Lets face it…Not all human beings are built for speed. There are some who acquire a natural talent for sport and then there are many who have to work extra hard at their sporting achievements. Even the simplest activity such as running is not a skill that all of us can all do well without causing injury.
What is Running?
Running is a complex neuro-muscular practice that requires awareness and gradual progression It puts an increasingly high demand on the proximal musculature of the hip as running speed increases. As you move faster contact time on the ground decreases, causing the calf to work as a stiff spring. Muscle-tendon systems in the foot and ankle need to be strong and tough in order to cope. Greater work is also needed to swing the hip and knee quicker in order to increase stride frequency. Going too hard too fast can often lead to early burnout and increases the risk of potential injury.
How can Pilates help?
Pilates is a system of exercises designed to improve physical strength, flexibility, posture and to enhance mental awareness. It is is a thoughtful approach to exercise where the client is taught via a series of visual, tactile, auditory and verbal feedback. Pilates can help identify what muscles are either long and /or weak as opposed to what is either short and /or strong which all contribute to risk factors associated with running injuries. Exercises such as sleeper or scooter on the reformer, which target iliopsoas, gluteus and hamstrings in an isolated fashion, can be a great way to start building capacity prior to incorporating higher speed and intensity movements.
We can’t say that Pilates can identify all risk factors but it is possible to say that Pilates can certainly contribute to a more positive outcome for your running health.
Venus Brutnall, Pilates Coordinator