Following the global outbreak of Covid-19, the UK has implemented a national lockdown in an effort to control its spread. Inevitably, the whole country has been forced to adjust their way of life, imposing restrictions on businesses, socialising, work and education. With all aspects of life facing such drastic adjustments, sports have been no exception, confronting athletes with the onerous task of modifying their training all whilst continuing to maintain their motivation and fitness.

The Lady Eleanor Holles School rowing squad have not allowed a national lockdown to hinder their training, continuously and determinedly working to improve their fitness despite the lack of any foreseeable goal to work towards. When one member of the squad was asked about the biggest struggles of not being able to train alongside her teammates, she was quick to answer, noting that  “doing all the training indoors without any time spent on the river means lots of hard sessions on the ergo and weight sessions by yourself, meaning that it can be very hard to motivate yourself and it quickly gets tiring.”

Although a lack of motivation and a sense of relentlessness is almost inescapable for most athletes, this rower didn’t hesitate to offer a refreshing, positive insight, commenting that she is able to “be more efficient with building fitness” and can be “more flexible with training times in terms of training when you want to.” Looking for the things to be gained during such a discouraging time serves as a welcome reminder of what can be worked on and achieved during this lockdown, even if the method in which you do so has to be adapted to suit the circumstances.

When asked about how they manage with and help to overcome a lack of motivation they noted that “although it is very hard, I often try to do group calls with other members of the squad when I train as I know they are going experiencing the same thing which makes it easier to get through.” In an effort to make training sessions more social, they often enjoy “going running or cycling outside with a friend as well as sessions with our coaches and the entire squad on Microsoft Teams,” finding ways to build their fitness whilst adhering to government guidelines.

Although it is admirable how LEH rowers have continued their training virtually, it is also important to recognise just how difficult the current situation is, not only for rowers, but for athletes as a whole. Following a question regarding any expected or anticipated events or regattas to look forward to, one rower mentioned that “we haven’t raced at all this year and we probably won’t at least until May” before going on to state that “a major race known as Schools Head will most likely be cancelled and we have trained all year for that.” With such an important event facing uncertainty, it is particularly impressive that these rowers have maintained their positive attitude and focused drive.