We would like to welcome our guest blogger for the day – Mary Ann Briggs, owner of The Pilates Loft in Newnan, GA. You can read her full bio at the end of the post!
Run to Pilates by Mary Ann Briggs
Let me go on record… Unless being chased, I do NOT run. I LIKE runners…..I have many clients who are runners….. but am not one myself. With that full disclosure let me say this: I walk. I have walked 60-miles in 3 days, twice. I walked pain free, blister free and felt good at the end of my journey. I attribute all of that to Pilates and awareness of my “Core” while walking.
There, I threw that magical word “Core” out there!! Most of you probably thought “abdominal muscles”….and you are right, but your core is SO much more than that. So, here we go: Core 101. The core muscles include the transversus abdominus (the inner most flat muscle of the abs), the internal and external obliques (the muscles up the side), the quadratus lumborum (the QL connects your pelvis to your spine and a weak one can create common low back pain) and the diaphragm. “WHAT, the Diaphragm is part of my core?!?”, you might be asking. YES! The diaphragm provides the main force for breathing and breathing is key to a successful run. In Pilates, you work ALL of those muscle groups at the same time, the whole time…in fact, we like to say “all movement comes from the core”.
Many runners think that more running will make them a better runner. And yes, more running will increase your endurance, but if the body isn’t conditioned, if the body isn’t fluid, if the body isn’t centered, the runner becomes stagnant. Have you ever wondered why your hip aches after a run? Or why your shoulders are tight? Or you have tight hamstrings? Your body needs proper alignment and stretching in order to improve it’s functionality and achieve better biomechanics. Without giving yourself the tools necessary to improve, more running will only lead to…yep. You guessed it: More running. In the words of Albert Einstein, “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”
So how can you improve your fundamentals? I believe that Pilates can help the runner make changes to their performance and assist in increasing distance and speed.
By providing an assessment tool for overall flexibility, strength and balance, a certified Pilates instructor can help you find your best running posture and gait. This assessment is designed to provide insight to maximize improvement. Here are some of the things you will learn and develop from practicing the Pilates method in addition to running:
- You will gain awareness of good posture and the importance of a strong core.
- You will learn exercises that encourage uniform muscle development; decreasing the likelihood of injury.
- You will learn to emphasizing good form for maximum results.
- You will find that Pilates serves as efficient cross training by working all muscle groups.
- You will learn breath control and activation of the muscles of respiration.
- You will focus on your foot placement and how the foot strikes the surface when standing, walking and running.
- You will learn correct seated and standing posture.
For runners, attending to good posture can prevent pain and injury or simply make form more efficient. Some of the most common ways to achieve this are: to develop a strong core, run with the pelvis in a level plane (no anterior or posterior tilt), avoid dropping a hip on one side, keep the shoulders over the hips, open the chest muscles for maximum breathing, avoid lifting the shoulders, work on good alignment in the knee, ankle and foot.
The mat work of the Pilates Method is the perfect way for a runner to challenge your core, find stability in the pelvis and hips and create awareness of the foot placement. The Pilates Method will assist in the runner moving more efficient and increase endurance. Training the muscles of your core to work together and strengthening the core as a whole will improve your running and just as important, your recovery time. The mat classes are a fun, time manageable and convenient way to improve your overall physiology; plus, once you become consistent and fully understand the mat movements, you can do them ANYWHERE!!
We believe the Pilates Method can help runners improve performance! We are offering members of Moms Run this Town a complimentary half hour postural assessment and a $10 savings on any Group Mat Class package.
Mary Ann Briggs, Owner
The Pilates Loft – www.thepilatesloftnewnan.com
BIO – Mary Ann is a Pilates Master under the tutelage of Lolita San Miguel, the only surviving person actually holding a certificate from Joseph Pilates, himself. She was originally certified in the Traditional Authentic Pilates program. She has been studying and practicing the Pilates Method for 15 years and teaching for ten. She opened The Pilates Loft of Newnan Square 5 years ago and is proud to bring Joe’s work to Newnan. To learn more about The Pilates Loft, visit our web site at www.thepilatesloftnewnan.com.