Working in such a active community here in Bend Oregon has given me great experience working with runners of all ages. Besides the obvious gain of a stronger core and increase in flexibility, here is how I've found Pilates can benefit runners.
1. Balance. The very nature of Pilates exercises encourages not only strength, but flexibility of the entire body. The nature of running's repetitive movement often encourages movement dominance, which can throw off an individuals balance. Pilates challenges the body in all ranges of motion, often isolating the stabilizing muscles. Practicing moving in all ranges of motion will provide perfect cross training for the body.
2. Breathe. Breathe control is the foundation of pilates. Breath patterns are taught to engage muscles in such a way that provides the most connection with the core muscles. In Pilates, we focus on filling the lungs throughout the session using the diaphragm and while keeping abdominal control. The breathing techniques learned in Pilates translate into all running methods.
3. Alignment. Often times I will have running clients come into the studio with similar "stuff". Tight hamstrings, hips and psoaz are all common body mechanisms that can cause hinderances in long term running and yet are simple fixes in a pilates environment. The reformer is named for its amazing ability to show us where the clients body holds dominances and weaknesses, thus allowing us to counter with strength and bilateral training. We can then establish goals for the individual.