With The Vancouver Sun Run, BMO Marathon, Scotia Bank Half and Seawheeze coming up over the next few months, many Vancouverites have hit the pavement in an effort to get ready for the big race day. However, often it’s these last few weeks that many experience injury, especially after vigorous training schedules that emphasize kilometres, rather than kinetics.
That’s why yoga and Pilates are so crucial for athletes. Pilates helps to develop your stabilizing muscles and your center, which are crucial for proper running mechanics. Yoga combats muscle tightness, which is also important to biomechanics; if a group of muscles are too tight they can affect joints negatively which can lead to injury. Essentially, Pilates and Yoga help to balance muscles and improve posture, all of which help you run longer with less effort and less risk of injury.
Though it’s common to think the ‘core’ is just your abdominals, it actually includes all of the muscles in the lower trunk, hip flexors, and pelvis. The hip muscles are particularly important because they’re the catalyst to many running injuries. Tight or weak muscles in this area (hip flexors, psoas, glute medius, piriformis, etc.) can cause IT band pain, patella tendonitis (runner’s knee), and sciatica – just to name a few!
A simple but extremely effective exercise to strengthen the lower abdominals (including the pelvic floor) and encourage proper hip flexor function (using less hip flexors and more abs) are Knee Folds, demonstrated here by Jessica.
Bridging is another great one, as it strengthens all areas of your core and your hamstrings, which are very important for running. For an advanced position, reach your leg to the sky to make it a single leg version.
If your race is just a few weeks away, it’s never too late to start core & flexibility training with Pilates and Yoga. These will help strengthen and stretch your hard working muscles, which definitely deserve it! We have several classes that welcome all levels, including our 12pm Pilates Fusion from Tuesday to Friday, or our Beginner Mat Pilates class. For those looking for more 1-on-1 training, we offer private sessions as well.
Photo Source: weheartit.com