Like a lot of people at this time of year, I’m thinking about my fitness. Unlike a lot of people at this time of year, it’s not a burst of New Year’s optimism that 25% have already given up on. This is just something that’s been ongoing in my life for some time now, and I’m ready to move to the next level.
I started running (as fairly well documented on this blog) just over a year ago. In that time I’ve progressively improved 5k times, ran a 10k, and then injured my knee.
First, I rested my knee, figuring that upping the mileage had just caused a slight sprain that would go away on its own. Six months later, I’ve had two rounds of physiotherapy and I still get pain in my knee when running.
It is getting better, but my improved understanding of how the body works is starting to give me a better idea of what I need to do to make it go away completely.
Because the thing about knees is, you’ve rarely hurt your actual knee. The problem stems from the muscles around the knee, which pull on each other and cause tension that translates to pain in and around the knee. I have problems with my calves and hamstrings – they’re too tight. I also have absolutely zero core strength. No really. I can’t do one sit up.
Really, really. I’m not just being lazy. I physically can’t do a sit up.
I know this isn’t good. And I know that greater strength and balance throughout my body will help with relieving the strain on my left knee, and with the running in general. Last year was all about upping the mileage and improving the pace. This year is going to be a more holistic approach to fitness – cardiovascular, strength and flexibility.
The problem is, where to start? I’ve been doing planks and stomach exercises, but I want something a bit more varied. I’ve looked at the Nike Training Club, which is a fabulous app, but their idea of ‘Beginner’ is about six months from where I’m at… I need ‘so beginner they have practically devolved into a single celled organism.’ Because when an app says ‘Do sit ups for a minute’, and you can’t even do one, well… I’m bound to lose interest pretty quickly.
So, readers, are there any good fitness apps you can recommend for someone who wants to get stronger and more flexible with a yoga mat and not much else?