What to Do About Yoga, Sprinting and Hallux Limitus Toe Pain

Sit back, get comfortable, and let’s talk toes!

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I haven’t had a lot of problems with my hallux limitus recently because I don’t run as often as I used to. Interestingly (that is, if you find toes at all compelling), my left toe joint doesn’t bother me when I run sprints, whereas steady-state running causes it to get red, bulbous and angry like Trump after too much time in the tanning bed. So, if you’re someone who runs on occasion and has a hallux limitus problem, try doing sprints with walking intervals. Sprints are better for fat loss, too.

Quick side note…here’s my favorite sprint workout:

  • sprint 20 seconds, walk until your heart rate comes down
  • sprint 30 seconds, walk until your heart rate comes down
  • sprint 40 seconds, walk until your heart rate comes down
  • sprint 60 seconds, walk until your heart rate comes down
  • repeat until you reach 20 minutes (I aim for four rounds, but usually get 3 or 3.5)

In addition to sprinting and lifting weights, my husband and I recently started a beginner Vinyasa yoga course at a local studio. I am really enjoying it, but my hallux limitus toe…not so much.

Luckily, the instructor is awesome and showed me some ways to work around the annoying hallux limitus I have going on in my left big toe. Here are a couple of the poses that were bothering it, and how I am adapting the poses:

4 Limb Staff Pose (Chaturanga Dandasana)

This pose is similar to a plank, except you are down in the low portion of a push-up with your elbows close to your torso. Obviously, your feet seem like they would be flexed with your toes supporting some of your weight. As it turns out, though, you should actually be on the tip of your toes–like a ballerina.

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I know that seems difficult and super ouchie (technical mom term), but it is actually better for my lame, inflexible toe joint. Most of your weight, I learned, is supposed to be supported by your core and upper body. Your toes are really only involved for stabilization purposes.

Hallux limitus and yoga
4 Limb Staff pose on the tips of my freakish, big toes.

I know being on the tips of your toes sounds hard, but if you focus on supporting yourself with your core and upper body, you will discover that being on the ends of your toes is actually just fine. Just make sure your nails are trimmed if you’re one of those people who likes long toenails. Also, ew. No.

Crescent Lunge (Anjaneyasana) and Variations

Toey doesn’t likey. (I watch too many David Spade movies.) I figured this pose would be a problem because I have issues in other workouts when doing lunges and switch jumps. In the Crescent Lunge and also the Revolved Crescent Lunge (plus other variations I have yet to learn, I’m sure), the foot is flexed with the heel and the ball of the foot in line in a vertical position. Basically, the heel should be pointed up toward the ceiling.

Yoga and Hallux Limitus
How the back heel should look. (If you have a normal toe, you will have more flex at the ball of the foot and you won’t have your right knee tracking past your ankle–I simply can’t do it because of the toe joint).

But my yoga instructor said that with my hallux limitus, my left heel will have to be pointed back and my foot will be more at an angle than up and down like it should be. And he said that’s totally okay.

Hallux limitus and yoga
How I have to do the pose with the hallux limitus in my big left toe. Notice my left heel pointing back instead of up. But my right knee is in line with my ankle and I’m sitting into the pose better.

He emphasized that we are all built different and we need to accommodate our body’s structural differences.

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It has been my experience, so far, that even though my hallux limitus flares up a little bit after yoga, it is nowhere near as painful as after something like a half or full marathon. And because I have some other health issues that are keeping me from running very long distances these days, I don’t have to worry about it as much.

Buuuuut, if you insist on distance running, read my post on self-treatment options for runners with hallux limitus.

This has been Toe Talk with Kerrie. Good night and good luck toe you. (Sorry, I couldn’t resist.)

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7 Tricks for Running a Magical 5K

7 Tricks for Running a Magical 5K

I have shocking news, you guys. Are you sitting down?

Well, stand up.

My husband has been running…and he is training for a 5K…race.

For those of you who might not know, my husband has lost more than 60 pounds since this time last year by walking and by eating well. But he got to a point this winter where he wanted to challenge himself and he started running using the Couch to 5K program.

And then he asked me to sign him up for a race. After I picked myself up off of the floor, I registered us for the Kirkland Shamrock Run 5K on March 11. (Psst: You can use my code MOMVSMARATHON to save 10% on this race.)

