I have personally enjoyed leisure as well as competitive road running for many years and have
experienced first hand injury resulting from muscle imbalances or faulty movements patterns.
Like many injured runners, I was sidelined from participating in the sport for quite sometime and
was desperate to find relief. In 2009 I decided to try Pilates and it is here that I discovered the
many benefits and relief from a chronic injury.
As a Pilates teacher and an avid runner, I am keen to emphasize the benefits of Pilates. Pilates can
benefit runners in many ways; below are some guidelines that I find beneficial:
Mind to Body Awareness- I strongly feel that having conscious awareness of one's body is
paramount in terms of understanding or addressing faulty movement patterns which predispose us to injury. Pilates places a strong emphasis on this.
Core Stability- A key focus in Pilates is on ‘core stability'; having the correct control or
placement of the head, shoulders, pelvis and spine. All movements in Pilates are initiated from
a strong or stable core. I personally found this to be advantageous for myself as runner believing
that emphasis should be placed on the legs! This is where many runners go wrong.
Encourages Ideal Alignment- Pilates exercises focus on correct alignment of every body part,
both statically and dynamically. This is especially crucial for runners who are often plagued by
hip, knee, and foot injuries.
Develops Healthy Movement Patterns- Pilates encourages healthy movement patterns, for
instance, correct sequential control of the spine. Work is also focused on stabilizing and
controlling movements while releasing unnecessary tension or areas of restricted movement.
Sufficient Time to Heal- While it is beneficial to include the principles or elements of Pilates to
running, I can personally attest to the fact that we need to allow sufficient time for injuries to heal.
Pilates is a wonderful complement to running along with many other sports. The next time you
venture out on a run endeavor to remind yourself of the principles taught by your Pilates
Article written by Georgia Wharton, Pilates Instructor and Runner