Why runners should also do Pilates
The benefits of Pilates are widely known - improved flexibility, muscle strength and balance. And if you're a runner, it's the perfect partner - just ask Pilates instructor and runner Sara Rounce.
If two sports were meant to go together it’s running and Pilates. Running is fantastic aerobic exercise, but for ultimate body health we need to balance it with strength and stretching. Hello Pilates.
Sara Rounce from The Wellwoman Fitness Foundation is a Pilates instructor and also a runner. She’s combined both for more 17 years, and during that time she has experienced the benefits that Pilates training has on her running – very little injury, feeling stronger, knowing how to stretch and move in-between runs and understanding how much Pilates and running complement each other especially with running technique.
Pilates works on the alignment of the body, the breath and the core as well as all over strength and mobility work and training the body to move correctly. All those things that are important for running as well.
In 2019, Sara ran her first ever marathon. She describes it as her biggest ever challenge – but she trusted in her body and in knowing what it could do.
As well as improving mobility and strength, particularly the stabilising core muscles, Pilates will also improve your breathing control.
“It was an amazing journey of discovery about what my body and mind were able to achieve,” she says. “There were highs and lows, and most of the training was extremely hard. But I had confidence in my body’s ability, and my awareness of alignment and core strength meant a lower risk of injury.”
“My Pilates training helped me believe that I could run that distance injury free.”
Here are a five of Sara’s favourite exercises for running:
Single leg Squats
This exercise will help to strengthen the legs and train the glutes to work instead of over using the knees
The bicycle is an exercise that is great for mobilising the leg and establishing good leg movement.
The back extension exercise involves lying on the stomach and rolling up onto outstretched arms. It’s great for opening the mid and upper back and for creating better posture when running.
This is a simple exercise in which you lie on front, with your heels together and toes out-turned. Then simply tap your heels gently together.
An exercise that’s great for opening the hips and helping to strengthen the gluts.
Sara has been a qualified Pilates teacher since 2003 and has a wealth of experience in teaching all levels and abilities. She teaches classes in Haslemere, Elstead and Hindhead which resume on Mon 17 May. She also teaches from her private studio in Liss.