How Pilates Benefits Runners

Boulder is an extremely active city. Residents joke about the “three sport” rule—it seems that everybody in the area has at least three outdoor recreation interests. Whether it’s skiing or running, swimming or climbing, you probably have a few preferred ways to stay fit, active, and engaged in your community. To that end, Boulder has one of the most involved running communities in the country. Running clubs, training groups, and clinics are held most weekends, regardless of season, to help runners lengthen their strides and improve their form.


However, runners experience a remarkably high number of injuries every year. Knees, feet, ankles, and backs suffer from consistently pounding the pavement. In the worst of cases, runners may be out of commission for months on end trying to recover. High-impact sports are terrible for joints, and repeatedly bouncing from leg to leg for hours on end just sounds dangerous.


So, what’s the solution? Pilates, of course. The most obvious benefit afforded by regular Pilates classes is the ability to give your body a break from the high-impact intensity of running. Taking a day or two to stretch and breathe is just what your body needs to recover. With Pilates, you can continue your recovery while continuing to build muscle in a safe and productive way. Pilates equipment is spring-tensioned to provide both assistance and resistance, taking the impact out of your workout without sacrificing intensity.


Additionally, Pilates exercises combine both strength and flexibility, which is essential for great running form. Stretching before and after runs will never be enough to strengthen and support your muscles. If you’ve been running for years and can’t figure out why you’re not more flexible, you’re probably suffering from a lack of balanced muscle development. If you haven’t been stretching, Pilates will also be able to help you improve mobility. Pilates can also strengthen postural muscles, which are necessary for long strides and great running form. Balanced muscle development is the best way to reduce your risk of injury.


Finally, Pilates will improve your breathing habits. Intense cardio activities often make athletes forget good breathing form, which can affect performance. The more efficiently you are breathing, the easier it will be to pace your runs and maximize oxygen availability. Be incorporating Pilates into your regular running routine, you should see faster speeds, more flexibility, and better running form with fewer injuries.