Winter Training Cycle: Goals and Races

“Head pulled down, shoulders hunched up, toes curled in, Boris the vulture is sulking.” (The Sulky Vulture, by Sally Grindley) 

At the start of the year, my plan to run 17 races in 2017 was daunting to say the least. I loved the catch phrase “17 in 2017” but wondered whether it was possible. When I got to my sixth race, I felt unstoppable. Unfortunately, something did stop me – my left knee. Some of you may recall that in mid-April, I started complaining that my knee was sore after runs. However, I ignored this and continued to push hard, running my best times in two races, one week apart – the Palapye 10k and the Diacore 10k. However, when I returned to running on Wednesday following the Diacore my knee finally caved in. It was excruciatingly painful. I took a week off and then tried again – this time it felt even worse. My physiotherapist quickly diagnosed patellofemoral pain syndrome (PFPS), more commonly known as Runner’s Knee and I have had several physio sessions over the last few weeks.

It has been an emotional time for me. I have been sulking like Boris, hence no blogging! 🙂 There was huge disappointment at having to stop running and cancel races; there was fear that the one fitness activity I had grown to love could so suddenly come to an end; there was anger at myself for having pushed too hard and too early on in my running career; there was envy at others who could still run; and there was sadness… But things are starting to look up now and I am resuming my training plan this week hopeful, a little bit wiser, and quite humbled by the lessons I have learnt. I have lots of catching up to do if I am to run 11 more races this year… but let’s see what happens! I am taking it one run at a time and aiming to finish races comfortably with my knee intact, rather than to focus on finishing times.

My revised winter race schedule looks like this:

  • 08 July: The Kgale Cross-Country/Trail is a 10k race in the Gaborone area.
  • 29 July: I am so excited to be doing the 30k Desert-Bush Walk in Jwaneng. I did this last year in SEVEN hours and it was such a phenomenal experience.
  • 05 August: Exactly a week after the walk I will be tackling the 10k Road Race in Selebi-Phikwe. This race is one of the oldest in the country and I have always wanted to do it.
  • 20 August: I will be joining Ditiro and our friend Leruo for the Time Team Challenge in Mokolodi. Leruo will do Stage 1 which is a 10k Trail Run, Ditiro will do Stages 2 and 3 (the mountain biking) and I will do Stage 4, the 5k Trail Run. I am really looking forward to being part of a team!
  • 09 September: To end my Winter Training Cycle, I will cross the border for the 10k Road Race in Mafikeng, South Africa.

Disclaimer: If at any point I feel I may need to forfeit a race, I will do so. I don’t want to aggravate my knee again. 

My 13-week winter training plan looks like this:

  • Pilates Classes on Mondays and Wednesdays
  • 2 Treadmill Runs on Tuesdays and Thursdays with a long Outdoor run every Saturday (for each run I am going to focus on lots of stretching before and after)
  • Conditioning/ Strength Exercises every Thursday
  • Upper Body Work (with weights at home)
  • Fortnightly weekend hikes up Kgale Hill

I am so happy to still be working with Coach Nicola from Running Happy. She has been amazing during my “injury period” and I am so pleased that she will be guiding me over the next few months. It feels good to be back.

Does anyone have any tips for dealing with knee problems? Thanks for stopping by! 🙂

I am pleased to be linking up again with Courtney over at Eat Pray Run who is busy training for the Berlin Marathon!

13 thoughts on “Winter Training Cycle: Goals and Races

  1. I did 15 (half marathons) in 2015 and it was definitely a daunting task! I encountered a few injuries along the way, so I know how disappointing it can be, but I love that you revised your training and race schedule!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you! 15 Halfs – oh my word, I cannot even begin to imagine that!! I’m in such a better head space now and the goal really is to take it one run/race at a time without putting so much pressure on myself to beat my personal best all the time.


  2. I would say that I haven’t had knee problems, but my left knee has been iffy lately too. I’ trying to be smart about it, but it’s so hard when it doesn’t hurt when I’m running — mostly going up the stairs.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Going through an injury is definitely a humbling experience! It’s a bummer that you might have to reevaluate your goal for 17 races this year, but taking it one race at a time absolutely sounds like the right plan right now. Good luck healing up and coming back stronger than ever!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Sorry about your injury. I’m glad you chose to continue your 17 in 2017 challenge. Your blog has inspired me to lose weight and eat better. I wanted to ask which gym or where you do your pilates and conditioning classes. I heard jacks’s gym and virgin active have great classes? I plan on running the Botswana Independence 10k.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for this beautiful comment! I am so glad this blog has been able to inspire you. I have had a difficult/ crazy few weeks so my blogging fell by the way-side but at least I managed 2 races! The first of which I have just blogged about. I am so proud you are running the Botswana Independence 10k race!! I will be there too! Maybe we could even meet after the race? I am not at any gym at the moment, but planning on joining Virgin Active very soon! My husband loves Jack’s Gym so I think you would enjoy both. My pilates classes are at Northside, Monday and Wednesday evenings with an instructor called Oliver. You can call the Admin on 75-814-097. Please join! It is a brilliant workout for your core. At the moment I do my conditioning exercises at home. But once I join Virgin I hope to do even more set classes.


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