All this 5K talk has inspired me and now I want to train for a fast 5K again. Running a fast 5K is like magic. When it’s over, you’re not sure what happened, but you enjoyed the hell out of it.

Last time I did that was in 2014 at the See Jane Run 5K with my friend Kim. We both killed it and came in 2nd in our age groups. It wasn’t a PR, though. I think my PR is still 23:45 from the St. Paddy’s Day 5K in Tacoma in 2012. I’m not entirely sure because I don’t care enough to look it up.

See Jane Run 5K Race Recap 2014
Me and Kim at See Jane Run in 2014.

I can beat that, though, right? That course had a huge hill at the end that was like a half a mile long. I mean, I’ll be 40 in September, so maybe I should try to crush it in my 35-39 age group one more time.

(This page may contain reference to products that are affiliate links. I may receive compensation when you click or purchase items through these links. Read my full disclosure.)

For this, I will have to call on my old “tricks,” to help me slay in a fast 5K either later this spring or this summer.

What are my tricks, you ask? Or maybe you didn’t ask, but I’m sharing them anyway.

Give myself time. If I really want to dominate in the 5K, I need to pick one that is far enough away that will allow me to get it right. I have to give myself adequate time to get lean and strong (see below), and then start my run training. In my experience, doing one thing at a time works best for me.

Get lean and strong. I am already doing this, as some of you may know. I work on strength 3-4 times/week. My favorite workouts are from Metabolic Effect and JillFit. The No. 1 factor in my ability to get stronger and stay on the leaner side is consistency. It’s my experience that one will not see resulst by working on strength one day a week. Ya need at least 3 days and ya need a plan or workouts that progress. I also recommend using heavy weights. The other part of the equation is eating well for leanness. That means lots of protein and fiber (fiber is vegetables, guys), and the right amount of carbs/starch for your body.

Run. This is crucial. I need to start doing this.

Find a training plan. Who has time to run every damn day? Not me. I have learned over the years to be realistic when I choose a training plan. Also, I’ve never had luck with free plans on the Internet (with the exception of Jeff Galloway’s Run-Walk marathon training). The plan I’ve used twice to get/go after 5K PRs is from Run Less Run Faster by Bill Piece, Scott Murr, and Ray Moss. I love this book because it is tailored to my current running fitness. It forces me to be realistic. It focuses on speed. And I only have to run 3 days a week. I like to run, but not as much as I used to. I’ve read and tried MAAAAAANNNNNY running books, and this is my favorite for the 5K and half marathon distances.

Warm up on the day of the race. I think Kim was hating me in 2014 when I made her warm up, but I have to. I cannot run fast on cold legs even if it’s hot out. You’ve all done long training runs, right? Isn’t it like Mile 3 where you finally start to feel good? Well, a 5K isn’t long enough for that. I don’t have time! I have to do some running and stretching before the race. Allow time for that. Leg swings, squats and lunges, and light jogging with fartleks thrown in is how I do it.

Stay focused during the race. I use an old tactic I learned on the cross country team in high school. I focus on a back and then I aim to pass it. Then I pick another back. If there are not backs, I pick a landmark and try to get by it as fast as possible. I know music is controversial, but I use it. There are certain songs that make me feel like I can fly. If music helps you, use it. This isn’t the Olympics, people.

Think of a 5K as a sprint. If you don’t want to puke at the end, you’re not doing it right.

Go forth and slay.

6 Things I Wish I Would’ve Known Before Buying Dumbbells

 

6 Things to Consider Before Buying Dumbbells

I used dumbbells for most of my strength workouts. I squat with them, I lunge with them, I lift with them. But I hate doing pushups with them.

I have adjustable dumbbells (these ones right here), and the plates are round and held on with a screw washer thingie (technical term). I was thinking…I wish I’d known more about types of dumbbells and the pros and cons of each one before I got mine, so I am sharing my thoughts.

(This page may contain reference to products that are affiliate links. I may receive compensation when you click or purchase items through these links. Read my full disclosure.)

