Category Archives: Pilates

On how pilates can help with running

A little while back one of my friends asked me to comment on her running coach saying that runners should do Pilates to help their running experience… but the coach did not mention why. This was my reply: I can tell you that doing Pilates will teach you to breathe properly (focusing on diaphragmatic breath – i.e. breathe into your whole pelvic floor as you inhale (you should feel the breath/diaphragm create a dome downwards into the pelvic floor) and exhale bring the pelvic floor up… it’s not an obvious thing to feel but once you have, you’ll get those muscles to participate and the core will strengthen automatically (if pelvic floor activates, Transverse Abdominus (TA for short) will fire automatically – and this is your most important core muscle)… the breath will go into your thoracic area (ribcage) WITHOUT LIFTING THE RIBCAGE UP (this is also key – to help with that, start practicing breathing lying down, keeping the ribcage to the floor and putting your hand on your sternum (a little bit higher than between your breasts) to make sure that your ribcage doesn’t lift up towards your head… the air will then go wider into your ribcage and lower into the diaphragm… nowhere else to go. As for posture, what your running coach doesn’t say also is most people are running from the front, i.e. leaning a little forward and using mostly quads and hip flexors to stride forward. You need to strengthen the hamstrings and glutes to balance that out – doing bridge pose in motion is great for that – but add more challenge by raising your heels off the floor (on yoga blocks or anything stable) and focusing on dynamically reaching the heels towards your buttocks as you lift and lower the hips – if you do those two things, your posture in general and your running posture will improve :)

Have fun and look forward to hearing how you go… XO H