Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Pilates + Running = Speed + Distance

Training for a marathon this summer? Maybe a 5K race? Whether you’re a marathoner, short distance or casual runner there is no doubt running is great cardiovascular work. But your body can take a beating and this can lead to muscle imbalances in the body that can sideline runners. Pilates can help balance things out and get you running faster and further.

WHY PILATES?
As a runner, you have great leg strength. However, you may notice that your hamstrings (back of legs) are weak. Your quadriceps (front thigh), inner thighs and hip flexors may feel tight. These imbalances in the muscles of the legs and hips can potentially cause pain and injury for runners, especially the knee, hip, ankle and foot.

PILATES EXERCISES WILL:
• Strengthen hamstrings, inner thighs, and gluteals, taking pressure off the front and side of the leg
• Elongate and align the spine for better stability
• Improve technique, flexibility and balance so you move efficiently
• Recover faster from injuries
• Increase range of motion in hips and shoulders
• Enhance concentration through focused breathing

The best way to know what your body specifically needs is to meet with a Pilates Instructor who will learn your weaknesses and tight areas, and develop a program based on those needs of stretching and strengthening.

But, in the meantime, here are some at-home exercises you could start today:
  1. The Hundred
  2. The Abdominal Series of five
  3. Single leg stretch
    Double leg stretch
    Single straight leg stretch
    Double straight leg stretch
    Criss-cross
  4. The Swimming
A balanced body will keep you out on the road, track or treadmill all season long; not to mention shave seconds off your times!

Written by Jocelyn Paoli
Stott Certified Pilates Instructor, Seattle Athletic Club Downtown
 
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