Does height affect running?

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?



  • 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). image
  • My friend's terrier is faster than me! image
  • Naah - theres some really quick short arses around.. image
  • 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.
  • Paula's definitely not tiny and nobody could accuse her of being slow. But some of the African and oriental marathoners are child-like, so it doesn't have anything to do with size.
  • 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.

  • 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'.
  • But surely the shorter your legs are, the faster they have to move = more effort?!
  • 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

  • JoolskaJoolska ✭✭✭
    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...
  • 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)
  • 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..

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

    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!  image

  • 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 image

  • OOOOH carrot....I bet you check out other peoples shopping trolleys don't you?image...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!

  • Redpanda, I don't look in other people's trolleys, but I do watch what they are unpacking on the conveyor belt if they're behind me! image 

    Pace depend on what I'm doing, only do two treadmill sessions a week, one 5k recovery run on Mondays starting at 12k and gradually climbing to 13k, then one interval session which tonight was 1k warm up, then 6 x 500m @ 13.8k with 200m jog recoveries. Outdoors can vary.

    All of my last races run were PBs, which can only be a good thing! 10K 47:20 (Sept 2008, 1 week after marathon) 1/2 mara 1:40:15 (April 2009) full mara 3:42:22 (April 2009) - am really looking forward to doing my next 10k race to be honest, see how much quicker I have got image 

    I'm not really fast, but I'm getting faster. And it's not because I'm tall!

    For what it's worth, being tall does have it's benefits. As there is more of us, we get to eat more just to maintain our weight! image

  • image D2D, I know w.hat you mean - there is a woman who wins alot of the local races round my neck of the woods, she is taller than me and probably a good 2 stone lighter. I have been a stone lighter before and barely ate to keep at that weight!  Struggled to keep size 8 trousers from slipping off my bony hips, but probably couldn't run half the amount I do now.

    Now, where was the rest of that easter egg? Oh.... hold on.... I ate it image

  • WOW are super fast!  Half your luck.  Have you been running long time?? You should be very pleased with those times....lucky thing. 

    I tried those Yasso things yesterday and thought I was going to die...I was as red as a tomatoe and sweating buckets!  Someone stopped to ask me if I was alright at one point (that often happens to me actually...shows how bad I must look LOL)...I suppose it's the only way to improve is it?  How long before any benefit????  I smoked for years and years and gave up just under a year ago, so not great!

    Oh dear, I have just been to Pizza Express on account of the Orange Wednesday offer! It's not worth cooking when its that cheap....but I should not be so weak!.....Pass the Ben and Jerry's!

    I know what you mean about these elites......they look so waif like, especially some of the Chinese athletes, they look like little girls, but I guess some of it is down to genetics, and we are built least I am!

    On a completely different subject....I had to look really hard to see what the picture was on the original posters avatar.  Is it just me, or at first glance, does it look like something else?  Maybe its just my filthy mindimage


  • I'm 5' 10 and 12 stone, no wonder I'm slow dragging my tall, lard arsed self around all the time!
  • Pah

    I'm 5'4 and I'm over 12 stone. It's not my height that makes me slow it's my weight.

    If I was 8 stone then I'd be a damn sight faster. However I don't want the lifestyle that goes with being 8 stone so I'll just have to eek what small gains can be made out of training.

  • I know, you gotta have a life eh?  Saying that, I would like to lose about a stone, but I just can't seem to discipline myself!
  • lets not bring BMI into this puleeze image  A bunch of us discussed this on another thread recently and concluded that anyone who does the sort of exercise that most of us on here do will not record a BMI that is accurate.  BMIs are based on a statistical norm - and lets face it "norm" nowerdays means couch potato.  James Cracknells BMI has him as being clinically obese (just to give a slightly extreme example).

    As for tiny people - any of the Fetchies posting on here may have met/seen TinyTia - she is well under 5' and still a damn good runner.   Not sure what she did last Sunday at FLM but looked strong when she went through the 19 mile mark.

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