I started going to the gym regularly pretty much right out of college. Aerobics, step classes, water aerobics, yoga, cardio, and some weight training were the norm. For awhile, I had a personal trainer who kicked my butt at least once a week. When I started racing more, I cut back on the leg work. When I needed shoulder surgery to repair a torn rotator cuff and bone spurs, everything went. I started running again, but didn’t really add the weights back in until last fall. Even then, my weight training focused on arms, back, shoulders and abs. I worry over that IT band.
A couple of weeks ago, a friend hauled me with her to a Pilates class. I’ve done floor Pilates and wasn’t too impressed. This class involved the reformer. I loved it. And now I’m hooked. I’m also sore…very, very sore…deep down in those muscles you forget you have.
You think runners would have strong legs, right? That maybe we wouldn’t need to work legs at all. That’s what I thought, until Pilates. My quads are strong. The rest of my leg muscles? Not so much. I was embarrassed to find out just how weak my hamstrings and calves are. Let’s not even talk about abs. I almost crashed on the reformer, slamming back into the stopper so hard the loops came off their hooks.
I’ve decided Pilates will become part of my cross-training. Maybe if I do work my legs, and strengthen those hamstrings, hip flexors, and core, the pressure will be taken off my IT bands and I won’t have issues with them knotting up during long runs or races. Just when you think you know how your body works, you learn something. (palm to forehead, or as Little Man calls it, “Face-palm”).