First run of 2024

Today is the first “normal” work day of 2024, and I left the house at 8:45am and ran 7.75 miles along one of my typical weekday morning routes. The temperature was in the upper 30s with a stiff NW breeze. I had two pieces of egg bake and coffee at 6:30 and a protein/spinach smoothie at 8:20. I wore my usual Vibram V-Runs, Tuli heel cups, wool toe socks, calf compression sleeves, New Balance running pants, Under Armour long sleeve athletic shirt, Patagonia running jacket, headband, and light gloves. Atypically, I didn’t take any of this gear off during the run — usually, I end up removing at least the gloves. Must have been the chilly breeze. Several things of note:

  • I spent a few minutes foam rolling my problem right hamstring prior to the run, something I haven’t been very good about doing.
  • I ran with Strutz metatarsal pads.
  • I made a slight biomechanical adjustment (see below).

Recently, my heels have been telling me that something is off with my gait. I’ve been dealing with a bursitis-like issue on the left side, but there’s some soreness on the right side as well. I have a theory that I’m not flexing my ankles enough, which is causing me to heel strike. Today, I made a concerted effort to keep my ankles loose, letting the forefoot drop when I lift the foot, so that I land more on the forefoot and the arch absorbs most of the impact. I found that when I did this, it seemed easier to engage the hip and glute muscles to help support the running motion, both my right heel and right hamstring were happier, and I felt more stable, particularly when running downhill. I wore the Strutz pads mainly for my left foot, and had no discomfort on that side at all, nor were the pads all that obtrusive, although I’ll say that my goal eventually is to not need either the pads or the heel cups. We will see how things go. While this wasn’t my fastest time ever, it was a really good run, I had plenty of energy, and I was able to maintain a high average cadence of 183 steps/minute.