• Sara Rounce, TWFF Pilates

My Top 7 Pilates tips for Runners

Updated: Nov 12, 2019

Incorporating Pilates into running is a great way to keep that good posture and maintain core & pelvic floor health. With the lovely Spring weather of recent weeks and the London Marathon now approaching, it seemed an appropriate time to talk about running and Pilates.

As a Pilates Teacher who also loves running, I spend a lot of time thinking about my core and posture to try and create a better running style. Whether your distance is a mile or a marathon it is always good to think about what position your body is in and what it is doing.

So what do you need to consider when you run to protect your body from injury and get the best possible technique?

Here are my top 7 tips starting with the feet and working upwards:

1. Foot Alignment - Try to run with feet parallel and facing forwards (no turning out!) with the weight around the outsides of the heels to keep your arches from dropping.

2. Legs - Make sure you aren't holding any tension before you start. For instance, if you are a kneecap gripper then let them go and run with soft knees to prevent jarring.

Perhaps warm up with a slow gentle pace at first or do a few leg stretches (Hamstrings/gluts/hip flexors/quads/calves/ankles).

3. Core - Really important to use your core when you run! It protects your back and gives you strength from the centre of the body. So as you run check that you are connecting pelvic floor (visualise tailbone drawing to pubic bone) and Transverse Abdominus (tightening between the hipbones) to keep a good central support system.

4. Breathing - How do you breathe correctly so you can keep this core connection too? The key is to widen the ribcage as you inhale (visualise breathing into the back) rather than using the belly. This type of breathing will help keep you energised & focussed too.

5. Shoulders - Drop those shoulders! If you hunch up and in turn cause compression around the neck you will seize up and feel stiff afterwards. Another tip - swing those arms keeping the shoulders low - running is not just about the legs. Your arms do a lot to help you too.

6. Head position & alignment - Gently keep the chin tucked in and keep the back lengthened by imagining a thread drawing you up to the ceiling. Again just to ensure that you keep compression to a minimum and you don't get neck/shoulder problems.

7. Stretches & Warm Down - Remember to give yourself time to warm down after your run has finished with a few stretches - this will help rid the body of lactic acid built up in the muscles. Try to keep moving around after your run too so your muscles are less likely to feel sore.

So these are my best tips to think about - see how many you can apply next time you put on those running shoes! Happy running!

If you would like more info on any of the above or how to do the stretches mentioned, email info@thewellwomanfitnessfoundation.co.uk

Good luck to all Marathon runners this year!

(Sara Rounce has been a Pilates teacher for 14 years, specialising in Womens Health & Fitness, and has enjoyed running for over 20 years. She claims it is in her blood as her father has run over 50 marathons!)

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