How Pilates Helps Runners, Julia’s Story
How Pilates helps runners – Julia’s story
At the age of 30 I was working full time as an aerobics teacher and personal trainer. I also loved to run and would regularly clock up a mileage of 100 miles per week. At the time I was living in Hong Kong and step aerobics was all the craze (we are going back 20+ years here!) so huge impact on all my joints.
Pilates helped Julia go from devastation to 50 miles a week.
Fast forward a couple of years and I started to get a niggle in my hip. I carried on running and teaching but gradually found it more debilitating to the extent that I was constantly in pain. I went to see various physical therapists, none of whom were able to help. The general consensus was that, as I was approaching my mid-thirties, I was getting too old to run anymore.
I was devastated as running was (and still is) one of the main loves of my life. So for the next couple of years I carried on, getting some relief from treatment but it was always temporary and I became more and more frustrated.
Towards the end of the 90s, what was then Holmes Place Barbican (now Virgin Active), brought in Pilates guru Michael King along with four reformers which they placed in the corner of the yoga studio in the basement. I decided to give it a go and was hooked from the first time I tried it. Having spent years “going for the burn” it was wonderful to experience a different approach to exercise, that lengthens muscles, instead of shortening and tightening them all the time. Very quickly I started to see how Pilates helps runners; the pain in my hips and legs for so many years began to subside.
As Pilates became more popular, the reformers were moved into a room of their own next door to the yoga studio and Michael King brought in a newly qualified Pilates teacher called Liz Bussey. I found working with Liz really inspiring and decided that as Pilates had changed my life so much that I would train to become a Pilates teacher myself.
So fast forward another 15 years and I run 50 miles per week pain-free and hope to still be running for at least another 15 years. I practise Pilates every day as well as teaching my private clients. I remain passionate about Pilates because it works. I have found it helpful on so many different levels. I have never been able to meditate but when I am practising Pilates, I am in the moment and forget everything else. I feel stronger and leaner and most importantly, it enables me to continue running.