1. Round Plates & Planking Problems

Round dumbbell plates make it difficult to do pushups, squat thrusts, planks, pushup-rows, burpees, or anything you need to be in a plank position for. They want to roll away, which okay, is good for stabilizer muscles, but it causes the screws to come loose and it drives me crazy. Sometimes I go down to my 12-pound non-adjustable cast iron dumbbells simply because they are hexagonal shaped on the ends.

2. Adjusting Dumbbells Mid-Workout

Adjustable-plate dumbbells make it difficult to change weights during a workout. You have to unscrew both sides on each bar—four screws—and take the plates on or off, or add plates. It’s not fast enough for me. I do a lot of HIIT-style workouts with my dumbbells and there’ s no time for this. It would be okay for traditional lifting with long rest breaks in between sets, but that’s not my style.

3. Bar Material Consideration

The bars on my adjustable dumbbells have an engraved criss-cross pattern that kills the palms of my hands. It’s not too bad for regular presses or pulls, but if I’m trying to do pushups or something…ouch. I have to wear gloves.

What I Wish I'd Known About Dumbbells
Ouchie.

The other thing about my adjustable pair is that the bar is smaller and so it presses into my hand more when planking or doing pushups. Imagine someone digging into your side with their elbow versus their palm. The non-adjustable pair has a wider bar that seems to distribute my weight more evenly and hurts my hands less.

4. The Storage Solution Situation

There’s no way to get around it, dumbbells take up a lot of space—but not more than a barbell (which is why I’m a dumbbell girl since I don’t have a dedicated workout room). I try to fit all mine in a corner of my master bedroom. The hubs bought me this dumbbell rack for Christmas:

What I Wish I'd Known About Dumbbells

I thought that the adjustable plated dumbbells would take up less space, there are still the plates to consider. So, I don’t know that using adjustable plates takes up less space than just regular ‘bells like my 12-pounders, which you can see on the bottom row in the picture above.

5. Weight Problems

I am in between weights right now. In most cases, 15 pounds is getting to be not quite heavy enough, but 20 is too heavy. I need 17-pounders, but even with adjustable dumbbells, I can’t get that since you need to distribute the weight evenly all over. Finding half-pound plates is kind of difficult. Besides, I can’t change plates mid-workout (see point number 2).

6. Just Say No to Neoprene

As you can see from my picture, I have a couple of pairs of these. I find them difficult to hold—the bar is too thick for my delicate lady hands, which is ironic since these “colorful” ‘bells are usually marketed toward women. I also don’t like them becuase they look to girly. I’m a badass. I want badass dumbbells. Ha!

What I Do Like & What I’d Do Different

I like my 12-pound cast iron dumbbells with hexagonal ends that I bought at Play It Again Sports—a consignment store for sporting goods. They still aren’t that cheap, though, so maybe just buy as needed. I admit they are a little clunky, though. They also make rubber-ended dumbbells in a hexagonal shape, but the bar always has that criss-cross engraving! I think if I could do it all over again (or if I suddenly get rich and get to build and outfit my own workout room), I would suck up the engraved bar bit and buy a whole set of hexagonal dumbbells like these (plus find a pair of 17s) and a rack like this.

Okay, there’s my two cents. Hope it helps!

How I Make Myself Do Things When I Don’t Feel Like Doing Anything

How I get myself to do things when I don't want to do anythingToday I don’t feel like doing anything. Well…I’d like to sit down in front of a Real Housewives marathon and eat all the marshmallows out of my son’s Lucky Charms. But I know if I do that, it’s all I will do all day.

The thought of working out makes me want to take a nap. Thinking about running errands makes me want to take a nap. The thought of writing, which I’m actually doing right this second, is making me want to take a nap. And I’m terrible at taking naps!

I just don’t feel like doing anything.

But remember that high school physics class with the weird teacher dude who used to blast classic rock before the lesson started? No? Just me? Okay, fine, I barely remember it; it’s just that and one actual thing about physics—the Law of Motion. And, full disclosure, I didn’t remember that it is called that—I just Googled it. Anyway, the Law of Motion says that an object in motion will stay in motion. And an object at rest will stay at rest.

So, guess what? I just had to get the writing motion started and now I feel like I’m on a roll. I’m in motion and I will stay in motion until something knocks me off course. Unfortunately, for writing, that could be a number of things. So many, in fact, that if I think about it too much, it’s scary. Simply losing my train of thought could cause me to stop writing and then disappear down some Internet rabbit hole (see photo below).

newtonheygirl

The Law of Motion is super cool (and I’m a nerd) because you can apply to pretty much everything. Even exercise.

