Tall runners?

I've been suffering with shin pain now for 7 months and as I'm 17 and 6ft 4 I've been told it has a lot to do with my growth spurts and the fact I'm still growing.

Is it just me, or do you not see many tall runners? Do tall runners have a disadvantage? Have any other runners my height or taller on here had similar issues where they've had to take lots of time out (like me) to allow their body to sort itself out?

I know Usain Bolt is 6ft 5 but obviously he's a sprinter.

Just an interesting topic to me!


  • StiltsStilts ✭✭✭
    Torch if you're 6ft 4 at 17 sounds like you need to give yourself a break, your body has been busy doing a hell of a lot of growing! Don't get overly concerned about taking time out from running and use it to improve say your swimming or cycling instead which will be less stressful for your body. Take a break now if you still want to be running in 30 years time (and I'm even older than that lol)

    Btw - I'm quite tall for a girl (5ft 9) but during my LSR on Sunday a guy ran past me who was so tall I barely came up to his shoulder - gave me quite a shock. He seemed to be motoring along very comfortably ...
  • I think it makes you more injury-prone, but I know some very tall runners - I used to train with a guy who was 6ft 3 - now 6ft5+, and my ex is now about 6ft2 ish and quite a fast runner (33min 10k), although he had problems with his knees whilst he was growing.

  • Stilts- my body won't even let me swim or cycle. I feel horrendous! My potential is being wrecked by my height... it sucks.

    Dancing in spikes- I too have had Osgood-Schlatters recently.

    Damn about the injury-prone bit! image 

  • Why can't you swim? I'd have thought you'd be good to stick a float between your knees and just swim using your arms. Are there other problems you haven't mentioned here that make that not possible?

    Long lanky people can often have biomechanical issues due to just not having enough muscle to hold everything together correctly. I suspect that any minor biomechanical issues a tall person might have will more easily become a problem than would be the case for a shorter person, just due to the basic principles of levers and leverage. Reading through your previous posts about your injury, I had no idea you were so tall.

    I think Stilts has it completely right. You've been advised before that long periods of rest from running may be required and taking your height and obvious recent growth spurths into consideration I think that's even more relevant to you than it would be for a more average sized person.

    If I were you I think I'd spend some time - months not weeks! - on focused strength training. I think there's a real danger here that if you're not sensible and careful you could wreck yourself - for competitive running - for life.

  • Isn't this all a bit over dramatic? Height, weight, build is all relative. A 6' 4" person should just be a scaled up version of a 5' 4" inch person. No difference. Except the taller one has the advantage of a much longer stride. More weioght yes, but again, all relative to build and height.

    And yes I see lots of tall runners in races.

  • I'm a tall runner, nearly 6' 4". Also thin (weight 142 lbs). At the age of 64 I run an average of 35 miles a week and last year ran 10K in 42m 9s. So not bad for age. Tempting fate, I mostly stay free of injuries. I've never thought of my height as possibly contributing to any weaknesses which would make an injury more likely.

    The only downside of being tall that I can think of from my own experience is that a higher centre of gravity decreases stability on hilly, slippery or uneven cross-country courses and I'm relatively slower (comparing myself to club-mates) on these than in road races.

  • Runs-with-dogs- I was swimming nearly every day over Aug-Sept with no issues but then my gym membership expired. I went for my first swim in a month at the start of November and pulled my hamstring a bit. It's only just got itself sorted now.

    As for the bool buoy/float- I bought one as someone recommended it to me. After the first session I hurt my back and one week later it's still sore and aching now!

    Don't worry- I'm not going to start anything strenuous, i.e. just ignore my injuries and carry on running. I'm being very careful. My physio told me I could run again if I was careful but I didn't feel comfortable so stayed with the cycling but gradually the pain returned and lingered as soon as I stopped.

    But my point is- that if I have to take off a few months to rest- don't you think I'm practically losing potential? 7 months is long enough and I'm very competitive. I'm not a fun runner who runs for fitness alone- there's kids out there I need to catch and who never get injured. I'm miles behind.


    Graham L- that's an interesting perspective! Thanks for the response!

  • You may indeed lose some potential, I'm not sure. Ask your coach. I guess you have to weigh up the importance of beating a few other people right now against the possibility of doing yourself long term damage and being out of competition altogether a few years down the line due to not taking enough time out now. And perhaps even being out of running altogether too. You don't need to catch these other kids, you want to. There is a difference you know.

    At the end of the day though, it's your call as to how you want to play it. Are you going to to plan for the long term or the short term? Lots of young athletes take a long period off and return to the top of their game. Lots don't. Lots of people run through injury and don't seem to adversely affect their long term ability. Lots will try it and end up doing themselves real harm. You might never catch these other kids even without your current injuries. 

    In a kind of 'sell your soul to the devil' scenario, if you could run at national level - and win - but knew you'd be spending the next few years in leg braces and crutches, would you do it? I suspect a lot of people possibly would...

    Good luck with your recovery. I'm working my way through shin problems at the moment too. Though I DO just run for fun. image Someone on here recommended toe tapping exercises which I have just recently started. Have you heard of them? Search 'toe tapping shin splints' on youtube.

  • Graham a high centre of gravity would help rather than hinder - think of balancing a broomstick on your finger rather than a pencil image

  • runs-with-dogs wrote (see)

    You might never catch these other kids even without your current injuries. 



    It's a hard life isn't it? The fact you've got these injuries at 17 probably means you're not going to be the best anyway, for that you need a near perfect body physiology. It's tough growing up when people, teachers, are trying to be nice to you and look on the positive of everything, telling you you can do anything if you try, to motivate you, then becoming an adult and realising that you're actually just another ordinary schmuck, not really any better or worse than anyone else at anything and you just have to get on with it.

    So yeah, unless in the highly unlikely event that you're going to be a champion because you're injury prone, ie weak, then 7 months won't make any difference at all, besides you'll still be faster than 90+% of people probably.

  • you keep on getting injured even when swimming etc..... have you had a look at how you train.....everyone has to build up slowly and listen to their body.even more important when you are going through growing spurts.

    But you just seem to be tearing headfirst into everything you do.wanting to be faster each run or swim further or faster.......

    Its not suprising as at your age many youngsters have not learnt self control and patience...........

    sadly it seem that you might only learn the hard way after setback after setback..

    great runners are not made overnight ... they are made over years.some have an easier ride than others.........but without patience then none of them will ever make it

Sign In or Register to comment.