Why should runners do Pilates?

Running Mobilisation & Stretching,Videos: Running Injury Prevention & Care,Videos: Core, Back & Upper Body
Why should runners do Pilates?

Some years ago, for a number of reasons, I found myself unable to run. Pretty devastating for the owner of a running shop. I did the round of sports practitioners, trying to find a solution but whenever I tried to return to running the back pain would return with a vengeance. So, I needed to figure out what my body was trying to tell me. 

Pilates had always sounded so dull; repetitive exercises where you didn’t even work up a sweat, what was the point of that? However, I was desperate and Pilates cropped up whenever I talked about back pain issues.  So, I found a great independent gym (Nordic Balance in Piccadilly, London) and signed up for a few classes.

A month later a visiting friend said, “You look great, have you grown?” At 36 that was somewhat unlikely! But I was doing Pilates every week, loving it – to my surprise – and feeling stronger. 

It took some months, the addition of some gym sessions for muscle building, but later that summer I found I could run again and wake the following morning without chronic pain. Fast forward a bit and I was back to marathon training and I recorded a PB 12 months later.

Running is the best aerobic exercise but for ultimate body health we need to balance it with strengthening and stretching. A strong core translates to a more economic and energy efficient stride, less chance of injury and a better runner :-)

Press play for an introduction to Pilates exercises and see for yourself...

I would always recommend that you find a good Pilates class with a teacher you connect with. If that’s impractical for now, here’s a guideline for the exercises in the video:

  1. Heel Taps: 10 repetitions on each side
  2. Crunches: 5 to 8, remembering to hold for a few seconds each time
  3. Side Bends: 6 each side and don’t rush it
  4. Glutes: 3 reps holding each for 30 secs.
  5. C-Curve Twist: 5 reps
  6. Thread the Needle: 2 times each side

Pilates is all about the small movements, so remember:

Precision of movement
Control of movement
Deep breathing rhythm


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