Why is Pilates Beneficial for Marathon Runners?

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All runners focus on strengthening their legs and their aerobic threshold but, too often, runners make the mistake of neglecting everything else. Running uses so much more than just your legs and your heart. Your core, which Pilates helps build in a uniform manner, is a huge part of running.

Your abdominal muscles include more than just the superficial “6 pack” muscles (rectus abdominis). As you can see from the diagram below, the abdominal muscles consists of the transverse abdominis, rectus abdomens and oblique (internal/external). This is distinctive from your core muscles. The core, on the other hand is your transverse abdominis, the pelvic floor, diaphragm and multifindi (diagram 2). All of these muscles work together when you think of “using your core.” In Pilates, we often refer to working and building the strength in our powerhouse, which is comprised of the “central” muscles – the abdomen and core muscles (described above), lower backs, hips and buttocks.

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Here are a few examples of how a strong core can help improve your running times and keep you injury free.

A strong core will help hold stabilize the pelvis. If your pelvis is out of alignment or unstable, you can become prone to injury. It can cause other imbalances further down the leg and may result in any leg issues (knee/hip) or low back pain. As you build your core, your abs will help you stabilize every time you make impact with the ground. This will reduce the need to overcompensate for imbalances and instability with other muscles.

Pilates will also help to increase flexibility, improve running posture and increase your power (as we focus on using the glutes and hamstrings in conjunction with the core).

While Pilates tones and strengthens, it simultaneously stretches. In every exercise you should feel a stretch and lengthening, which over time will help to increase flexibility in muscles. Pilates is well known for improving posture or helping to alleviate back pain. Every Pilates class or private helps to open up the front of the shoulders and to build the muscles towards the back of the body to hold the shoulders back. Lastly, we as mentioned above, the Pilates powerhouse incorporates the glutes and hamstrings. In every class, we work to build the strength in the glutes. Often students enter our studio not knowing how to “find their glutes.” We help students learn to activate them during Pilates classes, which translates to increased power outside the studio.

“I believe that a lack of core-strength and flexibility can create long term motor skills problems as the body continually adapts to find the path of least resistance and turns away from proper running mechanics.” -Terrence Mahon (Mammoth Lake Track Club)

Did we convince you? Take the guess work out of “am I doing it right?” and try incorporating one of our group Pilates mat class a week into your running routine. We offer a special “Pilates for Runners” class led by Christie, a marathoner and Pilates instructor at Endurance. This mat class focuses on building the core and is geared specifically for runners. Plus, it’s winter – the perfect time to gain strength for the next running season!

Stress Less at Endurance

Stress Less at Endurance!  Because for One Hour, all you will be able to think about is you!

Joseph Pilates called his method Contrology and according to him….

“The acquirement and enjoyment of physical well-being, mental calm and spiritual peace are priceless to their possessors if there be any such so fortunate living among us today. However, it is the ideal to strive for, and in our opinion, it is only through Contrology [Pilates] that this unique trinity of a balanced body, mind, and spirit can ever be attained.” Joseph Pilates

Want to take your mind off everything else going on around you- for an hour?  I will admit it- I seriously started doing Pilates because I needed at least one hour in my life on most days of the week where I didn’t have to think about anything else except exactly what I was doing with my body at that particular moment.  I couldn’t think of my grocery list or the 10 things I had to do when I went back to the office after my evening class.  Lots has changed since then, but I still use my Pilates workouts to get away from the rest of the world.  I can’t check my email, texts or monthly sales numbers when I’m backbending on the reformer.   I could do other forms of exercise session- spin, step…get on a treadmilll or elliptical and try and zone out, but everything I had to do or was worried about would creep into my mind.  That is certainly not the case with Pilates!

When students perform Pilates exercises at Endurance, we give them lots of direction as to how to move precisely and with control- there are no haphazard movements in a Pilates class.  Once we’ve established a certain level of control, we add in more flow and more moving pieces to control.  It’s the “mind over movement” that makes Pilates the ideal workout for stress relief.  During a particular exercise, you will be told how to do it, where to feel it, how to make it even better for your spine and overall physique.  Our instructors have taken years to learn Pilates in their own bodies and have plenty of practice “squeezing the juice” out of each and every exercise.  They when it is time to slow the workout down for precision and when to speed it up to flow.  Ever had a difficult time meditating?  Because you were trying to clear your mind and all those to-dos kept creeping back in?  We guarantee that for one hour, the only thing you will be able to think about is your tummy, tush and inner thighs working really hard to move your body in a more perfect and precise way in just about anything that you do outside the studio!  Come clear your mind with us and get a great butt and flat abs while you leave your cars by the door!

“Ideally, our muscles should obey our will. Reasonably, our will should not be dominated by the reflex actions of our muscles.” Joseph Pilates

Photo by Servidone Studios

Virtual Workout- YEAH!

VIRTUAL CLASSES!  Online and all the time?

How many times have you set the alarm to get up and out and there is a cold driving rain?  In the 40s, yet again in Boston this spring.  You can’t handle wearing your fleece lined running gear again!  Or, it’s your morning to stay with the kiddos while the husband gets to go to the gym?  Maybe, you just want to make sure you get in a decent workout while you are on vacation!  And there is NOTHING like Endurance when you travel.  Join us online for our Virtual Endurance classes!

Our classes are exactly like the classes that you would take in Boston at our studio, except for the fact that you can be in your pajamas in your living room!  We hold our classes on Skype and the instructor and other participants can see you working out.  Or not, if you prefer!  But, you always can see the instructor!   He or she will be looking at your form, providing the adjustments to make your workout more effective.  So, while you are suffering through your Tabata sequence in Julie’s 5:15AM Wednesday PAIN class, you know you are not alone!  Many of our students use our virtual workouts to get in an extra 45 minutes of Endurance intensity to supplement their regular gym and Endurance workouts. 

For your best virtual experience, follow the below suggestions!

Research the studio and the class that you are looking to take.  For example, Julie’s 5:15AM PAIN class requires a kettlebell, jump rope and several balls for participants to partake in the workout.  Most of the participants have taken private sessions with Julie at her studio and know how to adjust for proper form.  This class is a very challenging workout for experienced students with no injuries.  In contrast, Lauren’s Barre Boston class requires only a mat and a chair and can be taken by a student brand new to barre workouts!

Be sure to sign up in advance for the class so that the teacher can make sure that your Skype account is connected to his or her own in order that class can start on time!

For best results, use Skype on a laptop.  Although Skype has recently added the option to use an ipad or iphone, there still seems to be some issues connecting and these issues translate to less quality for the overall call.

If at all possible, attend an in-person class or private session at the virtual studio’s actual space.  While many corrections and directions can be given online, sometimes it takes a very keen eye to ensure that an exercise is being done correctly.  In something like Pilates Mat or yoga, small adjustments make all the difference in the world.  We had an experienced Pilates student who is also marathon runner and avid exerciser remark this week, “You know, when you do something even half right, it makes all the difference in the world.  I feel it so differently- it’s so much harder!” all because of one little adjustment.

Be very aware of your body and limitations.  Know when to push and when to back off.  Take water breaks and form breaks when necessary and listen to the teacher’s instructions, modifications and corrections.

Check out our Endurance schedule and look for the VIRTUAL classes!

http://www.endurancepilatesandyoga.com/schedule.html