodies.
If we leak energy, through a weak core that does not keep us in the ideal posture, inadequate leg strength that doesn’t allow us to push off the ground correctly, or tightness in our joints that makes it harder to move smoothly and efficiently then we will not get the most out of our performances. Doing our Free Trial of Sports Pilates can show you the moves that you should be practicing.
Having a strong core allows us to move forward as efficiently as possible. The first picture shows me running with poor core and hip strength. My joints are twisted and my body is nearly fighting itself so I am losing forward momentum (I also got a hip injury from running this way but its fixed now). The second photo I am more inline and all effort and energy is going where it should.
The second element to running economy is good mobility in the joints. If you are very stiff then it is harder to move your joints thus taking more energy. Think about a rusty chain on a bike, it is harder to cycle. Just running can cause us to tighten so it’s important to do some exercises each week (my goal is 45 minutes per week) to help you move smoother. This is the goal with Sports Pilates to get you stronger and moving better so it helps with your running. We also have foam rolling, mobility and massage ball routines as bonuses to keep you loosey goosey!
3. Greater Overall Health
As we touched on in the first two points, running on its own doesn’t necessarily improve overall health. It is great for cardiovascular fitness, burning calories and psychological wellbeing. However, the repetitive actions can cause us to tighten and stiffen our joints. Sports Pilates works on getting you moving better and stronger. This counteracts any negative effects of running. So, you get the great CV fitness of running and the muscular strength and joint mobility of our Free Trial of Sports Pilates.
4. You won’t do it yourself!
If you are anything like me or other runners you won’t do this on your own! I know I will always go for a run, no problem. But I won’t do Pilates unless I am being checked in on! We have a group and regularly check in every week to stay on top of it. This way you get in the habit of doing what you know you should be doing!
5. Sports Pilates is designed for Runners
Not all Pilates is the same. Sports Pilates is designed for runners. This means we learn how to activate and work muscles on the ground but then transition to your feet. I design and perform all our Sports Pilates classes. I have a PhD in Human Movement, I am a chartered physiotherapist and I am a multiple Irish international (sub 4 min miler, sub 14 min 5k and sub 30 min 10k) and Over 35 3K European Champion.
I use all my experience with running and my profession to design the Pilates most needed for runners to avoid injury and stay healthy. We change the focus every week. There are so many different areas that need to be worked on. Each week in our 8 week course is different with a different focus. This way we build overall strength and become fully functional.
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