Why you should think about your posture when running

Louise Humphrey is our Pilates expert for the Run Mummy Run Community Run Club in association with ASICS. These blogs are exclusive to RMR CRC members for a few months before being made public, so if you do want to get expert advice on your running, as well as a training sessions, expert Q&As, access to exclusive kit and much more, join the club today! Louise provides some wonderful advice and practical tips as part of the RMR CRC. In this new blog, she explains why you should think about your posture when you’re running. 

Do you ever think about your posture when you’re running? It can affect your running, especially when you’re getting tired.

Have you ever seen a photo of yourself running?

Okay, we never like them, but take a look at your upper body. Where are your shoulders? How rounded are your shoulders?

When we run and get tired, we forget all about our posture; we slump forward, tense our shoulders, our breathing become more laboured, invariably getting slower. Everything is harder and our technique suffers.

Pilates is a great way to improve your posture by strengthening your core, shoulders, focusing on alignment.  Creating less stress on your body when you run. Plus, and this is a forgotten about bonus of Pilates, you become more body aware, so you know when something feels wrong.

In the photo above, taken during a recent Canicross race, I have just run up a steep hill.  Yes, I’ve had help getting up, but I am also coming back from illness so my fitness isn’t great. Can you see how my shoulders are starting to rise and I am rounding them more? As I carry on and become more tired, my technique falls apart and I’m more likely to injury or cause myself a niggle.

Top exercises for improving your posture

Here are some exercises you can try for improving your posture for running.

The Corkscrew

Standing Pilates exercises are a great way to focus on your posture.

The Corkscrew is a great for opening up the chest, releasing tension in your shoulders and mobilising your shoulders. Plus, as you are standing, you’re engaging your core and glutes.

  1. Stand in a neutral position
  2. Interlink your hands and place behind your head, opening up the elbows to feel stretch in the chest
  3. Raise shoulders to ears and then lower the armpits (check out my videos in the FB group if you don’t know about the armpits!) x 3
  4. Take your arms into the air then bring then down by your side, like you are taking a cork out a wine bottle
  5. Repeat x 3

This is a great exercise if you sit at a desk all day too!

Shoulder Bridge

This is a great exercise for runners.  Not only is it great for mobilisation of the spine, engaging the glutes and strengthening the core, it’s a great exercise to think about your posture and opening up that chest.

  1. Set yourself in your neutral position – lying down
  2. Open up your collar bone; there should be no tension here at all
  3. Lower the armpits, and if it helps to open up the shoulders then face the palms upwards
  4. Start peeling the spine off the mat as you breathe out, focus on keeping the tension out of the shoulder area, ensure the core is engaged
  5. Hold in the bridge position at the top as you breathe in and check there is no tension in your shoulders
  6. Place each part of the spine back onto the floor. Now this is where the shoulders can come forward so be aware and try and keep the collar bone open and relaxed
  7. Repeat x 10

Plank With Knee Drops

The plank – don’t ignore it! This is such a good exercise for runners.

As well as improving core strength and pelvis stability, the plank also improves and strengthens shoulder stability.  Important for helping improve your posture.

  1. Start on all fours with your toes tucked under
  2. Lengthen one leg, ensuring you tuck the tailbone under; engage the glute before lengthening the other leg
  3. Ensure you’re in a neutral position and don’t feel this in your lower back (if this is too strong for you then drop to your knees)
  4. Slowly drop one knee towards the floor, keeping your pelvis stable, then repeat on the other leg. Knee drops x 6
  5. Lower knees to floor and stretch

Remember your posture plays an important part in your running technique. To keep running longer with more energy, then core training with Pilates for Runners is really important and doesn’t need to take a lot of time. 10 minutes before or after your runs or as part of your crosstraining is all that is needed regularly.

About Louise

Louise is the founder of Studio 44 Pilates. She offers a 10-minute Pilates membership that allows you to do Pilates daily in your own time with one of the 10-minute Pilates videos. Or for more accountability joining one of the live 10- or 30-minute Pilates classes online. Louise, who is 56 years old, a mum, a wife and dog mum, has been teaching Pilates for over 20 years. With her Pilates experience, she is able to combine her Pilates knowledge to help runners stay strong, flexible and reduce the risk of injury. As we age, we need to change the way we train to help our changing bodies. Doing Pilates regularly allows Louise to get out of bed in the morning not feeling stiff and be able to carry on doing the things she likes, such as running.

Find out more about how Pilates for Runners at Studio 44 Pilates can help your running, get you stronger and keep you running longer: Studio 44 Pilates

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