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I'm a 16 year old girl and I run long distance track. I am the slowest of the 10 girls who run long distance. While my speed has improved somewhat, it doesn't compare to that of the others. 

However, I noticed when I do a hip stretch on the other girls (pushing their leg back and rotating it), there's a lot of resistance and they can't even put their knee to their chest. When my hip gets stretched by the others, mine knee goes all the way to my chest and I don't feel anything. All of them tell my that I'm "so flexible". I also noticed that the girls with the most resistance (least flexibility) are the fastest. 

I decided to do some research on it and have found that some articles confirm that increased flexibility leads to decreased running efficiency. What are your opinions on that? Does anyone have any personal experience with this? 

I'm still going to work on getting faster, but I was curious if this was making it really hard for me to get faster, because I have a LOT of difficulty with speed, despite running for over 2 years. 

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I don't know if flexibility decreases speed but I would never recommend giving up your flexibility. You'll be old and crippled before your time. 

Flexibility in any sport increases your speed for sure! It'll give your hips more flexiblitiy, which means you can take longer strides with more ease. I can't think of a single sport where being flexible wouldn't help. 

I heard stretching immediately before running increases chance of injury I don't think being flexible makes you a worse runner.

You are flexible so your leg muscles are probably not specialized for running as you probably trained something other than running to be flexible.  If you stick to running you will specialize your muscles for running. You can be flexible and run well too if you continue to stretch. 

Make sure you focus on running with proper form, if you learn proper form you can start running with more ease and less injuries. Many youtube videos on this, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tx6x2cD6Y8Q.  If you haven't been running with proper form, if you try to run like this it will be harder because your muscles aren't specialized to run this way.

I'm not sure but I'm guessing that flexible people can run farther while less flexible people are faster.  It makes sense to me at least.  

I'm really flexible and I can run all day, but when it comes to sprinting I'm very slow.

It probably has a lot more to do with body type than anything.


Warm up, then stretch.

Good stability motors/form coupled with long runs and v02max efforts increase your speed over time. Aim for an increase of 5% weekly.

Jog with ankle weights of work leg muscles. Think like a sprinter :)

just do it

Thanks for all of your replies!
But here's the article I read it from :

I'm really confused. 

Interesting, that seems pretty solid evidence to suggest it is true.  Although correlation is not causation there might be hidden reasons making this the case other than flexibility hindering running performance such as: these runners have it so deep in their muscle memory that they shouldn't stretch certain ways to prevent injury that they do not believe they can stretch further. This would normally make better runners less flexible if this was the case. 

There are a lot of stretches one might think they can't do but they actually can because of the way their muscles are programed.  I was taught this recently, I didn't think I could touch my toes, I was barely reaching past my knees but instead if I point my toes first, then reach for my toes then unpoint my toes I can touch them, it was really surprising to me as it was really a drastic change in how far I can reach.     

Anyways I suggest you don't make excuses that you are just genetically a bad runner because you are too flexible or whatever.  Often people say to me yeah "I don't run because I am not built to run like you are" but I am pretty sure I am only built to run because its what I've been doing and they are just making up an easy excuse as I was one of the slowest in gym class at high school.  

Muscles take time to build, some of the other girls you run with might have been more active than you for a longer time.  If you keep running and consistently you will become better.   Also really whats your goal here to be the fastest girl in the world or just to get a good workout and move a little.

I wasn't going to use it as an excuse not to run or try to run, because I'm still going to try to get better. I was just wondering why I have such difficulty running fast. I've been exercising consistently since I was 13 (I'm 16) and running since I was 14. I don't see how I appear unfit despite really pushing myself for 2 years.

But I joined track solely to get faster. Not to be the fastest girl in the world, haha, but to improve on my own speed. And I'm really trying to get a flat stomach; Freelee made it out like running fast is the key to getting one, so I'm trying to run fast. 

OOOh, I think she meant sprinting, so running for speed not distance.  So it doesn't really matter how fast you actually are as long as you push yourself hard enough to get your heart rate up to maximum.

I do speed workouts on Mondays and Wednesdays, hurdles on Tuesdays (which requires speed), and distance on Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays. Sundays I do yoga/pilates and light bicycle riding. 

Have you incorporated any speed work training into your plan? My friends who have run boston all say speed work is how you get fast. Im a long distance trail runner and i dont do any stretching before a run. Just after and if i get any tightness i just foam roll. Good luck!



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