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The London Marathon, the 2nd largest annual road race in the UK, is almost upon us, and for those who are taking part, preparations will almost certainly be in their final stages. There is far more to preparing for a marathon than practising running long distances. For many runners, particularly those who tackle long-distance races, Pilates can form a valuable part of that preparation.

Here are just three of the benefits that marathon runners can gain from adding Pilates to their training regime.

Improve core strength

Pilates exercises help to promote core stability. It is a common misconception that the core is simply the abdominals, but it also refers to the stabilising muscles of the back, shoulders, hips and neck. Having strong lower abdominals and hip stabilising muscles is of particular importance when running in order to ensure that excess stress is not placed through the lower limb joints and lower back because this can lead to injury. Correct engagement of the muscles of the core promotes a better running position and helps with upper body relaxation.

Injury management and prevention

Prevention is the best treatment for any running injury, and this is one area where Pilates can really help you. If you are prone to one of the more common running injuries, like achilles or calf issues Pilates can also be incredibly beneficial in your injury management and rehabilitation. It will also help you to identify and then correct any imbalances that could put you at risk of injury. Practicing movements through the correct patterns will assist you in retaining the correct muscle engagement.

Promote recovery

There is no denying that long-distance running can take its toll on the body, no matter how much training you do. Pilates promotes low-impact exercises that assist with blood flow which will help you to reverse any of the negative side effects of running, such as muscle tightening and soreness. It will help with muscle lengthening and can also improve joint flexibility and mobility. Pilates is the perfect cross-training choice for anyone recovering from a sports injury, offering gentle assistance without putting undue stress on the joints. It can also help decrease recovery time, getting you back to your running faster.

If you haven’t already added Pilates to your training regime, then it really is never too late to start. Why not explore one of my classes and start to enjoy the benefits of Pilates when preparing for marathon runs or recovering afterwards?