How To Get Fit to Run
Running and aerobic training are good for our health, not only for our cardiovascular system but also our brains as blood flows more easily to this area. It’s an awesome way to protect your brain from cognitive decline as we age (think dementia and Alzheimer’s). It is also very good for keeping stress and anxiety at bay, think meditation in motion!
But the running injury statistics are very high and get worse as we age, so how can we minimise injury and enable you to get out there, start running successfully and enjoy it? We can prepare our body to run by creating adaptation through progressive load, i.e. GET FIT TO BE ABLE TO RUN!
How do you do this you may wonder?
With Pilates of course! Running a lot of mileage, especially with poor technique can quickly bring on muscular imbalances or overuse related injuries. Incorporating a discipline like Pilates into your routine is vital to prepare your muscle tissues with good strength, joint mobility and flexibility.
Speed, endurance and recovery are important factors to runners - so how can Pilates help in these areas?
The low impact nature of Pilates helps strengthen muscles e.g. building strength into your glutes to protect your knees or build calf strength to help with ankle mechanics
Pilates can assist with good breathing control, vital for improving runners stamina
Pilates is known for functional flexibility, which is the combination of muscle endurance and strength while increasing range of motion in joints. (Especially using the spring loaded Pilates equipment).
A strong core improves the runner’s posture creating better alignment, leading to more efficiency
Speed can be improved by having flexible, lean and strong muscles
Regular Pilates practice conditions muscles so they can recover better after a long run, sprints or hill work
There are many that you can do, including functional exercises like Squats, Lunge variations, dynamic planks and single leg work. But all good Pilates classes should focus on breath, muscular control, balance, coordination and strength while providing a full body workout.
Summary for good running :
Aim to correct muscle imbalances through better running mechanics and cross training
Focus on strengthening the hips and postural muscles
Include some core strength training for upright posture and good breathing
Decrease your risk of injury by adding in a dynamic warm up before you head out on a run and at the end, use a stretching sequence that covers the running muscles.