Pilates and running: the perfect complement

Pilates and running go together like gin and tonic, or Superman and Lois Lane.


Because they bring out the best in each other, they compliment one another perfectly.


Let me explain…

Pilates improves core stability to keep your running technique stronger for longer:

Pilates increases core strength and stability, and when all the muscles in your core are strong they can relieve stress and pressure from your joints (hip, knee, ankle and sacroiliac joint), which can otherwise be a real problem with running. What’s more, a weak core can also cause you to hunch over, ultimately leading to inefficient running form. Training your core effectively can help to keep your technique stronger and more efficient for as long as possible.

Breath control:

Pilates really helps with breath control as well as increasing lung capacity. This is done through postural awareness and learning how to fill your lungs with much needed oxygen. Deep, rhythmic breathing brings a lot of oxygen into the bloodstream, which really helps with running endurance.

Injury prevention:

Like Pilates, running uses your body as an interconnected machine, with every muscle group working together. Injuries occur when a particular muscle group is weak or is not in sync with the others, causing the rest of the machine to make compensations elsewhere. By creating balance across the body, the risk of injury can be reduced.

Active recovery:

Even running the loop around Penshurst can sometimes leaving me feeling like I’ve been beaten up the next day! I intersperse my Pilates classes with my runs so that even on my ‘rest days’ I’m still doing low impact exercises to keep the blood flowing around my body, which can really boost running performance by continually delivering fresh blood and nutrients to tight areas and connective tissues needing them.

Improves balance:

Pilates helps improve balance, which really decreases with age. We do a lot of balance work during our mytime classes, and now you know why! If you stumble when you’re running then strong core muscles can respond quickly and efficiently, and come to your rescue!

Improves flexibility and mobility:

Tight muscles do not equal stable muscles. Tight muscles are the opposite of what you need during a run. You need to have enough flexibility in your body to allow your joints to move at their optimal range. Good ankle stability can help hugely when running on uneven surfaces, and again, the balance exercises we do in our sessions are great for that.

Pilates builds functional flexibility. This means that Pilates is building strength and muscle endurance while simultaneously increasing your range of motion. A specific example would be the hip work that we do, which very much works towards improving your gait when running.

So, to summarise:

“It takes more than strong legs and lungs to be a good runner. Having a strong centre is essential for balance, flexibility, breathing and endurance”.

I’m hoping this has persuaded you to combine your Pilates with some running, or indeed the other way round. For the last couple of years there have been some

great Saturday morning sessions at mytime, which start with a range of good stretches for runners, followed by a beautiful 5km run around Penshurst Place, and then back to the studio for a 30 minute Pilates class specifically designed to complement your run.

Back by popular demand, there will be 4 such sessions again this summer:

Saturday 23rd June: 10am

Saturday 30th June: 10am

Saturday 14th July: 10am

Saturday 21st July: 10am

If you’re at all interested, then please do get in touch with Bea as spaces are limited.

I hope to see you there 🙂