"Jill, Pilates is going to help you loosen up the tightness way more than daily stretching or yoga, it's dynamic stretching, it will help balance your hip, it will make your core stronger which will make you a more efficient runner...." yada, yada, blah, blah, yak, yak....week after week.
A couple years ago, I used to go to a pretty cool Pilates place downtown called ... I don't know what it was called, the name has escaped my pea-sized brain... but the place used the reformer Pilates machine (which always made me think I was walking into some sort of torture chamber. It actually sort of was). The place came highly recommended from an ex-Bronco football player I worked with and it was incredibly cheap ($11/hour visit) and I could drop in, as needed.
But the thingie helped my hamstring. A lot. And, as a perk, really strengthened my core.
So I thought it was time to actually listen to the PT and go back. But I didn't want to drive downtown and my uber expensive gym has a couple mat Pilates classes each week (Free! Well, "free" with my uber expensive membership) so Monday was Pilates day.
I walked into Pilates class, at 10:15am on a Monday morning, with about 50 others (really? At 10:15 on a Monday?), fully decked out in my brightest pair of Nike Tempo Shorts, grabbing one of the communal mats (gross!) and plopping my out-of-Pilates-shape bod right near the front so I wouldn't miss any of the instructions. Yep, I was always one to sit in front of the class so as not to miss a word the teacher said. Just call me super-geek!
The instructor, Janelle, was incredibly fit and in phenomenal Pilates shape. Her leg rose straight up in the air and made a perfect damn T-shape.
Me and my tight hamstring raised somewhat in the air resembled more in the lines of the letter 7 (yes, that is my actual leg, taut hamstring and all. Please ignore the junk on the floor and doesn't everyone lean their ironing board against their dresser?)
Because I walked out of there without limping and clinching my hamstring and glute, which had become the norm lately. I think it's helping. And since that class two days ago, I've been implementing some Pilates moves after every run and I am noticing that I am not nearly as stiff. And my 11 mile run today was literally, hamstring annoyance-free. YES!
Here's some perks of Pilates for runners I found on the web:
- Prolongs running career
- Builds core strength for improved efficiency and endurance
- Increases flexibility and range of motion
- Restores natural posture and alignment of the body
- Improves stability and balance
- Corrects imbalances in the body reducing the risk of injury
- Increases stamina and endurance through proper breathing techniques
- Builds upper body strength without adding bulk
- Increased concentration and mental focus
- Less stress and tension
- More efficient respiratory and circulatory systems
- Builds running efficiency, breathing and endurance.
- Improves Running Performance
- Week inner thighs
- Twisting or dropping hips
- Tight calf muscles
- Tight hamstring muscles (YAY for Jill :))
- Tight hips
- Tight IT (iliotibial) band
- Excess movement of lower back
- Feet or knees rolling inward
I'm thinking Pilates is going to be my new best friend for awhile. Or alcohol. One of them is bound to get that leg slightly more vertical! Now, if we can just find a solution for my aching feet....
In other running news:
- Not much.
- I cut my mileage back a little last week - I just feel my body isn't ready right now to be in the 60 mpw range without some consequences later. And I'm not mentally ready to deal with it all right now. I had a pretty decent 50 mile week and that's better than a crappy 60 mile week. For now.
- I had a nice long chat with my neighbor, whom I ran with on Sunday. Seems my whining and complaining about my inability to run a decent pace and rack up the mileage were starting to grate on his nerves. I can't imagine why, though....who doesn't want to hear that same crap over and over? So he sternly reminded me that really, I haven't been running consistently more than a small handful of months and to look how far - really - I have come in this amount of time....and that this whole getting back into some sort of place where I left off long ago is going to take more than one marathon training cycle. I hate it when other people are right. I'll touch more on this in the upcoming weeks as the marathon draws closer, but in the meantime, if you hear me complain about my pace or my lack of endurance - please yell at me to shut UP!
Week 11's numbers:
Run: 50.18 miles
Swim: 1.93 miles
One last word....seems the consensus is that, YES, we in blogland DO want a holiday gift exchange again this year so look for that post early next week. YAY, something else to blog about other than my pitiful pace (did anyone yell at me? :)).
Run strong, my friends!