A lot of runners, especially beginners, usually think that all you need to be good at the sport is to run consistently. However, that’s not always true. While it is vital to run almost daily, if you aim to achieve great results as a runner, the reality is that many other kinds of training will also benefit you on your journey and will help you become a better athlete overall.
Those include lifting weights, doing mobility workouts, and yoga. But in recent years, more and more people have started to wonder whether Pilates falls on that list as well. So, in this article, we’re going to talk about whether you should do pilates as a runner and what are the potential benefits you might experience.
Now, without further ado, let’s get started.
Should Runners Do Pilates?
Every self-respecting running coach or blog (like Pace Passion, for example) will surely recommend that every runner engages in pilates at least once or twice per week. But before we can get into the specifics of why that is, let’s first talk more about Pilates.
Many people think that yoga and pilates are one and the same thing because of the fact they see it as a sport where you’re just made to hold poses and stretch. The reality, however, is that Pilates has a completely different background, and it’s nowhere near as ancient as yoga. In fact, it was developed in the 19th century in Germany by Joseph Pilates, who developed this training technique during the First World War when he was interned with other soldiers. After the war ended, he moved to the States with his wife Clara, started his first gym in New York, and his new system quickly became a hit with dancers.
Nowadays, pilates classes have their own specific sets of exercises, which are changed according to your level, and their main goal is to improve core stability and encourage better posture. Some classes involve a Reformer machine, while others are done on mats with different pieces of equipment, including resistance bands, foam rollers, and even stability balls. The whole point of doing Pilates is to get better at moving your body – its fundamentals are concerned with aligning the body, working on breathing, and centering (working on core stability).
Why Is It Recommended for Runners?
If we have to give the quickest possible answer – it’s simply “it will make you a better runner.” In 2018, Plos One published a study revealing that runners who took a 12-week pilates course (which required them to do two one-hour sessions per week) showed significant improvement in their 5k record. Additionally, to help improve pace, pilates is also known for helping athletes develop core strength and stability, two factors crucial for developing a good running technique and avoiding potential injuries.
Most people have slight muscle imbalances in their bodies, and it’s completely normal since we all have a dominant arm and a dominant leg. But when you run long distances and train for many hours on a weekly basis, these small imbalances may cause problems. That’s due to the fact that doing repetitive movements can be damaging to your joints and muscles, and that way, even a small adjustment in your posture or your core strength can make a huge difference.
When Should Runners Do Pilates?
If you run long distances fairly often, you might be wondering how to schedule yet another training session into your already packed plan. Well, the good thing here is that Pilates is a relatively low-impact activity, so you can fit it in whenever you have the time for it. If you choose to do it before long runs – it won’t make them feel more difficult; in fact, it might prepare your muscles for the session by stretching and engaging them.
If you choose to do Pilates after your run, you have to prepare for the session to feel a bit more difficult – not only because your body is already tired but also due to the fact you’re feeling mental fatigue from spending hours training. In the best case scenario, you should incorporate Pilates sessions on your days off from running – that way, you will have the time and energy to put your focus into the workout and get the most from it.
Hopefully, by now, you know that pilates and yoga aren’t one and the same thing and that, if you’re a runner aiming to get better results, Pilates sessions have to become a must in your daily training calendar. After all, having strong, injury-free bodies that are able to get us through races and that help us achieve faster times are what we all aim for as runners and pilates is just another helpful tool on that journey.