If you’re like me, then you know that it’s so hard to get motivated to work out sometimes. Here’s me when I think about working out: I have to change clothes, put on shoes—are they downstairs?!—open my program, turn on music, get my weights out, then I’ll have to take a shower and dry my hair, and oh man, let me just sit down and rest because that sounds like a lot. Overwhelming, right? That’s why I’ve trained myself to NOT think about it.

When I noticed myself starting to think about working out too much, I stop thinking about it and I just do it. I say, “Nope. Stop. Get changed.” It’s just that little hump I have to get over because once I’m changing into my workout clothes and putting on my shoes, I’m already in motion and the workout gets done and then, THEN…watch out!

How I make myself do things when I don't feel like doing anything

Watch out because now I have all energy. Just changing my clothes, just typing one sentence, is like a little spark that lights a fire that grows and grows. I’m ready to take on the rest of the day now. I’m in motion and you better get out of my way or I will roll over you like that giant rock ball thing that chased Indiana Jones. And can you see how my writing is getting better and funnier (please say yes) becuase now I’ve been in motion for about 500 words and I’m just feeling warmed up.

Look out, MS Word, I’m coming for you next!

Great Deals on Health and Fitness Books

kindledeals1

Happy Sunday! Looking for a new nutrition, fitness or running book?

I want to try a new weekly post inspired by the blog, The Modern Mrs. Darcy. She does a great list of fiction and non-fiction Amazon deals every day. Highly recommend signing up for her daily deals email!

I’m going to attempt a version of this for people who love reading health and fitness books like me. Right now, it’ll just be a weekly blog post, but someday I’ll figure out how to do an email. The following post includes affiliate links.

Never Binge Again

Never Binge Again(tm): Reprogram Yourself to Think Like a Permanently Thin Person(tm). Stop Overeating and Binge Eating and Stick to the Food Plan of Your Choice!

By Glenn Livingston, PhD, Kindle Edition: Free

“Disillusioned by what traditional psychology had to offer the overweight and/or food obsessed male, Dr. Livingston spent several decades researching the nature of binging and overeating via work with his own patients AND a self-funded research program with more than 40,000 participants. Most importantly, however, is Dr. Livingston’s own personal journey out of obesity and “food prison” to a normal, healthy weight and a much more lighthearted relationship with food.”

My thoughts: I have not read this, but will be downloading it for help with my tortilla chip problem.

Amazon reviews: 4.5 stars/397 reviews

Racing Dawn

Racing Dawn: How A Crazy Mom With 5 Kids Ran 12 Marathons In 12 Months

By Dawn Lauti, Kindle Edition: $1.99

From Amazon: “A revealing, funny, honest, and inspiring memoir from a self-described ‘ordinary person’ who tackled 12 marathons in 12 months with a devoted husband and 5 kids in tow.”

My thoughts: I remember reading her blog! If you love reading about running, this might be worth checking out.

Amazon reviews: 4.5 stars/65 reviews

Performance Nutrition for Runners

Runner’s World Performance Nutrition for Runners: How to Fuel Your Body for Stronger Workouts, Faster Recovery, and Your Best Race Times Ever

By Matt Fitzgerald, Kindle Edition: $1.99

From Amazon: “Runners have different nutrition and recovery needs than other endurance athletes. Yet until now, they’ve had no nutritional resource specifically addressing their concerns. This comprehensive guide distills the newest thinking in the science of exercise nutrition into practical, hands-on tips that will help runners stay healthy, recover faster, enjoy better workouts, and race successfully.”

My thoughts: While this book is a little older, there are recent reviews that say it was helpful for them. I’m a fan of Matt Fitzgerald, and think he does thorough research and he presents information in a way that is easy to digest (pun intended!).

Amazon reviews: 4.5 stars/40 reviews

Run!: 26.2 Stories of Blisters and Bliss

Run!: 26.2 Stories of Blisters and Bliss

By Dean Karnazes, Kindle Edition: $1.99

From Amazon: “In his follow-up to the best-selling Ultra-Marathon Man, world-renowned ultra marathoner Dean Karnazes chronicles his unbelievable exploits and explorations in gripping detail; Karnazes runs for days on end without rest, across some of the most exotic and inhospitable places on earth, including the Australian Outback, Antarctica, and the back alleys of New Jersey.”

