Meghan Manaois is a badass runner and pilates expert, hailing from Southern CA. She tells us exactly how pilates can compliment your running.
So many of us lace up, step out the door, and hit the roads. We focus on mileage, our pace, or the scenery around us. As our paces quicken our arms might flail around or our strides might get too long.
Most of the time we are only vaguely aware of our body moving through space because our main goal is to hit the mile markers or the pace on our watches.
In Pilates the sole focus is on the slow, deliberate, and appropriate movement. Whether circling the legs separate from the pelvis or contracting the inner core to help stabilize a position, each movement is thoughtful.
Pilates teaches you how not to cheat, using sheer strength and will. It helps to identify those inner weaknesses in the stabilizing muscles.
From there, we can take it back to the roads! We’ll be able to identify improper movements while running and in so doing can then make minor adjustments to correct our form.
Commonly, as our running body fatigues, our posture slumps.
Often times we collapse in on ourselves, hoping instead that our legs will just carry us to the finish line.
What we often fail to recognize is that our body is a complete system. Once one part is compromised, the rest follows suit. If we lose our posture, our legs can’t function to their full potential because of added strains.
Pilates emphasizes proper posture during every movement. It trains the proper alignment of head, neck, spine, and pelvis throughout each exercise.
Strengthening those muscles through slow and deliberate movements will allow us to hold the same correct alignment through any run, no matter the distance.
One of the fundamentals of Pilates is the breath.
The breath is the central component to every movement. We often think of breath as something that happens to us, not something we actively participate in.
Yet, with thoughtful and controlled breathing, we can ensure that enough oxygen is getting to the appropriate muscles.
There are many schools of thought as to which is the correct breathing exercise for running.
Without weighing in on any one of those specifically, Pilates will bring awareness to yo ur breathing on a deeper level.
It will teach you proper deep diaphragmatic breathing that can oxygenate every muscle and relieve tension while running.
Between the improved body awareness, posture and breathing, consider Pilates a way to subtly, yet effectively compliment and elevate your running!
Running has been my passion my entire life. From age four when I ran down a cinder track in jeans and a t-shirt, arms pumping, trying to emulate my older brother.
Growing up a sprinter, form and technique were strongly emphasized. As I have aged, and recreational distance running became my norm, my focus strayed from form to miles.
That is, until the day when the first lingering aches and pains appeared.
Fixing these niggling issues has become a slight obsession of mine and that obsession eventually took me down the path of Pilates, honing in on the functional movement to target supporting muscles and to return to appropriate form.
Who knew I’d landed on the perfect combination of workouts?
And if you’re out of ideas for strength workouts, try this!