Does height affect running?

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29/04/2009 at 13:58

I only ask as, whilst running at 10.5 kms per hour speed on the treadmill yesterday (which for me feels pretty fast - I'm 5'1") a 6 foot plus lady was running on the treamill next to mine at 11.8 kms per hour with, what appeared to be, far less effort than me! I normally run 10-11 minute miles outside but am trying to increase that with some 'speed' treadmill work.

Anything over 11kms an hour feels like almost sprinting to me, yet there she was gliding along gracefully going much faster! I felt like I needed to take 2-3 steps for her every one! But yet, elite marathon runners aren't especially tall are they?

So, how much does stature affect running ability? Or doesn't it?

PSC    pirate
29/04/2009 at 14:00
not sure it makes any differnce at all.  Most of the elites are relatively tiny.  Long limbs = long levers = more work....  so us stumpy people are better off (in my view).
29/04/2009 at 14:01
My friend's terrier is faster than me!
cougie    pirate
29/04/2009 at 14:05
Naah - theres some really quick short arses around..
29/04/2009 at 14:06
just watch Usain Bolt running 100m - at 6'5" the experts reckoned he should not be that quick as he takes a long time to get out of the blocks versus the stocky muscled sprinters........but when he gets going his stride length just eats up the ground.........

so yes, height can be important but you still fundamentally need to be able to move your legs quick - and that comes from your genes and training.
29/04/2009 at 16:06

the chinese athletes are "children" rather than "child like".   i think that was established after Beijing. 

Which is actually called Peking.  Bloody political correctness gone mad, I tells ya.  Who ever heard of crispy beijing duck? 

They'll be changing "Bombay" to "Mumbai" next, just to keep some other foreign johnnies happy.

Good Queen Vicky will be spinning in her grave.

Kryten    pirate
29/04/2009 at 16:22
I'm 6ft 4 and I have had a few "it's easy for you, you have long legs" comments. Not only are these remarks untrue they have left me emotionally scarred, as people clearly don't respect my hard work. But don't worry I am seeking compensation through the courts. 'Where there's blame, there's a claim'.
Edited: 29/04/2009 at 16:25
29/04/2009 at 16:23

Mumbai mix, anyone?

29/04/2009 at 17:30
But surely the shorter your legs are, the faster they have to move = more effort?!
29/04/2009 at 17:34

nah, the longer your legs are, the more effort it takes to move them, so it balances out

plus taller people are heavier, so more weight to carry, so it makes a difference

29/04/2009 at 17:34
If Haile Gebrselassie (sorry, can't spell today) wasn't about my height (5'2") and weight but the fastest marathon runner ever, I might agree with you...
29/04/2009 at 17:36
i think that the 6 foot tall lady on the treadmill was just a lot fitter than you!  sorry!  (sounds like she might have been overstriding too, if she was taking one step to your two.  so you'll have the last laugh, when her knees and ankles fall apart)
29/04/2009 at 17:36

It's not necessarily your stride length that helps, but the cadence and the power of your stride. Like PSC said, longer legs giver th problem of longer levers, cancels out the potential benefits of a longer stride..

29/04/2009 at 18:20
Just think how quick Padams would be over 26.2 if he were a mere 6ft...
29/04/2009 at 18:22
Stop it, you're taking away my excuse for being slow (5'2" and short legs to boot).
29/04/2009 at 18:24
Does that mean that I can use being tall as an excuse for being slow too????!  !!....I don't think there is ever an easy answer to this one.
29/04/2009 at 18:48
Excellent, I shall in future put my slowness down to my long legs
29/04/2009 at 19:42


I'm 6' tall with an inside leg of 34" and I think its harder for us tall ones to run. I end up taking small steps just so I dont have to lug my leg that little big further each time. 

Whilst at school my best friend and I were running the 100m sprint, Me the tallest in the school and she the shortest.  When we'd finished the teacher was crying with laughter.  She said it looked like I was going in slow motion whilst my friend was a cartoon charater on speed!!!

Think there may be pro's and cons to both short and long legs, but will always blame being a plodder on my height!! Its nothing to do with being unfit! 

29/04/2009 at 21:06

Smaller people weigh less! I'm not really tall, 5'8", but I've got 10 stone of me to haul round races. I'm sure if I was 8 stone, and the same level of fitness, I'd be much quicker (and if I strapped a 2 stone backpack on, I'd be much slower)

I was on the treadmill tonight next to a short chick, I was running way faster than her (and sweating considerably more) - but that is because I'm fitter than her. Sorry if that sounds like I'm bragging, but that's the crack. My warm up speed was still 3k per hour faster than what she did her 10 minute run for, that speed to me was pretty effortless.

BTW, I don't normally look at how fast people are running on the tready next to me, unless I catch them looking at my speed in which case I look at theirs

Edited: 29/04/2009 at 21:06
29/04/2009 at 21:18

OOOOH carrot....I bet you check out other peoples shopping trolleys don't you?...I know I do LOL!!

I hear what you are saying Carrot, I am a bit taller than you but about half a stone heavier, and I like you am sure that I would be much faster if I was lighter.....I bet you are really fast??  What is your pace???

Do you not think its relative though Carrot?  Someone who is 5 ft 1 won't weigh as much but its all in proportion????  I don't reckon you could equate it to a back pack on though LOL!!  I think one of the main hard things it is being heavier is going up hill, you really notice it then....whereas these 7 stone whippets....well, that's different!

This is really interesting.......Am still hanging on to my excuse for being slow!

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