Skip to Content

How to Combine Pilates and Running + 5 Amazing Workouts

Combining Pilates and running is a recipe for success, regardless of your training goals. Pilates are an excellent addition to any runner’s training plan. These types of exercises can serve as cross training, an additional cool down or strength workout for runners.

Is Pilates beneficial for runners?

Pilates is incredibly beneficial for runners. This form of exercise is designed to improve core strength and concentration, which can encourage proper posture and mind-body connection. Runners can build incredible awareness of their body through the practice of Pilates.

In addition, combining Pilates and running can help prevent muscle imbalances and prevent injuries during training. Pilates help improve both physical and mental strength, stability and overall balance on the run.

Can you combine Pilates and running?

It is absolutely possible to combine Pilates and running. Practicing both involves a bit of a balancing act with the schedule, but there are many different ways to incorporate them both. The amount of Pilates versus running that you complete each week will vary based on your training goals as well as your schedule flexibility.

What is Pilates?

Pilates is a type of exercise that is similar to yoga, but has an emphasis on the body’s core. It was originally created in 1923 by Joseph Pilates. During World War I, Joseph Pilates developed this style of exercise as a way for soldiers who were bedridden to rehabilitate from their injuries.

After moving to New York City from Germany, Pilates began to gain popularity and morphed into the more refined classes we see today. Pilates focuses on small, refined movements that serve to strengthen the core and mind-body connection.

Pilates focuses on six core principles: concentration, control, center, flow, precision and breathing. Together, these principles help narrow the focus of each workout to create the beneficial strengthening work of Pilates.

Today, Pilates classes are offered in two different forms: Matwork and Reformer classes. Mat classes can be done anywhere – at home, work, the gym or in a classroom setting. They often involve stability balls, foam rollers and resistance bands, but can be completed without any extra equipment. Reformer classes utilize the Universal Reformer machines and can get quite pricey.

Pilates and running together are a great combination to stay physically strong, prevent injuries and improve athletic performance.

Benefits of Pilates for Runners

There are so many benefits to Pilates for runners. The purpose of Pilates – to strengthen the core, mind, and overall balance – coincides nicely with a runner’s training.

Runners don’t need to fork over money for fancy Reformer classes to reap the benefits either – simple matwork Pilates is all it takes to improve your running in a multitude of ways. Here are some of the most impressive benefits of combining Pilates and running.

  • Improves core and hip strength
  • Promotes proper running form and the ability to maintain it when fatigued
  • Helps prevent common running injuries like Runner’s Knee and IT Band Syndrome by improving alignment and stability
  • Improves balance and helps avoid muscle imbalances
  • Increases running power by strengthening muscles that are often neglected
  • Enhances running endurance
  • Provides strength to run faster
  • Improves mental strength and control
  • Helps minimize recovery time and encourages the body to recover more efficiently
  • Improves existing weaknesses and imbalances
  • Supports flexibility and joint mobility with age

These are just some of the benefits of combining Pilates and running! Once you get consistent with your practice, you’ll likely begin to notice more and more improvements in your running. Most runners notice a few areas of weakness that they weren’t even aware of until they begin Pilates.

How to Combine Pilates and Running

Maintaining a running schedule is quite challenging and time consuming in and of itself, and most runners find themselves overwhelmed by trying to add yet another activity to their training schedule.

However, doing Pilates and running doesn’t have to involve a bunch of extra time. Here are a few simple ways to combine Pilates and running in your training.

  • Add Pilates to a running day to minimize extra training days
  • Avoid practicing Pilates the day before a long run
  • Start by adding one Pilates workout per week and gradually increase if desired
  • Start with 15-20 minute Pilates workouts after or before a run
  • Be sure to keep one full rest day each week
  • Listen to your body as you increase training load and adjust if necessary

The beauty of Pilates is that is that, unless you desire a Reformer class, it can be completed anywhere with little to no equipment. In addition, Pilates is low impact by nature, so adding it to your training doesn’t increase your risk of injury.

Most Pilates workouts are 30 minutes or less, so aiming to add one Pilates for Runners workout each week won’t require a great deal of extra time. However, the benefits will be plentiful and it likely won’t take long to notice a difference in your running.

The Best Pilates for Runners: Workouts, Exercises & Resources

Since most mat-work Pilates workouts don’t require additional equipment, they can easily be completed right at home. This makes it easy to follow an online workout or one from an app.

While there are some Pilates subscriptions available, there are many excellent workouts and resources available for free. Checkout some of our favorite Pilates for Runners workouts.

20 Minute Pilates for Runners | Well+Good

Pilates for Runners | 15 Minute Routine

Pilates for Runners | 30 Minute Routine

30 Minute Pilates for Runners

Pilates Anytime

If you’re looking for a one-stop-shop when it comes to workouts, Pilates Anytime is a fantastic resource. This website contains thousands of workouts, organized by style, equipment, length, focus, and more. The subscription costs $22 per month, which can be worth it if you plan to regularly practice.

Pilates Exercises for Runners

  • Scissor Kicks
  • Bridge with Single Leg Kicks
  • Side Leg Lifts
  • Leg Circles
  • Marching
  • Plank with Leg Lifts
  • Clamshells

Combining Pilates and running might feel like unnecessary work when you’re focused on a specific running goal. It’s tempting to spend all of your time and energy focusing on long runs, speed workouts, strides, intervals and more.

However, by doing so, you might actually be increasing muscle imbalances and leading yourself to overtraining. Something as simple as adding just 1-3 Pilates workouts per week will strengthen your body, mind, and prevent future injuries and burnout.

Try Pilates for runners today to see just how much your running improves!

More Pilates for Runners: