Does Hair Slow You Down Running

When it comes to running, every little detail counts. From the type of shoes you wear to the clothes you choose, every aspect is carefully considered to ensure peak performance. I’ve often wondered about the impact of hair on running speed and efficiency. As someone with long hair, I’ve personally experienced the struggle of keeping it in place during a run. So, does hair really slow you down when running?

The Science Behind Hair and Running

Research on this topic is limited, but it’s widely believed that hair can create drag, especially in high-speed and long-distance running. Long hair, when left loose, can act as a mini parachute, catching the wind and slowing down the runner. This can be particularly noticeable during sprints or when running in windy conditions.

However, the effect of hair on running speed can vary depending on the individual and their hair type. Curly or thick hair may create more drag compared to straight or thin hair. Additionally, factors such as hairstyle and hair length play a role in determining the impact of hair on running performance.

Personal Experience

As someone with long, thick hair, I’ve experimented with various hairstyles to find the most suitable option for running. I found that tying my hair in a tight bun or braid significantly reduced the disruptive effects of wind resistance during my runs. It not only made me feel faster but also eliminated the distraction of hair constantly flying around my face.

Professional Athletes and Hair

Professional runners often opt for practical and functional hairstyles to minimize the impact of hair on their performance. Many female athletes choose to tie their hair back in a secure bun or braid to maintain focus and minimize wind resistance. Looking at top athletes, it’s clear that they prioritize efficiency and comfort when it comes to their hair during races and training sessions.


While the impact of hair on running speed may not be extensively studied, personal experiences and anecdotal evidence suggest that hair can indeed slow you down when running, especially in specific conditions. Finding the right hairstyle that minimizes drag and distraction is crucial for any runner looking to optimize their performance. So, next time you head out for a run, consider how your hair might be affecting your speed and make the necessary adjustments to ensure a smoother and swifter experience.