My thoughts: I have mixed feelings about this book, but if you love ultramarathoner Dean Karnazes, it is worth $1.99!

Amazon reviews: 4 stars/116 reviews

Friday Recap and Results: Forgiveness

Well, this week went fast. The first week of my fourth round of Metabolic Prime is done and DONE. We are expecting a big rain and wind storm here in the Pacific Northwest, so I’m going to make this recap and results post quick.

Recap:

My nutrition choices this week were off-point. More of an oval shape. I have a serious tortilla chip problem that I will probably have to seek help for.

My workouts got done. Earlier in the week was tough, though, because my sleep was so bad, but it got better. Today, I had a great workout. I switched to 20-pound dumbbells for a majority of the lifts, too, so that’s a win.

I did not walk as much as I wanted to this week. I often got only 5,000-7,000 steps. The goal is 10,000 or more.

Friday recap

I’m keeping up with my bullet journaling! I just got a new one–a real one–and am busy setting it up. It has helped me stay on task most days. The one thing I’ve been ignoring, however, is my daily goals chart. Which reminds me…

I just finished reading Ann Patchett’s book The Getaway Car (<-affiliate link, thank you), which is about her experience becoming a novelist. In it, she talks about forgiving herself during the writing process, but I believe it applies to many things in our lives, including our fitness journeys:

“Forgiveness. The ability to forgive oneself. Stop here for a few breaths and think about this, because it is the key to making art and very possibly the key to finding any semblance of happiness in life.”

I forgive myself for those days when I ate so many chips I made myself sick. I forgive myself for not getting all my walks in. Life is too short to dwell on what happened last week. Tomorrow is a new day. Onward and upward. (Hope I take my own advice.)

Results:

Somehow, despite my poor choices, my weight stayed the same as last week at 151.6 and I lost a half inch on my hips and waist. So, I don’t know. I think my body is super comfy at 151.6 right now. I don’t mind. What I’d like is for some inches to come off my belly and hips and thighs. The answer, I know, is nutrition. I can’t eat half a bag of chips if I want better results.

Here’s my pic after my first week of my fourth round of Metabolic Prime:

Metabolic Prime Results Round 4
Metabolic Prime: Round 4, Phase 1, Week 1

Plan:

So, next week, I plan to focus on nutrition. The good news is that I’m starting a new part-time job and so there’ll be less opportunity to seek out the chips. (Of course, I could just not buy the chips.) However, there’ll be more opportunities to stress eat.

Forgiveness. Forgiveness. Forgiveness.

New Metabolic Prime Before Pictures and Some Helpful Fat-Loss Books

Hey guys! Happy Monday!

So, I re-started Metabolic Prime again today! I think this is my fourth time, yet I forgot how hard the Phase 1 burnout is (the optional 5-minute workout at the end). Definitely got me!

Here is my new “before” pic that I took this afternoon:

Metabolic Prime before
My hair was so dirty, I needed a hat.

This was my Prime before pic I took in March for their 12-week challenge:

Metabolic Prime Challenge Week 1 | Mom vs. Marathon
My Before Photos

So thankful I took photos. I can see the difference, for sure. I don’t notice it as much in the mirror. Highly recommend taking pics!

If you signed up for Metabolic Prime and are doing it, let me know if you want to join our little closed Facebook group and I’ll add you. 🙂

If you didn’t sign up, but are curious about Metabolic Effect programs, there are a couple of books that I recommend.

Note: The following paragraphs include affiliate links.
I would never recommend something unless I believe in it. 

Their book Lose Weight Here is the closest to what Metabolic Prime is. Click here to read a review last year.

The New Metabolic Effect Diet was their first book. Some of the nutiriton advice has changed slightly, but it’s not that different, and I just loved the way they explained everything in this book. I wrote a long post (that went viral) about how my body responds to ME workouts vs running in this post here.

Either one of these books will get you started or help you get over a plateau in your fat loss journey. And, if you have any questions, feel free to ask me. I’ve read them both multiple times!