When training for marathons or any distance running events, many people substitute the gym for additional miles on the road. While the added mileage may benefit your endurance training, it may also lead to more injuries. When the musculoskeletal system cannot meet the demands of increased mileage, compensation and poor technique creep in, creating instability and the potential for overuse injuries, as the body attempts to cope with the weakness and control the problem. Compensation initially helps us perform better, however, over time this will cause poor biomechanical changes within the body creating more problems than worth.
The perfect running technique should feel effortless on the body and should allow us to move with efficiency and ease. In order for this to happen, the body must support our musculoskeletal system and transfer the forces for optimum efficiency (Elphinston 2008).
To improve biomechanical efficiency, the body must work from a stable core to distribute the forces from pounding the pavement. Often the shoulder and hips rock from side to side in response to leg movements, which disperses energy sideways, so unnecessarily compromising stability (Ryan, 2008). This places stress on our joints causing muscle tension and increases the likelihood of injury!
Common running injuries we see all too often:
- Achilles tendonitis
- Patella femoral Syndrome
- ITB Syndrome
- Posterior compartment syndrome
- Patellar Tendonitis
- Stress fractures
- Shin splints
How Pilates can help your running
Correct movement patterns begin with a strong core made up from our core stabilizers, creating a stable base for our limbs. The key muscles involved include transverse abdominus (TA), multifidus and psoas major. Another important running muscle is Quadratus Lumborum (QL), which is responsible for maintaining pelvic control.
- Pilates can help you identify and recruit these stabilizing muscles at the correct time, avoiding unwanted compensatory movements and improving efficiency and power.
- Pilates can improve your flexibility, posture and breathing patterns to improve the efficiency of your technique.
- By including proprioceptive exercises, Pilates can improve the stability of your joints and their ability to withstand impact of pounding the pavement.
So if you are currently training for a marathon/road race, come in for an individual assessment and learn how an individual Pilate’s program can help facilitate your regime to improve your overall fitness performance!
– Carrie Marshall