It's Sassie!

Some advice please. When I walk, I have an extremely long stride (I'm 5' 8" with fairly long legs). When I run, my strides are much shorter and I seem to bob up and down quite a bit! Should I try to lengthen my running stride, or just do what comes naturally. When I've attempted it in the past, my leg muscles (all over really) ache terribly (at the time, not afterwards). Should I persevere?

(creeps away quietly, embarrassed at treading on such hallowed turf)


  • What's Kaine Pritchett got that I haven't? BOING!!!
  • Sorry Sassie, but I don't talk to women who are 5'8" and have long legs.

    Actually, haven't a clue as to what to suggest! But well done for braving the Training thread anyway.
  • Thanks Laura. Glad someone cares!
  • Okay - a non-expert view:

    Running will put a lot more strain on your legs then walking.

    Any change in running action will mean using the muscles in different ways, which might explain the soreness. I've foudn this changing trainers - the new pair may actually be better but until my muscles get used to the change, I get more sore than I'd expect for the distance. I'm not sure if that's a recommendation to keep trying it or not!
  • Welcome Sassie

    My legs are not a basis for offering you advice.

    My wife kicks me if I talk to ladies with long legs.

    Not a clue how to help, I just do what seems natural. suspect your "run" is longer than you think.

    we're not ignoring you
  • Hi Sassie, another jealous short (5.3") female of your long legs! I'm not sure of the answer either, only that it's easier to do what comes naturally than to overstride. If you do some speed work that is supposed to help with stride length.

    Sorry not a terribly helpful lot today are we!
  • Is this any use - it's copied from the Q&A's in the bottom right corner :

    Q I’m very new to running, but I love it. It makes me feel great. However I’m worried that my running style is all wrong. I seem to bob up and down when I run with more upward than forward momentum. I’ve been told to think ‘form’, but what is good running form?

    A It’s wonderful that running makes you feel so good. At the moment this is more important than worrying unduly about your running style. As they say, accentuate the positive!
    Having said that, there are some simple steps you can take to improve your style, or ‘form’. The first thing to do is to try and feel as relaxed and economical as you can when you run. If you worry too much about your style you’ll probably begin to feel inhibited and tense, and that will just make things worse.

    It’s quite difficult to drastically change your running style, but here are a few ways to tweak your form for the better.

    Firstly, keep your forearms at 90 degrees to your upper arms, and roughly parallel to the ground. Keep them close to your body so that your hands and forearms almost clip the top of your shorts as they swing. Don’t let your hands cross in front of your belly button because it will twist your torso. Rest your thumbs lightly on your index fingers with your palms facing each other. Pretend you’re holding a crisp in each hand and that you have to run without breaking them.

    Run tall, with your head upright and your hips tucked directly under your torso. And try not to lean too far forward. Also, don’t overstride. You want to use a short light stride (long striding often means that each foot stays on the ground too long and acts as a brake which slows you down).

    If you’re in a club, see if any of the coaches are well -versed in the use of plyometrics and bounding. These simple exercises will help improve your power, strength, and speed, and if you persist with them, they should also help to modify your running style.

    Finally try relaxed hill running. Running up a hill (it doesn’t have to be steep) can help improve your knee lift and the use of your arms.

    But most of all, just remember that first point. Running makes you feel good!

    —Bud Baldaro, RW contributing editor and elite athlete coach

  • Sassie - I'm no expert by any means, but I think this was covered somewhere in the mega-HRM thread on General. I seem to recall Ron having an equation whereby you could work out whether your stride length is efficient or not (based on leg length and stride length). I think he also said that provided that it is efficient, you shouldn't try to change it as that can result in injuries.

    If you post on the thread, Ron will probably tell you what page it was on!

    Hope that helps.
  • Thanks Cougie - never realised how bad my running style is - another thing to worry about when I'm out there ;o)


    I read in Runner's World sometime that long strides aren't a particularly efficient way of running. Does it feel uncomfortable when you run (without thinking about it)? If it does then maybe you need to explore further. If it feels okay then I wouldn't worry. As long as you're not getting injured your style's probably fine.

    There's a really good female runner around at the moment who has a very awkward way of bobbing her head about which has attracted loads of criticism but as she's won everything she's touched this year maybe she doesn't have to worry either !!!
  • Sassie,

    I'm Ignoring you Mrs Snail is watching
  • Sassie - don't know a lot about it, but from what I have read and can remember, lengthening your stride can be counter-productive in terms of speed and efficiency. Reaching the foot out in front of you acts as a brake.

    To increase speed you would be much better to increase cadence - the speed of footstrike. With training and improved speed the stride length will increase anyway - you'll get a stronger push-off as your foot leaves the ground due to greater muscle strength. But that will happen naturally. Trying to cheat by deliberatly lengthening your stride could risk injury.

    Indeed, any change in running style from what feels natural could risk injury. Those aches are telling you something. Either get a qualified coach to look at your style, or best of all, don't worry about it unless you are aiming to join the elite, just do normal training.

    But, I stress it's a long time since I read that article. Hope this is helpful but maybe someone else out there knows more.
  • Sassie,

    It's ok she's gone now otherwise she gets techy if I look at women with long legs.

    I was only checking you stride pattern out honest!!

    Ok. Your original thread. Am I correct in assuming your long long legs hurt in excess of the normal aches, pains and general fatigue most of us suffer from after a run (Distance does not matter)
    Do your legs hurt when you only try and "correct" your running stride pattern? In which case follow the advice already givern and don't worry about it.
    Are your running shoes correct for your running style.
  • Sassie,
    I'm also 5'8'', with long legs, and I think I can picture how you're running. (I also have a longer walking stride, and a shorter running stride.) Are you making an effort with your vertical movement? If not, I suppose this is just your normal running style. When I run, I concentrate on keeping everything above the waist fairly stable and still, while my legs propel me forward, not upwards. In this way, I don't get more than the necessary vertical movement. Does any of this make sense?!!
  • Now this is what I call a thread. Any other ladies with long legs??.

    I'm surprised at you Sassie, but great work fella!!

    (Hildegard, I'm trying to picture it, I really am!!)
  • Hildegard. None of it makes sense, but somehow it doesnt matter.

  • Oops. Just realised. I'm on Training.

    I'll go now.
  • Well Chimp, it's not surprising really is it? Monkeys don't run like people! Come to think of it, a monkey gait must be quite difficult.

    But if you're having trouble picturing the running, then forget it, and just remember the long legs. Ha!!!
  • At a mere 5'7 I run with a pretty short stride, I find lengthening it makes me go faster, then being real tired real soon. So I straighten my back pull my tummy in and run as I feel comfortable. After 13 miles or so it tends to be unsightly but there you go !!!
  • After 13 miles most of us look unsightly Daisy!
  • All you tall ladies make me feel really dumpy! I'm only 5'5 and have a short stride
  • Wow! I like the training thread. What a nice lot you are! I think the message I'm getting is, "If it ain't broke, don't fix it."

    Yes, it does hurt if I try and take longer strides so I'll just carry on as I am.

    Thanx everyone.

  • Yes Sassie, you don't get any of those unwanted and inappropriate remarks over here, we have to be on best behaviour. (Chimp hardly ever visits, training talk upsets him I believe).
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